From Enough for a Book, published in 2016.


traveler in yellow pants
standing in the aisle on the train
taking a seat wherever one opens up.
Sociable fellow
picks up a group of guys
and they are playing cards
passing around a bag of chips
and singing out well-worn stories
before you know it.

Paperdolls #2 10-13-14 small

Paper dolls, 2014.




18 thoughts on “Swell

  1. I enjoy this portrait…not something I’ve come across on subway or train rides but nice to imagine…and the yellowhammer connection is swell 🙂

  2. This poem reminds me of an old friend of my husband’s who was always the “life and soul” of any gathering of people, even if those people were strangers. It will not surprise you to learn that I found him extremely exhausting to be around.

  3. Thank you, I have known lots of people like this yellowhammer and the train (in the evening, not usually the morning!) has its share of people who are “train buddies” and converse, etc. No card playing on our commuter rail but you can see it on Amtrak commuters to NYC.

  4. Thank you. There is nothing like paper dolls for me – making them is a joy and brings back nice childhood memories, too. I wish I’d made more like these when I was young – we mostly cut out our population from discarded pattern books.

  5. Sounds nice. I have never travelled on long distance commuter rail…I can now picture how the same people taking the same long rides together every day might connect…I’ve seen it in movies 😉

  6. A few years ago one of our tv stations ran a daily combination current affairs / drama set on a train with a group of commuters going home. It was a very good show while it lasted, but must have challenged the writers to include every day’s events into the script.

  7. Yes, even on our shorter rides here to the city it can happen. Back when I commuted by train every day I saw the same people at the station, you get to talking, you sit together on the train…next thing you know…you are friends.

  8. That sounds like a great show, and I agree, keeping it current must have been tough, but also kind of exhilarating (you never knew what the day’s script would bring). I think the concept of strangers thrown together who become friends or at least associates is often used, with transportation being such a good place to set the story, given its nature.

  9. I can imagine those longer and regular commuter trips can be like that.

    Love your dolls.
    My daughters liked paper dolls. They used to make them out of photos of people they cut out from magazines.

  10. Thank you. We used to use figures from discarded pattern books my mother got from the fabric store (she sewed all our clothes). I like making these because I like choosing their outfits. As for commuting, I never minded it, it was interesting pretty much every day except when I had to stand up – then maybe it might be tedious.

  11. I spent hours with my paper dolls as a child. Children don’t seem to do that these days. Although my younger daughter spent hours composing life stories for her dollhouse people.

  12. You are right, I don’t think something as low tech as paper dolls is as appealing, but – it’s too bad. With them you can have an infinite cast of characters and you can always make more, or whoever or whatever you want for your own story. Plus it’s fun just to make them.

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