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An Open Letter To The Subway

I’ve been riding you for some time now.

Your windows are like movie stills.

In the first scene, a homeless man sleeps off a drunk oblivion. He’s still, but you speed him away as I watch from the platform. What did Einstein say? The speed of light is finite, but we’re in two different spaces. I can’t pretend to totally understand that. Is that like the Doppler? If so, that’s cool. We’re hearing and seeing two completely different things at the same exact time.

In a second scene, a tired woman fresh off her second job is napping. I wonder what she’ll fix her kids for dinner when she gets home, her aching bones shuffling around the kitchen; a strong spirit and a weary body ready for bed only to get up again in six hours and do it all over again.

You are beautiful and grotesque. Everyone has entered you. You accept all for a few dollars and are far more entertaining than any night club.

I’ve run after you and told you to “fuck off” in the same breath. But you were warm when I needed you. You were creepy too. Inside your long tubes, I’ve clutched my purse closer. I’ve also given out my phone number. I’ve hugged friends who I hadn’t seen in years. I’ve walked through losing scratch tickets, sat in unfamiliar liquids, high-fived your conductors and gotten stuck in your gates to no avail. Sometimes I wish you wouldn’t welcome that guy with the backpack who does the funky chicken and starts laughing hysterically or the dude with the tattooed face that looks like he wants to gut me like a fish, but fortunately you have enough location spots so I can move around freely (unless it’s rush hour in which case I get to smell what the person next to me had for lunch).

I am drunk on your cinematics. I am invigorated by your underground haunts.

Everyone is reduced to humanity when they ride you. We all moan at the first announcement of “please expect moderate delays” and rise when you start moving again. Please, I wish you no more technical difficulties. Seriously, man.

A couple is making out like no one is watching in yet another scene. They are seated to the right of a punk kid with creeper shoes and plastic, purple hair extensions. The sun is dim down here. It is always night. I like the night. Night feels like it will never end.

A bunch of international students are giggling to themselves and another couple are discussing world politics. A woman’s eight-week old puppy is struggling to get at me. She apologizes for her puppy. I tell her to NEVER, EVER apologize for a puppy. She laughs.

So many people are riding you these days. I hope the government throws you some cheddar so you can get a little make-over. Maybe a shower and a pedicure?

Too much pressure on your back. We’re a lot a like. Been through a lot. Tough times, but we move forward somehow. We take our time, but we always resume.

Two skater kids jump off and that slam and spin sound of cement-hit is pure. What a feeling. On summer days, I’ll sweat on you, but I’m promised a breeze upstairs and upstairs is ever-changing.

You are my favorite improvisational, jazz piece. Syncopated off-beats. I have no idea what you’ll play next and I like that.

Change tracks if you like. I’m in your trance. Til’ next time–stay unpredictable. There’s too much monotony in the world anyway.

About Kristen Damasida

Writer and Photographer for Virago Magazine, Kristen grew up listening to vinyl and highlighting the dictionary. Her work has appeared in IrockJazz.com, The East Harlem Journal, Boston's Culturehive, the Ithacan and other publications. Her love of music cannot be eclipsed by her love of words. She's been coined the "Akira Kurosawa of Blogs" by such people as herself. An aspiring musician, she has a serious penchant for peach-flavored anything, multi-tasking, slow-paced thrillers and dreams of going back to South America, laying on the beach, and drinking from a coconut.

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