August days, muggy haze.
But I could not avoid the subway.
Bodies forced to touch.
He was standing across from me.
Our eyes locked as both of our hands reached
for that slimy silver pole.
Black fingernails. Black hair.
Black clothes. Hauntingly pale skin.
He reeked of smoke. And a bit of booze.
In that moment my greatest fear
was my hand touching his ugliness.
I pursed my lips and averted my eyes.
Holding onto that pole
Like i was holding on for my life.
Her blue eyes were empty. I knew her type.
WASPY preacher with so much money,
She had no choice but to turn to God.
Red finger nails. Blond Hair.
Black clothes, with that little white strip around her neck.
It must be choking her mind. That’s why her face is so pale.
I kept my eyes on the map just ahead of her.
Focused on my hand staying put.
The train braked- jolted- stopped.
Manipulated by physics
Our bodies surged forward
Then snapped back.
In perfect sync,
Her hand slipped up;
Mine slipped down.
Our skin had been shared.
Millions of ugly germs swimming between
our meager hands.
We had shared.
We were shared.
Our eyes locked back together.
But neither had won.
We were at the mercy of the train.
And for that one moment.
Right before the 56th Street exit.
We knew each other. We knew.
And we smiled.
I took and African-American studies course last semester that had a creative project component to it. The topic was Ugly Beauty. It took me a few weeks to focus in on a topic that covered an adjective that was so unwieldy. It was during those weeks that I studied the infamous Goetz trial in my History of American Law class. It was a profound event that marked the racism, violence and fear that had over-run New York City and its people during the 80’s and 90’s, much like the Central Park Jogger case. This trial, along with reading The Dutchman inspired me to write a series of poems that explore the “Ugly Beauty” present in the New York subway. These are poems inspired by true events I have witnessed or have heard about. It is an open ended project that I see as a work in progress. I will post when I have found a new narrative I would like to explore.
The lead front-page photo of today’s Washington Post by photographer Michael S. Williamson. “I’m a texture stalker,” says Williamson, noting the photo’s impressionism, “and the fact that the rain is so unpredictable and so random — it’s a photo you can never replicate.”
love it, even thought it starts to make my head spin after too long.
I have read of the magic of wizard’s brooms
and witches stew.
Oh, how high I was
and how I flew.
Each word too real to not be true.
But down I fell, possessed by
the eerie romance of budding love.
Words of young girls and what was
The mystery of adolescence faded into
As I danced to Jazzy dreams
and I felt my heart Beat as Ginsberg
But Marx, Weber and the like,
Oh, how deeply they do strike.
My head dizzy, clouded with their
depressing theories of the tangible world.
A Brave New World no more,
but no way to close the door.
Drinking my tea
The sparrow shits
—ah! my brain & eggs
Mayan head in a
Pacific driftwood bole
—Someday I’ll live in N.Y.
Looking over my shoulder
my behind was covered
with cherry blossoms.
I didn’t know the names
of the flowers—now
My Favorite Place is about to get even BETTER
Exciting news for High Line fans:
Mayor Bloomberg, Council Speaker Quinn, and Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond today announced that the City of New York has acquired the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc., a major step toward completing the vision of preserving the entire historic elevated railway and transforming it into public open space for future generations of New Yorkers to enjoy. CSX has donated the rail yards section to the City, just as it did for the High Line structure south of West 30th Street. This transfer of ownership clears the way for design and construction on the final stretch of the elevated rail viaduct to extend the High Line park to West 34th Street. Design of the rail yards section is underway, and construction is expected to begin later this year. Find out more on NYC.gov.
NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky:
“Today’s announcement is another important step towards realizing the ultimate vision for the High Line. Since it originally opened in 2009, the High Line has been a dynamic addition to our City’s landscape, creating an innovative urban park, while at the same time generating billions of dollars in private investment in the surrounding area. With the eventual opening of the entirety of the High Line, what has already been an extraordinary achievement will continue to attract new businesses and generate economic activity, further enhancing Manhattan’s ever-changing West Side as well as the entire City.”
Photo credits: NYCEDC