Saturday, April 14, 2012

MEMORIES: THE SUBWAY IN NEW YORK













I pushed myself in, like a baby being born
in reverse. And the others pushed too, as if
inside there were a prize.
But no, there were only bodies,
some stinking of filth, others of pain
and hate mixed with hope,
others dreaming.

Just when no more bodies fit,
still another squeezed in, and the air
so thin, elongated time slowly elapsing
making us think our destinations
could never be reached. Together
we were all apart, impossibly striving
not to touch or see our eyes glazed
by forced intimacy,
desired anonymity.

I remember those days. I cringe
knowing the ride goes on for many,
in the worm that eats the apple.
Many will arrive. Others, lost
will ride forever.
Me, I was pushed off
at the right stop.

(Claudia at Dverse Poets prompted us to write about Subways today. Since I grew up in the inner city - Bronx, N.Y., and rode the subway daily since the 6th grade, couldn't resist the prompt.
I'm also submitting this to the Poetry Pantry at Poets United. Both sites host a vast range of poets. Fun to read.)

29 comments:

  1. woohoo..great to see you with a subway poem..i knew you lived in NYC and hoped you would jump on the train...smiles...i've been in the paris metro at rush hour and i was wondering how i should ever get out of that train at my stop...but somehow it always works...kinda magical..smiles

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  2. I used to be so bad with claustrophobia at one time I would get off a bus half way through the journey because it was getting too full and I felt too squeezed in by them all. Thankfully it never happened on the underground or, I may well have pulled the emergency stop cord. LOL
    Great, (smelly) writing. I could almost smell the different smells of sweat and things. Yikes. :)

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  3. I know what you mean about getting crushed by forced intimacy..thankfully it was years ago I rode the subway.

    Happy to read your work today ~ Cheers ~

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  4. You obviously don't work for the subway PR department. A grim picture. Think I might just walk in future!

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  5. Cool piece. really liked the tone, as it always felt as if there was something behind the word itself-if that makes any sense. Terrifically crafted. The right stop, what a good ending for this piece too. excellent read. Thanks

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    1. ugh..the forced intimacy is a bit of a scary part here...the hands that find advantage in the helplessness of being crushed together...i am sure it is worse for a woman...sorry to ring out some bad memories ...

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  6. Awesome write! The tension is palpable, and the relief at the ned is real. Nice one!
    http://charleslmashburn.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/ah-the-aroma/

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  7. I love this, Myrna.......when I visit the city, I hate having to stand packed in altogether, especially now when I cant keep my balance. I love that you got pushed off at the right stop - me, too. And thank you so much for your comment on my Gift to the World poem......those of us who always put others' needs first, have to put ourselves on the list:) Thanks for stopping by! I SO appreciate it.

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  8. hello myrna, i just read your post on the loss of your Mother and i want to express my condolences. my Mother is letting go and I feel the same love and care you no doubt gave so freely

    nice to meet you.

    love
    kj

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  9. Especially during rush hour I get disgusted by being forced to be close to so many people.... but then I realize I'm one of them that someone else is being forced near...

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  10. yes, I am still glad there is no need for me to commute via subway anymore!

    Warm Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } (°>

    ><}}(°>

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  11. Those kind of train rides nauseates me. I always pray that I should never suffer such rides. The proximity is quite unbearable.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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  12. Yes, it can be pretty awful! The babies born in reverse describes well. Nonetheless it works! (As does your poem.) K .

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  13. not sure what happened to my comment - it just disappeared, so let me simply say, that I related to your poem and it was beautiful!

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  14. Okay, i think one of my comments got eaten by the URL. But anyway, As I was saying, this is a great insider view of that journey so many have a love/hate relationship with. I really enjoyed numerous images thruout, especially the one of being born backwards! You end it superbly, hauntingly, opening up a dimension beyond the now of the exoerience itself and letting us into the spiritual consequences such journeys might have on the soul.

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  15. "I cringe
    knowing the ride goes on for many,
    in the worm that eats the apple."

    Outstanding!

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  16. like a baby being born in reverse -> wow, what a way to say cramming into the subway

    alive on subway senryu

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  17. Having only ever ridden the tube in London, I know what you are referring to. Making eye contact is generally a no-no, which is a shame as human contact is usually a positive experience.

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  18. "Together
    we were all apart, impossibly striving
    not to touch or see our eyes glazed
    by forced intimacy,
    desired anonymity."

    Powerful Myrna. I used to take the subway in Philadelphia to college and back to my apartment. I remember all of this so well.

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  19. very nice and crazy NYC subway poem {shudders} - better to be pushed off at the right stop than be lost, to ride forever (that was a great touch)

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  20. Myrna,

    I could 'feel the crush and smell the smells.' Very alive with your words....

    Best Wishes,
    Eileen

    Blessings this Sunday Myrna

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  21. How people can impose themselves on us--because they must. Amazing.

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  22. The Subway is an experience. You meet myriads of strange beings, rubbed shoulders every morning but still remain strangers.

    Hank

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  23. How lucky are you to have been pushed off at the right stop. Few can make such claim. This is not only entertaining, but also riddled with imagery and thought-provoking suggestions. Nice work.

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  24. My sweet Myrna,
    I remember many, many years ago...I had to take a standing seat after midnight on the subway train in New York. I couldn't believe it!!! Please know that I would get up and give you my seat along with the flower in my heart (smile).

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  25. What an awesome post! I have never ridden the NY Subway, but I've ridden the SF municipal subway for many years. Actually, I never minded it that much! I got to see so many different people, funny ones, crazy ones, ugly ones, beautiful ones! It was okay with me. Hah!

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  26. This reminds me of my bus rides in my home city and the craziness of the trains in Mumbai - the smells, the pressing of the bodies (some on purpose), the chaos....You captured it so well, Myrna!

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