Wednesday, October 7, 2009


the city is ascending into the chill from the shapeless underground.
the quality of light on the Empire State this afternoon was wintry.

there are a dress and blouse abandoned on the subway bench beside me
the next bench over is occupied by a man and woman speaking sign
i dropped my righthandglove when i passed them
heard the leather slap cement at my feet
fingers sting the stained yellow safety line
and taught as i picked the glove up to answer its challenge of loss
they couldnt even ignore the challenge
couldnt hear it
feel the slap on their sallow adamant faces
the same way they feel the trains rumbling to the station from both
without a sound

indians pressing their faces to the tracks of the Iron Horse
snakes have no ears

i think that that is one more of the uncountable languages i must
learn in one more latenight of chilled subway survival
of drunk & disorderly
tickets for girls w/heads between their knees
bongo & guitar combo musicians
oooo ooooooooo
"tell me whatchyouwant"

the train is occupied by almost only men
deaf man signing his way down the steps in the nick of time
tipped off by his indian & snake trained face
drunks and drugs @ 23rd st
orangevestedpistolpacking MTA employees
keep an eye out for those Rats

no one who will talk to me
in browncurls, buzzcuts and hardhats
stumbling with the trainsway
waving thru windows from closed car to closed car
a sign: "i'll meet you at the next stop"
we'll change trains there
catch the right alphanumeric colorcoded serpent
from columbus circle
share a paper bag and stare
amazed at waistlength dredlocks
"Priority Seating- for persons with disabilities"
inabilities and incompatibilities

"uptown A to 207- 72nd will be next- time now is 1:06"
the numbers and letters mix into words that rhyme with the
orange individual seats to prevent sleep

evryone's feet twitch and eyes wander
(as they adjust their caps)
to the only woman
at the end of the car
chewing from a cellophane bag of black licorice

when the doors close lights flash in time with the tone
the double tone that seems to be playing at evry other
stop as we slither Central Park West
past the Natural History Museum
Teddy Roosevelt's bronze horse
snorting at the Indian with a hand on the halter
as he shakes his withers & tails an imaginary fly
T.R.'s pistol is primed for a crossdraw charge into Central
Park or up St. Nicholas Hill where he reenacted San
Juan and other hills as governor
one liners rattling his sabre

the train is shapeshifting & shedding Central Park for uptown
Harlem stops & doubletones & lights in time

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