Tuesday, October 8, 2013

NYC Subway Poem

A free-verse list poem of epic proportions . . .

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The young man leans against last month's subway ad as his pretty girl wearing skinny jeans and a furry hooded coat rises up to her toes to kiss him broadly on the lips in the vacant corner between the exit stairwells

A rush of wind springs suddenly down the cavern rustling the daily newspaper of the small suited man. Wearing a bowler's cap, with his thin legs crossed taughtly at the knee crease and pant cuffs up to his calves, he shakes the paper back into reading formation

His shoes shined by the stocky man at the booth upstairs who once hailed from rural Mexico where his mother died without ever seeing her son return

Glistening the professional shine of the black shoes, the spotlight of the approaching subway train grows larger and brighter in the dark

Conductor, busy, faceless people in the first car of the ConEdison ad train stand up and sit down from their playground plastic seats preparing for the moment of exit

Car two and three speed by attracting platform gatherers like magnets. 

The red accordion player switches train cars through the sliding silver doors followed by his baby-carrying girlfriend who wasn't the same woman yesterday, his gray sweatpants slouch and the mole on his cheek moves as his mouth announces his arrival

zoom ba ba, zoom badi badi zoom ba ba baaaa

And his fat baby-carrying girlfriend, baby strapped to the front of her body, circles the edge of the train with an upside-down frayed fedora jingling with change and the soft shutter of a few American dollars

Car four and the second conductor's head out the window and five and six and seven and eight, the squealing brakes breach points of comfort and the rumble of the concrete platform begins to settle

Slowing the momentum of the metal bullet, pretty girl eyes and pink lips aboard lock with the young black business man in a trench coat and brown  gator-skin boots

For an instant he dreams their connection with him pulling her by the hand out of the rain and meeting lips on the king bed in his apartment until, as they turn their heads, the connection is severed by steel motion

A young woman wears her hood wrapped around the back of her neck and her yellow hair tied back, her eyes void all contact with the baby-carrying girlfriend and she reaches for her iPhone to turn up the Rihanna song audible to the adjacent man eager to establish eye contact, her eyes trace the advertisement emphasizing the importance of higher education for your happiness 

The coin jingling fedora passes the guy across the isle with his old black & blue Yankees hat but returns when he shifts his body to take the soiled single from his leather wallet. 

The train stops. 

Riders shift as the train hisses and settles in the station holding their breath as they wait.

The doors spread open with a ring. Like an instant in No Man's Land, the doorway hosts no bodies.

For train car two an overweight anxious wigged black woman pushes into the doorway as riders exit. Her face prepared for struggle, her brow furrowed and her lips taught in a tight frown line. She tilts her head down and fights through the people desperate for the seat she claimed through the grayed window.

Train car 4 sees offering as the long-legged man with the perma-smile, steps through the car doorway to make room for the torrent of exiting passengers behind him. He watches the faces as people stream from the metal container like clowns holed up in a clown car and as the flow of exiters decreases until the dripping faucet is turned off completely, the long-legged man steps back into the underground rocket. Leading those behind him, he steps into the car center and grabs the metal pole. His first grab locates a warm and greasy spot, he releases and relocates his hand to the pole's crotch where the vertical and horizontal poles meet to find the cool untouched snow of a winter morning.

In the crowd to exit door three of car eight, the pink lipped girl quickly views her reflection in the black of her phone and primps the hair around her face. The crowd in front of her begins to get sucked out onto the platform by the relentless momentum of the city. As she steps onto the grounded concrete, she scans the platform to her left seeking a second glimpse of the black business man. Her eyes spot his black trench coat as it is being drawn into the last train car and again she makes eye contact. But this time, she offers an appealing smile.

With the transactions complete and both traders content, souls entering the train seek seats or room on the metal poles and the exiters seek exit stairwells, elevators and escalators to leave the underground and discover whether today the sun still shines. With the doors still open, a rush of wind prefaces the shwoop of a train arriving onto the track across the platform. The cars whirl by and the brakes gracefully squeak the train to a halt. Some exiters from the opposite track push through to run into the waiting train completely forgetting anything other than the need to enter it for the cross-platform sprint. 

Others stroll and breathe as they transfer to the waiting train. 

As the closing door announcement is made, the stragglers hasten their pace into the cabin of the waiting train. Shutting doors enclose the infinite reality inside as the conductor prepare to travel on.

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