Friday, October 24, 2014

Poetry Prompt #3: 'Downtown Train' by Tom Waits and a Wordle

I was first introduced to the genius of Tom Waits back in 2008 by a friend.  I think, up until then, I'd been poisoned by the simplicity of mainstream radio.

Every once in a while, we meet someone who changes our lives, who sends us (or our interests, intellect, ideas) spiraling into new directions.  My relationship to this person was monumental in the effect it had upon my musical interests, and in a way I think my writing began to flourish alongside the wide branching of my interests in film, books, and the lyrical appeal of musicians I'd never heard of.

Anyway, this is a song that has always inspired me.  It's an older song, I think the unique brilliance of Waits' voice and the simplistic cinematography leaves quite an impression.

The song, itself, always made me reminisce old loves, imagine the interplay of chance meetings, a yellow moon and all the lonely people on a night train...the streets so full, yet everyone walking into the lonesome existence of their own solitary experiences.

So, for this week, I urge you to be inspired by the song.

Step 1:  Watch the video and have a look at the lyrics.


                                                                      "Downtown Train"

Outside another yellow moon
Punched a hole in the nighttime, yes
I climb through the window and down the street
Shining like a new dime
The downtown trains are full
With all those Brooklyn girls
They try so hard to break out of their little worlds

You wave your hand and they scatter like crows
They have nothing that will ever capture your heart
They're just thorns without the rose
Be careful of them in the dark
Oh if I was the one
You chose to be your only one
Oh baby can't you hear me now

Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Every night its just the same
You leave me lonely, now
I know your window and I know its late
I know your stairs and your doorway
I walk down your street and past your gate
I stand by the light at the four way
You watch them as they fall
They stay at the carnival
But they'll never win you back

Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
Where every night its just the same
You leave me lonely
Will I see you tonight
On a downtown train
All of my dreams just fall like rain
All upon a downtown train

Step 2:  Gaze into the atmosphere of this night train, imagine you're standing right there on the corner of the street...the moon is aglow, faces of strangers peering from the windowed seats.  Are you alone or with someone?  Is there a chance meeting, a broken heart?  What are the smells, sights, the weather? Where are you going, where have you come from?  Embody this experience.

Step 3:  Using the ideas from the scenario you imagined in step 2, use as many words as possible in this wordle to write your poem/flash/fiction/short story.

The Wordpile:

So, there you go, friends.

If you want to participate, write your poem and either post it below or link up to your blog post.  I'd love to read what you come up with!

Or, as always, write on your own if you please.  Just be inspired!