Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Passenger in a Womb…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 7:12 am on Wednesday, February 17, 2021

by Robert M. Katzman  © January 27, 2021


We start out so securely as

A Passenger in a Womb

Blindly, slowly, silently

Moving thru Time

Our temporary 

All enveloping Pilot

Momentarily choosing our path


The invisible Track we are assigned

After the explosion of Light

After the explosion of Sound

The Universe bombarding the infant

With seemingly millions of crossroads

We brim with an infinity of: Perhaps?


My Father Israel once told me

In his American Yiddish:

“Ast du schmerst

Gaest du”

“As you grease your way

So goes the ride”








Oh, my Father,

What did you mean?

What should I do?


I enter reality

Primed for excitement

But then…

 The Galaxy of open palms

The Merry-Go-Round

Of so soothing words

All paths seem…so golden


But Time coldly refines choices

Time, indifferent, slicing off options

The taller you grow

The wider you view your horizons

Until the Adult recognizes

At last

The World is a Wilderness


The Track becomes slicker

The wind racing, bracing

Our skin burnished by

Kindness, wildness, savagery 

Open hands and hardened fists

We are passengers transformed

Climbing higher on the Track

Our Railroad insecurely ascending


A solitary car, really 

On quivering rails

Our grasp of understanding

Has swelled like the incoming tide

Our grasp of our ride

Grows ever more frail


Still, we speed on 

Faster & Faster & Faster

Time beginning to collapse

Awareness not a shield



A Century ago

The wheels, the wheels 

Beginning to squeal


Our Track seems neglected

Our vision less panoramic

The sounds of the clickity-clack

More remote

The rails ever narrowing

In the Distance

Yet Infinity grows nearer


Oh, I know

I know there’s something

Something waiting

Something worth

What it cost me

To get here


When our Train

Runs out of Track

When our rusted Cars

Plummet over the Peak

Will the Illusion become clear?


Will we rise?

Or will we fall?

Last Sounds

Last Sights

Did we ever know

There never was

A Destination?


(Author’s Stream of Consciousness to follow):

Writing these thoughts down was inspired by Nancy Alexander during a conversation. 

She felt an idea, a concept I was describing to her was worth keeping. 

Told me to stop talking and write it down. 

Didn’t know it would be 70 lines, hundreds of words and thirteen stanzas. 

Sometimes a great deal is contained within a few words unknowingly packed with power and imagery. 


So, thanks very much to endearing Nancy, now officially a Muse.

No benefits, no vacation, never a raise, but adoration comes along with it, my Muse.

But there is one more thing.

I am not a railroad person, never write about them. 

I have photographed some beautiful antique cars in outdoor museums. 

But that’s art, not transportation.

Mitchell Markovitz, a talented railroad artist whom I met in childhood and who I admire immensely for that and other reasons is my only other connection to Trains and Tracks.

In Israel I photographed a very large ugly railroad car in particular at the ghostly Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, once used to transport doomed Jews to Auschwitz to their deaths. 

It was not beautiful.

Yesterday, January 27, 2021, was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

I think perhaps subliminally, the ultimately fatal railroad car in my poem may have come from that. 

It was not intentional. 

I didn’t know the poem’s end when I began it. 

We sort of traveled along together.

Neither of us steering.

It didn’t even occur to me until a day later, today, when a good friend from Israel, Gilad, who is ill right now wrote to me about the Pandemic and other things. 

He is the kind of man where a single dinner is enough to make a lasting imprint on a person.

So far away and so close to me, too.

Friendship, when visiting, travels at the speed of light.

Then my subconscious brain put the assorted parts together 

Offered them to me to think about after the fact

Writing is mysterious.

Poetry is passion, terror, lust, despair, revenge, ambition, remorse and a Soul stripped to the bone. 

A single selected word more meaningful than a sentence, a paragraph.

Words with the power to assault and capture a mind, a heart–even after the writer has died, the words live on.

But, well, I am only the writer, a lingering Chicago Wordsmith, tripping over potholes to reach Seventy. 

So these reflected conclusions are not necessarily for me to say.

All power rests with the Reader who decides what is worth their time and what is not.

In my Stream of Consciousness Express 

There are no scheduled Stations. 

Just a single dedicated Track.

There is no way to stop


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998  (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.


Comment by Lynda Rosemark

February 17, 2021 @ 7:51 am

Love the title
Passenger in a Womb

Comment by Brad Dechter

February 17, 2021 @ 8:53 am

Great imagery. I could see the poem.
I traveled some of the rails with you and hate the thought of reaching the end of the road (or track) as inevitable as it is.
You captured my interest and thoughts.
Thanks Bob!

Comment by Herb Berman

February 17, 2021 @ 11:31 am

Very thoughtful, Bob. Thank you.

Comment by Jim Payne

February 17, 2021 @ 1:35 pm

I am carried along by your vivid imagery. What a journey you conduct.

Comment by Bernard White

February 17, 2021 @ 4:11 pm

Cousin Brother Bob, reminds me of this TS Eliot; When the train starts and the passengers are settled to fruit, periodicals and business letters. And those who saw them off have left the platform, their faces relax from grief into relief. To the sleepy rhythm of a 100 hours. Fare forward traveller. Not escaping from the past into different lives or into any future. You are not the same person who left that station or who will arrive at any Terminus, while the narrowing rails slide together behind.

I love the poem on the rails and the stream (of consciousness that flows after). I enjoyed traveling with you, winding through the narrow places by rail and stream.

Here we are. Still. Here we are, still here.

Baruch HaShem. B’ezrat Hashem. Hallelujah.

with grateful respect,


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