Zine Review: Railroad Semantics #2

by Aaron Dactyl (Microcosm)
Microcosm has re-released another issue of photographer and travel writer (and freight train jumper), Aaron Dactyl’s gripping rail-riding zine, Railroad Semantics. Originally published in 2009, this second issue recounts Aaron's travels along the West Coast from Southern Oregon to Northern California. The romantic notion of living a life "off the grid"—free from the responsibilities of jobs and family and the hassles of "The Man" (save for railroad bulls and local cops) has always had appeal for the huddled masses, especially in times of economic suckedness. Most of us can only dream of such a life; traveling at leisure or at the dictates of a locomotive with an unseen driver, from one town to the next. It's not for everyone, however. It has a dark side. It can be a grimy, grim business, and dangerous, but watching the scenic Pacific Northwest roll by after a few slugs of whiskey sounds pretty gol'dang good to me. Credit must be given to Dactyl for bringing it alive with a writing style that mixes enough railroad lingo with some pretty vivid passages of the scenery, the people and the towns he encounters along the way.
RS #2 also includes photos, graphs, train maps and train-related newspaper clippings as well as a hand-written essay from fellow hobo and boxcar tagger, John EasleyChris Auman