Friday, April 23, 2010

City With A Slow Hearbeat; draft #2

Welcome Latenight Rider, the cool eyed El awaits you.

Knife scratches are phone numbers etched in dull stainless steel,
seats covered in seventies style yet thin and stained carpeting
violet speckles on soft neon blue.
Ink stains are directions painted in broad crack head script
From the 15th ride the broad street line north
get off at Allegheny
and you're at the Diamond street projects.

Welcome Latenight Rider, the cool eyed El awaits you.

From Erie-Torresdale heading West though actually South
this ride quite like the stern glance of a bull before the charge:
just the squeal of breaks
the breathless mechanical hum of metal against metal
and a mechanized voice announcing the next station on deck
here on elevated tracks high above Kensington Avenue,
“Next stop Somerset...Next stop York-Dauphin...Next stop Huntington...
Next stop Berks...

Welcome Latenight Rider, the cool eyed El awaits you.

To my left across the aisle, two men sit facing each other,
each sprawled across two seats,
one sitting back twisted,
arms of gray anguish folded across the back of the seat
speaking gravel too fast
but not for his brother no he ain't no fool,
he won't get fooled again,
he ain't no fool and he won't get fooled again.

He speaks and chants and sings
and God bless this and god bless that
god bless these bitumen black-grey roofs sretching out endless
and we only pass by,
some solemn with heads held high
vacant stares that would burrow through your brain if you let them,
or chins notched in books to avoid the piercing eye of the Public
that burns hole trough us like cigarettes burn holes through jeans
even as we ride by abandoned warehouses shit full of shattered glass.

But I still feel a heartbeat.
No don't leave this one to die on the streetside
this city with a slow almost silent heartbeat.

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