When You Reach The Last Stop, Show The Grim Reaper You Have A Transfer Card (aka Subway Soliloquy)

STAND-CLEAR-OF-THE-CLOSING-DOORS-PLEASE.

Crowded, packed and stuffed with no AC.
Doors close, open, close, open, close, open, cl-
open. Somebody sucks teeth and the whole train sighs.
An afternoon turning evening ride home, ten stops away
from Wednesday rituals and the nonsense we do to get
over the hump of a work-week. Walking starts looking
like an option from all these delays. And if this
old ladies bag pushes me ONE MORE TIME I swear I’ll-

LADIES-AND-GENTLEMAN
PLEASE-GIVE-UP-YOUR-SEAT
FOR-THE-PREGNANT
AND
THE-ELDERLY
IT’S-STANDING-UP-FOR-WHATS-RIGHT
AND-COURTESY
IS-CONTAGIOUS.

Sweating, hot and suffocating in 9 to 5 company.
Undone ties and tired eyes fanning magazines,
smearing makeup, grunting offhand conversations,
complacent and wailing for home. Singing to the rhythm
of train tracks and middle class disappointment.
ka-kun ka-kun…ka-kun…ka-kun…ka-
A Game of Thrones Ringtone plays and somebody sneezes.

LADIES-AND-GENTLEMAN
FOR-YOUR-SAFETY-PLEASE
DO-NOT-BLOCK-OR-HOLD-THE-CAR-DOORS
WHILE-THE-TRAIN-IS
IN-THE-STATION.

Two men argue over who touched who first,
but it doesn’t matter and devolves to racial slurs.
Fingers, movements, violence vibrating in IF YOU COME
ONE STEP CLOSER
and voices getting louder
and louder and louder and louder and
more uncomfortable the longer neither of them backs down.
Then one says F**K THIS and starts reaching in his bag and

THIS-IS-A-SOUTHBOUND
SIX-TRAIN
THE-NEXT-STOP-IS
SAINT-LAWRENCE
AVENUE.

Crowded, packed and stuffed with no AC.
Doors close, open, close, open, close, open, cl-
open. Red floor, red doors, red rails, red everything.
Red advertisement on prescription acne treatment
on sale with Dr. Zimmerman, blood blushing his smile.
People running. Screams. Yelling. Shoving. I TOLD HIM
HE SHOULDN’T. I TOLD HIM. I TOLD HIM.
Sirens.

STAND-CLEAR-OF-THE-CLOSING-DOORS-PLEASE.

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The Only Difference Between The Top And The Bottom Is The View (aka Bukowski Had It Right)

Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Seen men laugh the hell of winter in warehouse factories, smoke circles huddled to keep warm in the frost of poverty and nicotine snow. Stale gas station bread and piss poor coffee for piss poor patrons in piss poor jobs stuck in dead end wages. Together, strangely, in more than a word. Exhaustion does strange things to quiet the soul and make a family out of shared misery. Leonard made coffee cakes on Fridays. We ciphered cigarette breaks while Cassandra played lookout for the forman. Hank didn’t say much.

Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Broke bread and summer nights with Yale graduates, yuppies who migrated to Washington Heights when even they were too broke for SoHo. Thirsty Thursdays and 5K Marches for whatever was popular at the moment. Empty nights full of cocktails on rooftops that overlook Manhattan and sympathy. Overseas relief efforts in LoFi filters, hashtagged humanitarianism at its worse. Intellectuals that are only in it for themselves.

Oh, I have risen high and been driven low. Met the greatest and worst minds of our generation, found little difference in both. The vagabond desperate to make his ends meet, and the conglomerate tied in a knot of vanity and himself. Where is the lesson? What is there to learn from these peaks of top and bottom? Nothing.

Life is a but a poor struggle, or a rich one.

 

Prince Charming Settled (And It Wasn’t For You)

Keep a bottle near me in case she kisses me and goes to sleep. Honey has a horribly twisted love in her lips I can’t resist, bent with a hand on her hip and pride. Dried tears and warm beers because we danced too much and forgot about them, Fingerprints on my lips ear, last place she touched or thought of me.

The opposite of amnesia comes between us and sunlight is the enemy. Forever severed by the sound of last call. What are we now? Two souls lost in pizza slices and where we wished we could be. Anybody but you, anywhere but here. Whispers and french cheeses. Coney Island kisses and a game prize.

Hold me like you don’t mean it because baby it’s cold. She shivers and I’m frozen. My floor creeks and her bed leans into us like a depression.

Is It A Drunk Text If I Still Love You?

I don’t know how to talk to you, and although I’d like to.
texting at this hour might not help that effort,
but, I’ve got midnight in my blood and its the only time
I feel like being honest. The moon must hold some magic
over me. I should be in bed
rather than emptying the bottles of my emotions.

But that’s tomorrows problems. For now,
I’ll stand still under Mercury,
counting stars that don’t appear
above my empty city, say a little prayer
and ask Hermes for deliverance
from you.

I’ll ask: is it better with your father yet?
Have you had vegetables today?
When was the last time you read your palm
and saw a future instead of long and
useless lines? Are we still friends?
Do you even care? Who warms your bed and stokes
your hair? Do I sound jealous? Should I not be?
Why does it feel like I’m questioning air?

Did you know that I will always love you,
and that your name carries a weight
my heart can never ever shed?

Diss Me Like You Mean It (aka Brutal Affection Is The Truest)

Love at first sight is nonsense, or so goes the cynic; an illusion and silly little phrase we parade around to make sex and marriage seem more magical than they really are. It boils down to what the stupid body wants and we mentally justify afterward, finding any excuse to validate the unnecessary and coming off like a douche either way. Like when someone tries explaining the use of a camera inside of their refrigerator, or why they decided to have children.

But the fact of the matter remains- when I met May I was mesmerized. Her hair, was it maybe? So red and brutal on a stranger. Bleeding down her back and looking full of Fall. The confidence of knowing what a decadent disaster a house party is, but taking the time to curl and color her eyelashes anyway. It’s indescribable really, her character and what it did to me. But since I am trying to make you love her as I did, I suppose I should try.

She carried herself like a woman twice her age and half as condescending. Pleasant and friendly in a half-sincere sort of way. But blatant, the way normal people should be. If she said she loved your outfit it was always off the cuff and out of tangent, like when you proved her wrong about who won best picture in 2017 (she thought it was La-La Land.) And when corrected her pitch shifted extremely from high and low on vowels, stressing consonants along the way.

“See, look, Moonlight,” I said, showing her my phone.

“Ohhhh my Goddddd, I love your shoessssss where’d you get themmmmmm.”  She said, turning down the hall before I could answer.

She was mean but didn’t mean it, I think, and I could tell by how her eyes darted for a reaction to what she said. The way you tell a two year old not to touch that, and they reach…just for a second. Hand inching to that electric socket. Eyes 5+ feet high staring down. All that ceiling, all that ceiling. And they reach, but not because they will. They reach to see how far they can push, they reach to get an idea or a glimpse of what you might do if they did. But they don’t.

That was the way she had.

“Do you have a light?” I asked her in the hallway.

“Brighter than you know,” She said.

“Gross.”

“Yeah,” She said. A strand of blood dangling from her smirk. “I kind of like you too.”