SUBWAY COMPOSER

“This is the sound of connecting tears,” he says,
pointing to 7 squiggly lines colliding
on the musical score
he’s got propped up on his knees.

 “This, this represents the silence after they’ve come for your words.” 

“This is the sucking in of your belly the day your pants refuse to fit.”

 “And this is the sound is the sound a new city makes before your map has any real meaning.”

Why did I leave the house today?
Potting soil and stamps.
Not the sexiest of Saturdays I’ll admit,
but I thought it would be a quick trip. 

When I got to the subway
the cars were packed,
solid blocks of humanity,
chests moving,
still breathing,
but everything else frozen.
Limbs contorted in bizarre yoga poses
trying to hold on.

I ran up and down the platform
the only place free was one empty car.

Fuck.

You never choose the empty car.
It’s a sign, someone’s either taken a shit in the corner
Or at the very least the AC’s out.

But I only have two stops.

I didn’t see him at first,
Stretched out on the bench
The man’s out of season coat sweeps the floor and a
A trail of colored pencils balance on his chest. 
He’s writing words, blocks of color on the staves, hand drawn
Sort of notes that aren’t notes.
It looks more like he’s writing out an EKG
or a lie detector test.

He’s singing.
That’s generous.
He’s…
Sounding.

“Sssssya bababapa seeeeeeya ranranaka”
hiccup, hicccccuuuup, tamalooom”
Ziiiiiiiiiiikirrrrrrrururururru.

In the tunnel between Essex and Delancey Street
he train stops.
What are you writing about? I ask.

“That’s a strange thing to ask music.”

I never could read music.
I used to play piano by ear, but I could
Never connect the notes to the sound.
I listen mostly.

The subway’s
A space for switching spaces
A space for switching thoughts
for black eyes and symphonies
and squeaking of throats screamed raw.

“A containership
whose daily inhabitants
scratch memories into the glass panes
I wuz here.”

“I’m the caretaker of SOUND,
opening long forgotten rooms
pulling white sheets off the furniture and
sending notes into the dust filled sunlight.
Listen more and you’ll notice.
My sounds are not trapped by a melody.”