J. D. Schraffenberger

Say a man falls asleep on the bus
And dreams he is on a train taking him
And everyone he's ever known
To a prison camp on the beach in Maine,
Say they arrive and he and everyone
He's ever known are handed shovels,
Rakes, buckets and spades and told
To build a mile-long city of sandcastles
Before high tide comes in to wash it away,
Say the man builds a bridge instead
So that he and everyone he's ever known
Can escape to Spain, but when they arrive
Sunburned and thirsty, the guards have
Set up camp already on the Barcelona shore;

But what about the way back home,
The welcoming cold of the open sea,
What about the open sea, what about
                  his other dreams.







My wife and I drove from Cedar Falls, Iowa, to Wells, Maine, this summer for vacation, and I wrote this poem while waiting for an oil change at a Sears in New Hampshire. It was August 11, the day Barack Obama came to Portsmouth to hold a town hall meeting on health care; I imagine I was writing while he was speaking just down the road. I'd been listening to Bob Dylan's "Boots of Spanish Leather," so running through my head were the lines, "Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine / Made of silver or of golden, / Either from the mountains of Madrid / Or from the coast of Barcelona." I also generally dislike building sandcastles. "Transit IV" appears in the Miscellaneous section of my new manuscript Rules of Order, a radical poetic revision of Robert's Rules of Order.