Full text: Secession (Number one) (1)

I 
Tickets PLEASE 
said the conductor, and Benjamin settled back 
into his seat, and by this action wrapped 
solitude about him like a cloak. 
Strangers brushed past him 
down the aisle, soiling only 
the fringes of his mantel; 
his eyes had turned 
to watch the hills that so proceeded like awkward 
vast dancers across his eyes; 
to watch the moving 
mist of his breath as it crept along the pane. 
II 
He says to himself 
— it is the placing 
of the foot upon the step deposited by the porter; 
it is the leisurely 
procession with baggage up a red plush aisle: 
out of such gestures there grows 
the act of travel. 
Johnstown, Pittsburgh: these cities 
escape the grasp of the hand 
these cities are pimpled on hills; 
Manhattan is corseted briefly about with waters. 
You climb into a train, give a tip, open a paper, light a 
cigar, and the landscape 
jerks unevenly past. 
Your knees straighten 
automatically at Pittsburgh; a porter 
takes the luggage, saying rapidly 
—- this way to a taxi, Boss, 
this way to a taxi, 
and the hills and fields of Pennsylvania quiver 
behind you vaguely, the landscape of a dream.
	        

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