Poem

Subway Haiku

Five times doors open
And five times they quickly shut
The Speaker crackles

Crossroads of the world
Four languages on my bench
Train to JFK

Many tired folks,
Long hours and they can’t rest yet,
“start spreadin’ the news”

Every type of eyes:
Closed, squinting, staring, empty,
Downcast, roving, hard

Dude: Yankees’ cap,
Whitest sneakers known to man,
Brand names head to toe

“No way” says a kid,
Mom grabs his DS away,
He stares silently.

Man wears a kuf,
On his neck: Star of David,
Eating some pork rinds

Man in uniform,
Knows how important he is,
And now you do, too

Women gently sleep,
The train lurches to a stop,
They ain’t sleeping now.

Girl sings for herself
Headphones keep the beat for her,
Or maybe they don’t…

No one can figure
Where the smell is coming from
They know it’s bad, though

I keep thinking that
I dropped something earlier
Checking my pockets

Man that perfume is
Really strong, I hope I can
Still hold back the sneeze

Dude brought his bike on,
Somebody eating baked fish
Am I like that? Yup.

Cobwebs in his wheels,
Guy looks around nervously,
“You allergic to fish ?”

Pinstripe suit fingers phone
Taps his loafer to unheard beat
Eyes cut down and right

Delayed? “Because of
train traffic ahead” but it’s
One AM, no joke!

We stop, motor hums,
A distant voice mumbles words
We lurch off again

Door sound: major third
Train rolls out: minor seventh
Wheels squeal: I go deaf

Tall Kid slumps forward
Black backpack and white t-shirt
Head resting on arms

Ironic facial hair
well trimmed, Hipster grooves and reads
Trust’s quarterly report

Hand drawn sign, A train:
“DATING ONE NIGHT STANDS ONLY”
“AQUARiUM ZOO”

The doors stay open
Damp Hot air and chilly meet,
With a snap, heat gone

A big man splays out
Old shoes untied and filthy
They all give him space

Another big man laughs
Stern Church lady calls him out
He says ” yeh, I’m wrong”

Yellow shirt lady
Blue hair, with purple Mohawk
Wipes hard at a stain

Underneath, her gut
Is fully tatted and round,
The shirt clings tightly

Nappers and rappers
Prayers, readers, or just lost,
Directions included

Station by station,
Nonchalant roll call of names,
We grind toward my stop

Almost there, you’d think
I would be sleepy by now,
Can’t sleep on the train

It Took long enough,
Finally arrived where they
Always said to go.

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