Bodies fold like tired laundry. Beds are no longer a necessity when eyes climb closed and the push/pull of subway lulls bones to sleep. We wear our coats now. Construction boots. Necks are scarve’d and skulls are capped by wool. How contagious is that cough at the end of this train. Would we still exist without cell phones or candy crush.
At 6:36am on Wednesday, the sky still sleeps. Call it eighty shades of black with planets that blink. If I hadn’t of noticed that chip in the moon last night, I might have forgotten why I look up so often. At 125th Street, the humans get off and suddenly that coveted blue bench is empty. I am book-ended by sleepy commuters and across, a man shakes his neck toward the music piped into his ears. I need no record or radio to channel the pre-recorded rhythms in my mind.
Outside, pigeons flap wings wearing reminders of breakfast: barbecue sauce, bones on their breath. I cannot explain why I call them my favorite bird, but maybe it is their flight. History as grey and white mailboxes or. Maybe it is the way they are ignored or shooed away. And aren’t the most beautiful parts of earth also what we tend to forget to notice?
Sometimes it happens in a way we forget to recognize. You with a friend and your mouths are open, words arriving, weaving in and out of each other and the subway arrives without a wait. Without a delay. You both get on without acknowledging this moment: stepping away from the New York air into the dungeon of underground trains and not having to think about how long the pause will be.
Sometimes you meet someone. Here’s an image: you notice her bum or the way she laughs with vibrating lips or her accent or her haircut. Wrong gender? OK: you notice his collarbone or the way his pattern of stubble looks like a constellation you used to memorize or his neck, which is almost too skinny for swallowing and yet its strength is what impales your attraction. You’re not equipped for this. You are getting over someone; you recently lost someone; you are unemployed or just starting a new job and you are busy or you’re too tired or the possibility of allowing someone new to learn you is unbearably stressful. Yet here is this human and your body is magnetic when they are around, propelling you closer. And love? Love. Wait, love? Well, sometimes it happens when you just don’t want it to like breaths or weight gain.
Sometimes you have to travel over an hour just to receive a paycheck that is so low it seems spent even before you rip off the perforated parts. But you go back and forth several times a week; sometimes you feel like the earth is getting stronger but sometimes it feels like your language is lost or expired. You are weary and exhausted and you don’t even have enough time some days to take your medicine write your poems. But then you get a phone call because maybe you can write a cover letter and maybe all that time spent misusing your body and melting your mind led to these newer years of reclaiming your body and reengaging with your mind. So perhaps the paycheck will finally grow muscles and although your commute may be the same, think of all those books that can be read written just from all that waiting.