A Phoenix Artist Rode the Skytrain at the Airport For a Month and Wrote a Book of Poems About It

Keith Fulcourt
3 min readAug 20, 2018

Phoenix, AZ — Most people think of the tram or skytrain at their local airport as being little more than a convenient means to transport them to their flight terminal or take them to the parking garage. Nothing but a quick way to get from point A to point B.

Phoenix based artist Brandon Adamson spent several weeks and nearly 50 hours riding the skytrain at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, as inspiration for his latest poetry book, Skytrain to Nowhere.

“I wasn’t traveling or anything. I had absolutely no reason to be there,” insists Adamson. “I just thought it would be interesting. Other writers always write poems about trees and tulips and stuff, and I don’t care much about those things. So, I had to ask myself what I’m passionate about: malls, airports, monorails, skytrains, the past, the future, etc.”

All of the poems in the book relate to his observations and often bizarre personal reflections on his experiences while riding the skytrain. Occasionally he offers some poetic commentary on unique or noteworthy riders.

“The temptation when writing a book about a mode of public transportation like this is to focus on the people,” Adamson says. “You could easily end up writing an entire book about annoying and weird passengers. I resisted going that route though. I wanted the book to be more abstract and imagination driven, a meditative examination of the skytrain itself. Most of all, I made an effort to keep things positive. I reserved remarks on other passengers to those times I couldn’t resist or when their presence tied in with the broader themes.”

In addition to being a volume of poetry, Skytrain to Nowhere is also a photo essay, featuring dozens of unique photographs taken while he was conducting this literary experiment. “Sometimes, I would have to ride the skytrain 25 or 30 times at a certain time of the day just to get one particular picture angle I was hoping for,” Adamson said.

A long time valley resident, Brandon grew up in the Phoenix area and has been a fixture in the local underground arts community for decades. “I’ve always really loved Sky Harbor Airport, ever since I first set foot inside it, sometime in the early 1980's. It’s such an iconic place. It’s so elaborate and efficient, practically a city within a city. Most people probably wouldn’t even give something like the skytrain a second thought, but it’s fascinating to me. I just wish it went all the way to Las Vegas, or even the moon.”