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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 anthologies: 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.

Sunday, November 01, 2020

βš“Trains Make Good Walls, Dream #2 / November 2020


πŸ’”LEJ's Louisiana, 
Yours Truly in a Swamp
a monthly e-column 


Leonard Earl Johnson

of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

Column Final Draft

November 2020 ~

~ * ~
πŸ ‡

Trains Make Good Walls 

 Dream #2  ~

BY  Leonard Earl Johnson
Β© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

 πŸ”»  ⏬  πŸ”»

πŸ ‡
🍞 πŸ₯–

 * *
In my seat, dozing the last hours before reaching Lafayette.  I dreamed of photographers raising their cameras. 

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

"Why not!" The Donald tweeted.  "Why not a wall of railroads stretching from California to Florida.  Multiple lines strung with multiple trains running thick as jungle bamboo or Vietnam lies?"  

Recalling the war, the President offered to show his bone spur to reporters.  They turned away. 

"See, folks, fake news!" he twitted. "If Elizabeth Warren showed her tomahawk, press rats would be on it like editors on cheese.

"But my war wound?  Nothing!" 

The Wall of Trains would follow the route of America's first coast-to-coaster; the first train in the World to carry a personified name, the Sunset Limited, Amtrak's ole #1, with a cross-country route following the Old Spanish Trail.  

The Donald swooned and twittered: "Move over, Mexico.  Pay up and say, 'Hello California, here we come...'

Image result for Sunset Limited amtrak images
"Let's see them beaners get across that!He twittered, as Ivanka brushed his hair and stroked his wallet.  

Son-in-law, Jared Kushner unspooled 
communication lines to the Kremlin while shielded behind the back of his genetically pure, highly self-esteemed, and supremely self-proclaimed uber-patriotic "Klan of The Donald," as L. A. Norma calls them.

"A supremely legal back channel communication cable,"  explained Stephen Miller, head gargoyle to The President.  William Barr, U.S. Attorney General and Trump Family consigliere, nodded his agreement. 

Behind them a righteous chorus of Evangelical Preachers sang, Heaven's Just a Sin Away!

The Family tableau rode in a manner befitting American nostalgia.  They moved effortlessly along gold plated escalators, and moving-sidewalks.  Now running from the White House up The Mall to the big domed Capitol on the hill.

"Streets paved with gold," Barr called out to Miller, 
who responded, "Immigrants were told."

Out in front of them all, bent-backed and whisking away obstacles in their path, were Republican Party regulars led by grim-faced Moscow Mitch McConnell ~ one and all facilitators of America's great new sin.  

Toe-and-heel men followed, and then spokes-critter lawyers for powerful U. S. Chambers of yes-men.  They cleared a way growing darker with each step of their boot and sweep of their broom. 

"For the goal of smaller decentralized government," Moscow Mitch laughed uproariously, slapping the Attorney General across his ample back. The Attorney General shook his wattle and jowls while hooting puffs of laughter, like an old steam engine.  

The two chortled, "After us who cares what floods," then they swept, giggled and farted off down the gold-plated road.

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

A mustachioed face briefly 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.

Roseate Spoonbill

"With no fear of blow back," he said.  His mustache twitched as it talked.  

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

"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, of course, but business!"

"A plausible crazy threat wins the game!" The Donald twittered, "Ask my bankers."  

Ivanka brushed and spoke not.  The Son-in-law spooled and spoke not.  The escalator escalated speaking tons.  

We awoke with the real Conductor calling, 
"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 train's only smoke-stop between New Orleans and Houston.  
Sunset Limited, Amtrak #1 
New Orleans to Los Angeles
Smoke Stop, Lafayette Louisiana

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, the shell hiding the pea."   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. 

The engineer blew his whistle calling smokers back aboard their smoke-free train ride to the Golden West.  

"Manifest Destiny all over again," Norma said, from inside her toxic plume 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 a lingering chemical bouquet.

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

Trains and politics are not stable, one of the red women said.

"And there are not good people on both ends of a lynch mob's rope,"
 L. A. Norma added.

 Copyright, 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

~   ~   ~
 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp

is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org

and historically at

Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans,

publication of the

It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson

 of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

Archives: www.LEJ.org

* * * * * * * * * * * 
Β© 2020 Leonard Earl Johnson, 

All Rights Reserved 

* *
~   ~   ~

Lagniappe du jour

Gandy Dancers / You Tube

πŸ’œ πŸ’š πŸ’›

Heaven's Just A Sin Away

by The Kindalls / You Tube
(suggested Republican Party Song)

πŸ’œ πŸ’š πŸ’›

This Land is Your Land 

(Suggested Democratic Party Song)

πŸ’œ πŸ’š πŸ’› 

~   ~   ~

Β© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.

πŸ’œ πŸ’š πŸ’› 

* * * * * * * * * * * 

and such falderal ...

If you want on the list that may get e-mailed a monthly column notice
*   *   *
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 Death,

whichever occurs first.

~*~    ~*~    ~*~

LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org
Archives: www.LEJ.org
Β© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
* * * * * * * * * * * *

βš“ βš“