New York

Traveling Poems

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Photo: Andrej Mrevlje

They are your travelling companion. They are on the same train you take every day. No matter which line, which subway car. They are there, but not always easy to spot. Sometimes a big man or a group of noisy students hides them with their bodies. But once you find them, they never leave you. Or better, you always look for them. You talk to them. They are your secret, your intimate prayer, your lover. They are short, they read as long as a train travels from one station to another. You try to memorize them. But once on the surface, you forget, they disappear. When you get into the subway again, you look for them, almost desperately. Like a face of that beautiful woman, man you saw for a moment and would like to know better. But they change. Whenever you see/read them they tell you something different. They are never the same. Have you changed, or are they different? These days, they are the only ones who talk to you on a heavy and screechy train, in a packed crowd protecting itself through absorption in their electronic gadgets. The poems. On the New York subway. Here’s my current favorite:

What Do You Believe A Poem Should Do?

by Ntozake Shange

quite simply a

poem shd fill you

up with something/

cd make you swoon,

stop in yr tracks,

change yr mind,

or make it up.

a poem shd happen

to you like cold

water or a kiss.

You’re absorbed, and then reality announcement kicks in: “Number 1 local to South Ferry. Next stop 103rd Street. Don’t hold the closing doors.”

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