In Transit

29 Dec

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In Transit

 

            A woman, this morning on the subway, softly whispered “hey” into my ear, and then, before I could capture the home of the voice, she disappeared, and I turned in every direction to find her, but all I encountered were grimfaced commuters heading off to Tuesday-work, the worst sort, and Chagall wearing plebeian overalls, with the collar up, painting the waiting doors in varied blues and scarlets.  

 

            Somehow days passed yet I was still traveling. The smell of peasant melancholy hung in the air and on my clothes like layover smoke or smirking Northwestern smog. The animals walked by my feet in a miracle’s haste: the dogs looking for discarded scraps; the cats looking for tasty vermin.

 

            I had to transfer to the 113 bus to get home from Jamaica Center. The man seated in front of me on the bus, overcrowded by Sunday night errands, was taking swigs from his paper-bagged Crazy Stallion (which for easy public consumption already resembled an Arizona iced tea can, likely breaking some copyright laws), barking out solipsistic conversation in the dry interims of his trip to some fresh ghost he discovered:

            “Relax, I’m driving the bus, and I’m about to make a right. Get the fuck out of here!”

            Now, I drink a lot, the folks around here are well aware of this, but somehow I’ve never spoken to myself on a bus loaded with impassive pilgrims yearning for inland.

            “My wife! She breaks my balls, Susan, I really feel like that. What am I doing now?! I’m fucking driving!”

            He was balding, in his late fifties or early sixties, carefully dressed in cheap beige, khaki hues, with a gracefully maintained military moustache standing in salute above the memorial cairn of his upper lip.

            “My wife owns everything, except me! Why do I pay my taxes, I ain’t paying my taxes anymore, I’m somebody and I’m Greek and I know this! I’m Greek but nobody else is. I love her, but why do I pay my taxes if the fire department wakes me up when I’m sleeping.”

            He took another sip from his malt liquor can. We were nearing Mott avenue, so I requested my stop, closed the compartments of my bag, and waited to ease further into the migration of the welling night, full of the strange and tired and slightly beaten. The man kept talking as I stood to leave. He enjoyed his conversation partner, and I figured that none of us can ask for anything more.

            A beautiful dark-skinned girl smiled at me and we both left the bus together after I pressed the molting yellow tape for the backdoors to open.

            Behind my shoulder, “I am what I am. I’m a good man, but I’m a lonely boy.” Indeed.

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Jack Tsoy Tumult

Morose Pontifications and Other Poetic Ramblings


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