i am no stranger to threats on the subway, but singing is different.
“get your hand off my fucking neck or i’ll break your jaw,” the man hisses.
her legs curled under her, she retreats into her iPod, gazing off.
zipped to the nose in her fur vest, she hibernates, and no one wakes her.
she loudly phones her friend, who can’t pick her up with five minutes’ notice.
the turnstile won’t take her dollar bills. with each try, she seems more desperate.
he makes ample use of the fact that their seats face each other, and flirts.
she can’t get out of her window seat, and coldly says: “this. is. my. STOP.”
the woman on the aisle refuses to move. “you’ll just have to wait, dear.”
four teen girls travel, same anxieties, laughs, and bulging suitcases.
mom doesn’t stop her kid from applying monkey stickers to the seats.
“some artists would be good investments,” she says. “…the ones we can’t afford.”
the conductor turns back. a small girl wails, “he won’t take my ticket, mom!”
“sing a song!” he says to the conductor. “nah; ‘less you want barry white.”
i can just hear her side of the conversation: many “oh my GAWD!”s.
“i’ll talk smack,” she says. “i’ll fight. but i ain’t gonna for no one’s camera.”
she says, “what?” he says, “nothing!” they both giggle. and the cycle repeats.
the group of college girls discuss socialized health care at great volume.
he offers me the seat beside him, but will not move to let me in.
she pushes out and snarls, “well, don’t make things anyeasier on me.”
the trolley stops twice. both times, when the lights go out, she squeals like a child.
“mom had a breakdown,” she says. “they found her, collapsed.” pause. “it kind of sucked.”
from her mom’s lap, the small girl gazes at someone’s polka-dot handbag.
at 8 on monday morning, i board with brownies. all eyes are on me.
she rocks around in her seat with control, as if finding a flat back.
she’ll perch like a bird on the seat’s edge, scared to touch another person.
the man who boards squints,sniffs, and sizes up the placebefore he can sit.
it’s a pipe dream to be able to read with two hands while standing up.
the 50-year old guy growls, “today’s my mother’s twenty-first birthday!”
there’s no way to tell a stranger that he smells good, and not be creepy.
“shouldn’t have messed with that coke shit,” he grumbles. “all things come to an end.”
“my son drank from a cup at five months,” she says. “these kids are so advanced.”
he makes a sour face, and scoffs audibly at each person who boards.
people read bibles more often than newspapers on their trolley rides.
“i’m non-orthodox,” the jewish guy says. “it’s all bacon and shiksas.”
she tries to appear dignified, even though her feet don’t reach the floor.
the baby has such deep eyes, i’m shocked when he speaks, and sounds babyish.
the boys confer on what insult to text to their friend. gay jokes abound.
she sings to herself,looks embarrassed when someonesees, but starts again.
the accountant stares at a business card, as ifhe’s decoding it.
she watches somethingon her iPod. i can’t helpwatching the window.
this morning we’re crammed in like sardines (except for the oil part, thank god).
she shuffles down the stairs we need to get into - loves the attention.
“oh, portugal! my second wife died over there,” he says cheerfully.
when i sit, she looks disturbed, like i sat in her lap, or on her kid.
the guy pops, locks, andgrins, and his girlfriend watches,fully mortified.
i’m confused by those who push to be at the door blocks before their stop.
the couple stare at each other, making funny faces, ‘til one laughs.
the old woman leans back; her glasses fall from her head into my lap.