Salt dissolved in water sticks to my shoes
crawls up my pant legs
fresh spit snow and crusty coat
chunks of ice slip and slide beneath the soles of my shoes,
black and gray speckled white mazes
in this record-breaking winter
cross the dwarf I am
against this skyline of man made sequoias
concrete rebar buildings of glass and glowing lights
testament of some kind of life in the spinning airs of the world:
a soft pillow to our concerns pitted far flung in space.
I am moving so fast I'll never slow down.
The scene on the corner of 40th and Market
men standing grease or anything-else smudged polyester jackets
worn soles propped on empty and upside down Pepsi crates
and the ambassador speaks, “Get a ride!” “Get a ride.”
A taxi ride but where's the taxi?
The El runs under these streets and you can hear it rumble
you can hear it scream
and you can have whatever you want
trinkets cheap bling incense body oils,
bootleg movies hot off the press,
Bo-Sing Chicken, nails or a new haircut,
H & R Block day care and a wine shoppe
tried to go into Flynn's but Flynn's be closed.
I slide my gloved hand on the rail and descend.
my feet graze steps and my eyes like a beeline
keep my pace in line
so I don't stumble here at this stairwell finish line,
too late to miss this one, too late to wait
six or less or ten or twelve minutes
depending on the time of day.
I cross the platform entrance
run the pass push through the turnstile.
The whine and screech of train songs congest the air
platform three-quarters full of scattered people and I,
step left step right fill gaps in efficiency
ever crowding is the rush hour El.
Doors slide open like Star Wars
I pass portal to a land of blank stares
and vacant aural landscapes
but for the tinny sound of a hip hop amplified iPod
and the cajole of a mother to her daughter,
"Sit down." "Sit down!"
Or the braggadocio of two seasoned brothers
slap-sticking black verbal dance on the urban landscape
scat about cards and women and hard luck,
two seats to a man.
And though I am just on my way to work
language also is written on the walls around me.