The FAB&PP Poem of the Month for January 1998

Two Travelling Poems


sitting on the subway
at 5:30 am contemplating
and nothingness

in the space
behind your heavy eyelids
where you sit

what is it

it's not the banal;
the blank poster spaces
the dusty whitewash of
the unlit tunnel wall
it's not a dreamless sleep
or a sleepless dream it's
not a ride to nowhere

no destination no beginning
no start no waiting no

so what is it; perhaps it's
that being is nothingness
and nothingness is blankness
and what is blankness but
a slate a screen a
projection of what is
what am and what was but
not what will be

the sense of eyeball uneasiness
recedes as the sense of
otherness descends
the nothingness part is
better than the being part
and the being part is
moved by nothingness

waiting at 7:00 am for take-off
writing this down listening
to the earnest conversation
on the seat telephone behind me
the pink sky about to greet
me the me part
moved by being


falsetto arpeggios from the
fat man behind me
on the bus

a nervous lady on the
subway waving at
the cigaret smoke
curling into the car
from the
platform floor outside
(anxious for the train to
move, she rises and
snuffs the butt, checks
it twice, re-
gains her seat and breathes
again only when the
bell and gongs sound
and the doors slide shut)

Green Street next

the sky valet with his foot up on
the seat defiant on his
morning ride to work
for others' comfort
his own securely fastened
on the last free
space he'll see today

suits and bible tracts

    [the suits with baggage tickets
    the dark ladies with bible tracts]

floors swept but still
stained and smudged
and scuffed
he scribbles with his head
down, no eye contact,
no cold germs passed, no
wonder in his
observations, passing the
early day within himself
like the head phones
and the coffee-clutchers
like all the women
everywhere riding with him

the talker opposite
with one finger missing from
the hand holding his juice
bottle the other fist armed
with a donut shop cup
whose mutters seem to invite
conversation but whose
strangeness reinforces
the silence from his
fellow travelers (he leans
forward; is he dangerous?)
or does he just know the guy
who finally grunts back

the bored
sky valet (i was
at a party last night, but
now look at me)

is it all the morning

and a Landing Poem

we fly to meet our
shadow (the white
moon in the morning
sky) the sun beside us
opposite paints
the landing gear

the shadow
rushing toward us
like a raptor closing on
its prey

tires clutch the tarmac
the waning moon unperturbed
our engines deafening the
silent line of
waiting planes which
sit patient still mated to the
earth their shadows
to be free

December 1997

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