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Leonard Earl Johnson (photo credit Frank Parsley) covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), and the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for ConsumerAffairs.com. He is a contributor to Gambit Weekly, New Orleans Magazine, SCAT, Baton Rouge Advocate, Advocate Magazine, The Times-Picayune, Country Roads Magazine, Palm Springs Newswire and the books FRENCH QUARTER FICTION (Light of New Orleans Publishing), LOUISIANA IN WORDS (Pelican Publishing), LIFE IN THE WAKE (NOLAfuges.com), and more. Johnson is a former Merchant Seaman, and columnist at Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans; and African-American Village. Attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point, Maryland. Winner of the Press Club of New Orleans Award for Excellence, 1991, and given the Key to The City and a Certificate of Appreciation from the New Orleans City Council for a Gambit Weekly story on murder in the French Quarter.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Trains Make Good Walls ~ A Dream / January 2019


LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp,


a monthly e-column by Leonard Earl Johnson, 

of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana


E-mail: Subscribe@LEJ.org
Archives: www.LEJ.org  
~
January 2019

Trains Make Good Walls
~  A Dream  ~
BY  Leonard Earl Johnson
 www.LEJ.org ✍️

© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

In my seat alone, dozing the last hour before reaching Lafayette, I dreamt of photographers raising their cameras. 

Art directors composed men shouldering large silver and gold sledgehammers.  Arranging them before my mind's lens, as 'Gandy Dancers' ~ those gangs of mostly black men, who, with muscle alone wiggled and danced heavy iron rails into an alignment that joined the nation by its proud new railroad line ~ linking West Coast gold to East Coast greed. 



Illinois Central Depot, Ullin Illinois, circa 1850
Southbound to New Orleans
and The Sea
"Why not!" the Trumper tweeted.  

"Why not a wall of  
many railroads stretching from California to Florida.  Multiple lines strung with multiple trains running thick as jungle bamboo and Vietnam lies?"  


The President offered to show his bone spur to reporters.  They turned away. "See, fake news!" he twitted. "If Elizabeth Warren showed her tommyhawk, press rats would be on that like editors on cheese.


"But my war wound?  Nothing!" 


The Wall-trains would follow the route of America's first coast-to-coast train, ole Number One, the first train in the World to carry a personified name, the Sunset Limited.  It's route following that of the colonial Old Spanish Trail.  "Move over, Mexico.  Hello, California, here we come!"


Image result for Sunset Limited amtrak images
"Lets see them beaners get across that!"  
Trumper twittered, as Ivanka brushed his hair.  And Son-In-Law, Jared Kushner unspooled. 

Kushner was unspooling 'backchannel communication cable,' behind his self-esteemed supremely self-proclaimed patriotic Family, direct to the Kremlin.

Roseate Spoonbill        /        Lake Martin,  Louisiana

The little Family tableau rode in a manner befitting American nostalgia.  Rode along gold plated escalators, and moving-sidewalks, now 
running from the White House up The Mall to the big domed Capitol itself.

"Streets paved with gold," 
the immigrants were told.

Out in front, bent-backed and whisking away obstacles, were Republican Party regulars.  Presidential facilitators.  Toe-and-heel men, followed by spokes-critters for powerful U. S. chambers of government.  All clearing a pathway growing darker with each sweep of their broom.

Kushner's 'backchannel cable' spooled off, then on, then off again ~ fully out of any one's oversight.

A mustachioed face claiming 
National Security portfolio to the President of the United States, opened an electric notebook.  A Google map glowed into focus.  It showed Roseate Spoonbill migration routes. 

"With almost no difficulty with blow back," the mustache twitched as it talked.  


"We can lace migratory feeding sites with chemical-castration drugs that will threaten final solution to their endangered members!"

 Clock Tower bus-bays,
Rosa Parks Transportation Centre
Lafayette, Louisiana

"What this will do," he told the President, leaning in very close to his ear, "is convince the last doubters that America means business.  

"Mad business, yes, but business!"

"A plausible crazy threat wins the game!" Trumper twittered, "Just ask my bankers."  
Ivanka brushed and spoke not.  The Son-in-law spooled and spoke not.  The escalator escalated.  

The dream clock struck Noon.  We awoke as the real Conductor called out, "Lafayette, next stop."


L. A. Norma stretched her arms overhead, and stepped off the train and to the side ~ away from the traffic pouring out behind her.  Lafayette is the only smoke-stop between New Orleans and Houston.  

She lit a Camel Cigarette, and continued her conversation about walls, with a young couple bound for Tucson, Arizona.  


"Take Hadrian's, China's, Berlin's.  Walls have not long kept anything out.  Not ideas, not people, not things!"

The young man from Tucson nodded, "Just a political football." 


"Sometimes with headline interference," Norma said.  


His Wife added, "A distraction."   She flicked cigarette ashes to the grass, and smiled.  In its moment, that falling cigarette ash burned brightly ~ though it be in descent ~ then went dark landing atop a purple clover leaf. 

The engineer blew his whistle calling smokers back aboard their train ride to the Golden West.  "Manifest Destiny all over again," Norma said, from inside her toxic plum of Camel Cigarette smoke.  


A mushrooming cloud of fumes embraced all the World.  We parted from our new friends shouting"Red-herrings!" and waving our arms.  

Automobiles waiting at the crossing gates revved their engines to show their toxic commitment.  

The train snaked off down the tracks.  Its last car rocked and wobbled back at us.  The automobiles drove away ~ each trailing lingering chemical bouquets.

Five elderly women standing on the platform scowled in our direction.  They each wore a big red church-lady hat, sweaters, dresses, and gloves.  They each lifted red-hemmed skirts showing red soled shoes, and choo-choo-ed it into the depot, with its comfortingly stable toilets.  LEJ.org 




✍️

Your comments and corrections are welcome
Comments ~

~   ~   ~
Lagniappe du jour

Christmas Day 2018   /   Lafayette, Louisiana
Left to  right: Nashville, 
Tennessee Architect, Will Rosenthal
Papa Noel, Leonard Earl Johnson
Poet and Professor, Andrei Codrescu
Poet, Muse, and Mother, Laura Codrescu
© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
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and such falderal ...



Don't hold your breath on my figuring out le Internet.  
I am a storyteller, not a computer-pinball gamer. 

If you want on the list that may get e-mailed monthly columns
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If you wish to read any past column they are archived at www.LEJ.org 
New columns are posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years, or until my Death, whichever occurs first.
Krew of Rio, Lafayette

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Next Month's column will be about Carnival!
2019 has a very long Carnival Season.
 Beginning on Epiphany night, January 6
Ending on Ash Wednesday, March 6

Read All About it,
YOURS TRULY IN A SWAMP
 February 2019

Krewe du Vieux, New Orleans

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LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org
~ Hosted on GOOGLE Blogger ~
and periodically at   
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans,
publication of the
The monthly column is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
Archives: www.LEJ.org
© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
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