(Excerpt from) Song of My Subway

by Bart Bittman

EVERYONE surrounds me,
People I'll never meet, their effect on me negligible, except when
they take my seat and I have to stand and on my feet, I have to get new shoes
They're rushing to dates, drug drops, invitations, affairs,
booty calls, job interviews, oh the bastards,
If one of them gets sick we should all be able
to kick them onto the next platform, let the EMTs take care of them there

Apart from the pulling and pushing I never see them,
I stand apart, cranky, phlegmy, cranky,
But I look just once, and do see them, the gorgeous and the grotesque,
the incontinent, the wall-eyed, the one-legged, the hermaphroditic, the sweaty,
Faces upon faces, and I would punch them all
In my fantasies I have punched them all

But the sickness of one fundamentalist,
the act of one fool with a suicidal bent and bomb bustier
And then all these sad bastards,
The artsy, the other artsy, the single mom, the other single mom,
the third and fourth single mom, the punk rocker, the editor,
the unemployed SOB who just has nothing to do
but ride the trains all frikkin day,
the overweight transit undercover cop, the 17 mewling children

All of us, once separate, alone in our rides, would be linked forever,
a series of faces and names in a newspaper spread, on the news,
on posters, lined up along platforms, candles burning under each face,
and our relatives would be thrust together, meeting
and getting to know each other
at counseling sessions, talk shows, protests
not that it wouldn't hurt my ex-wife to meet new people
and lord knows my cousin would probably love that person's people
We'd be linked forever, like subway cars linked,
linked like subway cars! See what I did there?

2 Like
Log in to rate
0 Dislike