Northbound 12/29/89

The (Seattle-bound) Coast Starlight is on time
  chirped the face-less place-less 800-number
  and a cheery thanks for traveling Amtrak.
We rushed by bus across the bridge to Oakland.

The earthquake-shaken depot was shut for safety
  so we sipped icy sodas under cold December stars
  while some ass's sedan blocked the tracks a mile south.
We small-talked for over an hour trying not to shiver.

The crew-abandoned coach was close and overheated
  and the crappers didn't work and we crawled along
  through a day of gassy cuisine and farty catnaps.
We were three hours late creeping north from Portland.

The night-benighted train had just begun its homestretch
  above the Columbia when it braked and backed up
  over and from a bum who had bolted from a boxcar.
We bore one hour more before they found a coroner.

The Seattle-arrived Starlight lumbered lambent rails
  at less than three mph the last half hour;  we, languishing,
  laid our lost time on that lousy ass in Oakland.  Still,
We lost less time than had the bum in Vancouver.