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Priscilla Van Valkenburgh
From the New Train
From the new train to Salt Lake City, the backyard detritus of man's search for happiness, an unending accumulation resulting in indistinguishable piles of discards. More obvious large items—trailers, boats, campers, plastic pools, in various stages of disuse and decline, are tucked into corners and under trees.
From the new train, in neat rows, a young orchard, waiting, next to a legion of porta potties, waiting. In startling proximity to the train tracks, postage stamp-sized ranch with weather-beaten sheds and three horses in a corral just large enough for a dog.
Closer to the city, industrial yards filled with endless wooden pallets, pieces and wholes of construction equipment long ago replaced by modern technology.
From the train crossings, lines of stopped cars, waiting. Two teenage boys, in their hip hop costumes of impossibly baggy pants and sideways caps, walking together—texting someone else! A kitchen worker out the back door of a former train station, now a restaurant, lighting up a cigarette between the trash can and empty food bins.
From the new train leaving and arriving in the formerly complex and bustling train yards—rotting wrecks of previously splendid passenger cars, rusting rail cargo cars, a huge magnificent fan-like snow blower engine, waiting.
But the splendor of the graffiti! The brilliance of the colors cutting through the uniform reddish oxidation of the boxcars! Perfect balloon letters announcing unrecognizable names and words at seventy miles per hour! Just one can be read as the train slows down for a station. Carefully crafted in white, sharing anonymous art and philosophy with thousands of people each day, "LIVE TRUE."
"Pit Bull for Sale"
a snowman waving