A varied collection
gathering below the asphalt and concrete,
beneath the commerce and cabs
the stainless halal food carts and steaming manhole covers,
to wait in dimly lit warrens
where the songs of dripping water and mournful saxophones
reverberate within porcelain tunnels
forever failing to tickle our melancholy.
We have mobile phones and folded papers,
briefcases and backpacks
today’s lunch and our belongings
waiting expressionless for the next train.
A tourist leans out over the moat
searching the darkness impatiently;
a drowsy light wobbles, deep inside the tunnel
suspended above the sparks
and screeching steel;
the express at this station never stops
so barely note
the crowded train and blurred faces
that thunders by
the veterans of these roadways and tunnels
who will secretly glimpse
the menacing mote,
the soot and grease and filth,
the third rail
and all that.
It emerges from and returns to
as winds from its passing
summon the trash, dust, and newsprint aloft;
it sails behind the diminishing din
like the tail of a kite.
A familiar breeze blows across the platform
signaling the arrival of our train.
We take our places
as we go about the business of
here and there
with twisted faces, elbows and sweat;
a solitary, Bruegelesque task
until we emerge above.