January 31, 2019

Train Station

Saxophone man sitting with his dirty blues jacket back to the pock marked concrete wall playing a tune/ his hat begging for loose jingely jingle change from the pockets of the zombie passersbys who are passing by stone faced and stone brained and disembodied from their 9 to 5’s in office buildings that are gray and marble and steel and cold as a winter night...shuffling papers, filing, typing, answering phones, endless meetings about meetings, DEADLINES! DEADLINES!...the office full of tap tap tap tap tap tapping on keyboards--their smarter siblings are piano keyboards or synthesizer keyboards who are sleeping now in the dark jazz clubs a few streets over downtown that don’t open till later...maybe get together for some magaritas after work...unloading and loading, mostly loading this time of day...city workers going back to stations to get in their cars and drive to cushy suburban tract houses to cook dinners, watch tv’s, stop at the local bar on the way home or pick up a bucket of chicken with sides of mashed potatoes and coleslaw...newspaper stand with the old guy selling all of the local newspapers with print so fresh it rubs off on your fingers...headlines blaring the latest crisis of the week and all of the magazines in proper military like formation yes sir, yes sir,  and ones partially hidden to protect the innocent and that are sold to the guilty...orange iron horse ready to trot on track 5 to Van Buren, Hegewisch all all points further and beyond...rats the size of cats staking out their territory under the silver tracks that gleam in the fading strains of silver sunlight and sing old railroad songs...the well dressed programmed robots follow instructions and walk around the aching platforms clutching brown leather briefcases and purses like they were some kind of IV to keep them alive...practically everybody on their phones receiving instructions and talking to somebodies and nobodies, or just looking at them with dead eyes like sharks...people filing on the trains and sitting in hard plastic seats and standing holding on to germ infested straps...flower shops with bright rainbows of flowers that look out of place and little old restaurants with swinging doors and checkerboard floors and spinning stools and small tables with cheap wooden chairs and cups of coffee and danishes left over from the morning--forgotten scarfs sagging over chairs or laying on the floor waiting to be reclaimed or to find new owners...people sit there in silent solemnity with blank faces like some kind of Hopper painting--all together but miles apart...coats pulled up to their chins as they stare at their chipped cups full of columbian...blue sky getting a moody blue and grayer and the lights around the tracks coming on casting a glow of indifference...I sit on an old bench by the platform just passing time and watching the parade...clowns, floats, marching bands...everybody plays a part...offices that sell tickets and give directions to the lost and needy, automatic ticket machines that get jumped by youths and by certain writers...graffiti covered spaghetti maps...and in the morning, they’ll all be back with noses to the tombstone, shuffling up the narrow cold-hearted steps that take them into the sprawling downtown to do it all over again...grim faced and in a stunning variety of black and gray coats...grabbing a latte or a frappe or an espresso from the coffee shop to keep them awake in their sleepwalk of a life.