Salt dissolved in water sticks to my shoes
crawls up the inseam of my pants
leaves behind a shadow of a
ghost of a spectacle enshrouded in this somber city.
Fresh spit of snow and crusty coats chunks of ice
slips and slides the soles beneath my feet
hinders my walking me dwarfed by these man made sequoias
tall brick and stone buildings and taller sky-
scrapers cutting gashes in the spinning airs of the world:
soft pillow to our concerns pitted far flung in this space
where I am moving so fast I'll never slow down.
I walk hands tight against my body
soft brown cloth hat, ensign of muted pastel
triangles arranged lengthwise round the head every color of the rainbow,
rain coat and dark thermals layered against the cold
insulated against the wind.
the scene on the street corner
men standing splotched jackets
propped on empty and upside down 2 liter pepsi crates
“Get a ride!” “Get a ride.”
“Get a ride!”
The El runs under the streets so there is always someone going on
trinkets and cheap bling incense body oils,
catcalls, lo-key jabs, never scene a fight
but I have seen two man yell each other down
sometimes lucky the fate of the passerby
I am so I walk on, walking man leads my way.
Sliding my gloved hand on the rail I descend
watching my feet lest I lose my step
or stumble here at this stairwell finish line,
too late to miss this one, too late to wait
six or eight or ten minutes
depending on the time of day.
I cross the platform entrance, gloves slip into left hand
right side reaches into breast pocket,
and runs the pass pushes through turnstile.
Whine and screech train songs congests the air
platform half full of scattered people and I, stepping left stepping right
try to be first in line
filling gaps in efficiency.
Doors slide open like Star Wars,
I pass the portal to a land mostly of blank stares
vacant aural landscapes,
but for the tinny sound of an hip hop amplified iPod,
or the reasoned or outlandish cajole of a mother to her daughter
"Sit down." "Sit down!"
or the braggadocio of two seasoned brothers
slapstick black leather charm
something must have been funny but you missed it
you who keep your face buried in books,
buried in the written language:
but it is written all over the walls
of this subterranean urban jungle,
as much underwater as it is underland.