Monahans, Texas.

My first photography professor in art school was a man who used to go by the name Snowflake.  Snowflake used to smoke cigarettes and had these great stories about working on a Christmas tree farm.  He’d put on a Dale Watson album (Listen: “My Baby Makes Me Gravy“) and tell us to get out our sketchbooks and go to town.  One day he rolled into class and wrote “LARRY BROWN DEAD AT 53” on the chalkboard.  He later loaned me a set of Larry’s short stories and the rest is history.  I have now read every book ever written by my favorite author Larry Brown.  Yeah, Old Snowflake was cool stuff.  But he had a rule about students taking photographs of train tracks.  You see, Snowflake explained to us about how he had become jaded about imagery.  Being a young bronco photographer, I wondered how that was possible.  But boy oh boy, Snowflake, I sure do get it now.  I have caught what you were throwing.  So Dear Snowflake, I apologize for this photo of a train track.  But as it turns out, this one is special.  This track in Monahans, Texas inspired the songs “Desperados Waiting for a Train” and  “Texas 1947.”  A kid named Guy Clark used to spend his summers in Monahans with his grandmother and her boyfriend Jack Prigg.


‘Cause things got real quiet
Momma jerked me back
But not before I’d got the chance
to lay a nickel on the track

Look out here she comes, she’s comin’
Look out there she goes, she’s gone
Screamin’ straight through Texas
Like a mad dog Cyclone

Big, red, and silver
She don’t make no smoke
She’s a fast-rollin’ streamline
Come to show the folks

Guy Clark – “Texas 1947”


Listen here:

“Texas 1947”

“Desperados Waiting for a Train”