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   s t r a n g e r s    o n    a    t r a i n

--- G R E G   F U C H S

                                  --for John Colletti

The third decade in the last 100 years

of tremendous expansion.

What side of paradise?

Five times more millionaires in the last five years,

34 million people in poverty.

Some in the city haven't ridden

a subway in two decades.

The wealthiest man in the world

will be a billion trillionaire.

A rogue element in the union

asks for practical democracy

instead of preaching. Whereas Mayor

breaks the strike by breaking human rights.

Riding the length of the city Saturday,

see outside

looking inside L train 3:10 P.M.

Sleazy going over

noon hanging

post-kissing pub

bathroom door,

snorting sink rim,

mirror boy, girl.

Confession manipulates the confessed to persuade not absolve.

Man on the platform exclaims, "Aye shit, is the train coming?"

Mustachioed all boho teeters over the edge.

Hell's Angel burns the end of a two-by-four like it's a match lights his cigarette.

The low rumble of an oncoming train, traffic overhead. Three people sniffling.

Who was the male half of People's couple of the year?

Twin's arms are folded. Eat hamburgers. Sneeze. 1st Avenue Rust colored walls.

"Don't hold the closing doors ladies and gentlemen."

One dollar per wind-up kid's toy. One dollar. One dollar.

Old sweatshirt, cashmere sweater, yellow smoke stain in the white beard.

UFO yo-yo. Fresh Prince. Air conditioned car nightmare.

Please close the windows. Closed eyes, sleeping beauty. Beauty battles grotesque.

The only goal is to change the world, not obtaining beauty, truth,

but materially changing the raw data

for new information. This is the information

that an entire car of people are alive going somewhere.

3rd Ave Defenders of the free world.

Smile. Smile. Smile.

Free Internet access. The means to literacy are what we must obtain,

maintain. Want to be in the know?

Union Square, street, precocious child, complaining mom.

Saks Fifth Avenue. Shaking onto one another. Come on people

shine on your brother, I want something to drink or eat. It's not for drugs,

it's for snacks. The crowds don't stop coming. The weekenders

don't know if they're going East or West.

Leopard skin jacket casts a flirtatious smile. Family's groceries on the subway

bagged in plastic stacked on floor. Snake skin shoes.

F Train 14th Street

Black gum spots speckle cracked concrete. Lord have mercy on me, sings the folk

rock singer. As the world burns. There's no seats on a Saturday. I just want

to go home. Drink juice. The cool breeze pushes through the tunnel

next train readying.

W. 4th

"Happy birthday,"

says a balloon.


Two woman talk earning money.

"The bottom line is everything, is always between the line."

What about when your whole world falls apart,

someone asks nonchalantly, "How are you?"

Do you answer: my world is crumbling, I'm lonely,

the future of death sleeps next to me.

The bottom-line is not everything, it's just some thing.

A high-end journal

is not an insult, even if you intended it as one. Mother slaps her hands.

Cries more. Blue streaks in black hair. Very rock-n-roll.

"She can justify anything under the sun. She's not a bad person."

Que, pasa?

Baby crying.

The North face. The South caboose. Delancey

We all got our own goals

and our own baggage.

The enchanting dark flower,

black orchid heart broken

by love without feelings,

by letters without meaning,

by lies and deceit,

by desire.

The American flag bandanna exits at Essex.

East Broadway

My bad. Phat farm.

Hoyt Schemerhorn

Your stuck zipper nerves me.

All magazines are T and A rags

edited by ad agencies.

Spike Lee look-a-like

swoosh hat, Dr. J glasses.

Totally hot hoochie mommas

riding boots say, "For all your S and M fetishes."

Party girls out for a night on the town

stand across from a couple holding plastic bags,

holding each other. Baby asleep in mother's arms.

MTA attendant stares down the bongos.

Duct taped guitar, tambourine taped to foot, bass drum

taped to hand truck, amplifier taped to hand-truck, one-

man-band. He's the shit, slow heavy, repetitive groove.

Train beep, track clack, bongo beat, train rolls in

opposite track. Three ear rings and your lover's hand

on your head. Lemon meringue pie in a paper bag.

Loony smile

on the woman dressed like a man,

or man dressed like a woman. Author of key witness.

Eyes closed. Hands crossed. What the hell is so funny

on your walkman? I count one swoosh on this train.

Nike hegemony. Sweat shop ladies head downtown.

Beth Israel Medical Center

Clemente's animal people.

Weston's vegetables.

Poetry in motion, 1-800-Divorce,,

Our accountant isn't happy.

The car smells like fill in the blank.

Meika says she loves bad smell.

I will not accept your passive-aggressive tactic

to get me to phone you. You crushed me.

Thank you for the letter telling me you're writing

me a letter that will explain our misshaped

emotions. You crush me.

We live where you live.

All aboard, Amherst-on-Bedford.

Excuse me ladies

and gentlemen. I am homeless. I'm not asking for much,

just asking for some food, careful of the moving platforms.

© crossconnect 1995-2000 |
published in association with the |
university of pennsylvania's kelly writers house |