Brooklyn Commute (A Poem)


Hands argue in their native Yiddish.

Django is strutting in my wingtips.

A hoodlum’s racket wrinkles the commute.

Every two ears spill out a stethoscope and jam.

Ads hawk an app for every ill.

The misery collective shrugs at cleverness; fuhgeddaboudit.

A pair of lovely ballerines with spikes

Betray the ankles of a hulking waif.

Grand Street, mandarin rush.

Propelled up from the earthen bowels,

The upturned corners of the mouth revel above the gleaming rooftops.

Suspended between whimsy islands, briefly entertained by sun,

The world is ours through the elevated trusses.

The mandatory bridge staccato carries off.

Each two fat fingers at the screen auto-correct eternity.

A muscle shirt, pious white beard,

A skirt too short, May to December glance.

Eyes to the ceiling for thick drops of mercy.

The tunnel swallows us; it’s fate.

Train traffic, each a lazy stop.

Rushing to rest, sweaty and swearing and relieved, I fly.

Jonah is spewed above the ground, egress complete.

Pick-up, drop-off; a stroller army girds,

Keen on repelling its checked privilege.

Padam, padam, the wheels insist below the grate.

Padam, padam, padam

Elle arrive en courant derrière moi.

My life in rose is suddenly concrete.


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