The Nervous Breakout Posts an excerpt of No Stopping Train
You are the man who sang “God Bless the Magyar” after we lost the war. I watched you sway by a bullet-pocked door, heard you testing the national anthem’s loose notes, a lost war’s afterthoughts. I hadn’t heard it since school, and then school was called off. All up and down Saint Matyas Street, wind chased your song among tattered banners and plackards and flags. Elms cast their shadows on smashed cobblestones, windowsills lined with wash. A corpse swayed against a streetlight in accompaniment, its belt buckle clinking the pole, red-checked shirt cheery against the dull sky. Its urgent clogged smell permeated the air, the sad clothes on clotheslines.
I was twenty and blond, black hair showing through at the roots. I thought I could love you, perhaps, but I wanted to know: would it last? You wiped your nose on your sleeve as you sang. You didn’t see me but, Sandor, you would have been proud: I wiped tears from my eyes as I whistled along. When you looked up I stopped, I was shy. You scanned the sills for my face but I hid in the curtain’s torn lace, my feet crushing glass and mousedust. There was nobody left to accompany you but the dead; you did not seem to mind.
These haystacks bundled with twine remind me of our bed. These men playing cards on this train, they remind me of you with your hair in your face, but then everything does. Torn clouds your tattered pantcuffs. Scarecrows by the tracks guarding dirt wear your fish-patterned shirt. My palms on the train window’s glass scratched with lovers’ initials like ours are the same size as yours in my hair, in my mouth.
You used to say if wishes were horses beggars would ride. I’ve begged, now I ride, yet I still haven’t figured that out. My pale hands in this dicey Hungarian light, my finger’s indent where my wedding band used to rest, I hope you understand about that. If I had tears left, if you had hands that could help, I’d let you wipe them away from my eyes. Sandor, if I found my voice, I’d sing along with you now. -Continue-