Whining shrills and drum-beat thuds

shatter the evening’s black-glass calm.

Like Ramadi air raids or sectarian blasts

the air pulsates in shock therapy;

cloudless skies give way to varicolored orbs

discharging their smoky excesses

like sulphuric fumes from the nostrils of Hell.

Those who congregate on the esplanade

watch the spectacle then shuffle home in droves.

And on a Red Line rail car at Charles/MGH,

a dreadlocked guitarist yells at the train man

to stop letting so many folks in.


Subway: Copley Square


Here is another urban (or city) poem that I didn’t add to the Urban portraits series I did  a some posts back. If the Copley Station described here looks inauthentic that’s because it’s done for a reason.

Subway: Copley Square 

The Green Line whistles

to a momentary pause

beneath Copley Square.

As the doors hiss open,

one can feel the underground

heat stick like velcro to

one’s clothes; smell —

the warm sweat hanging in the

air like a noose, the violent meeting of

hissing wheels on archaic tracks

and somewhere close, the delightful

stench of morning coffee and baking pretzels;

hear — a blind saxophonist blasting his breath away,

rats scurrying on the tracks, dim light bulbs,

busy shoes and the railcar doors hissing shut behind

me before chugging off — to where I can not tell.

But he who daringly jumps the turnstiles before me,

his aim, if not his end, can be assumed.

In tow, the policemen’s whistles blow.

One can only observe them leap over a law

so stringently enforced.

The turnstile-jumper sprints, he leads the chase,

barreling toward the approaching pit…

He halts, leaning over the yellow safety line

as the next train clocks frantically in,

and is cuffed and hauled away.

Thus concludes another hour in the subway,

this sub-city street wonderland.

(Where things are more exciting

below ground than above.)