Hello, hello! Greetings and salutations! After finally recovering from #100Days100Poems, we return today with a poem using one of my favorite forms. Look forward to weekly (or so) updates: new poems, prose pieces, culture commentary and the like. Feel free to share this post, and let me know what you think!
Is the Commute a Place for the Comm or the Mute?
And the first time we spoke was on a crowded
subway car and it was no accident
that I managed to untwist my tongue
long enough for an awkward hello to rise
from the timid lockbox that keeps me separate
from normal human interactions, where I am out of sync.
on most occasions where the M.O. is to sink
into myself, better hanging on to straps of crowded
thoughts, I instead jostle human to human to unseparate
my voice from your ears, your song from mine. No accident,
then, that in a few moments of foolish bravery or brave foolery I rise
to move from here to you, green light to expressive tongue
And tied it is, this cottoned, hesitant tongue,
where a life vest is not enough to stop me sinking
into my sea of doubt, bay of disbelief–and still I rise
from this too-tight seat on an underground train, crowded
with commuters & dancers & panhandlers. I have accidentally
convinced myself that words will not keep us separate.
and this end of the car, the score of bodies separating
us & our initial contact, our first wordsembracekiss, lips & tongue
dancing as if colliding in some mass transit accident
and I wade through the swamp of passengers. My heart sinks
as at first I struggle to make it through the crowd
of head-phoned, book-nosed, ear-budded, phone-focused mass. Hope rises.
And as I clamber through a bipedal jungle, as eyes rise
from my solitude to your ‘well, come over here’ glance, I begin to separate
this lumpy undesirable frame from the train crowd,
thought bubbles morph into speech bubbles as ‘hello’ moves from brain to tongue
and my only thought is how to sink
into the seat beside you, willing a welcome happy accident
or derailment– re-setting my course to you through accident
or crash through crowd and car, too. Rise
bold and brave in your vision–how I want to sink
into you, merge, mingle, marry, so as not to be separate
whether connected by hand or heart tongue
finding each other on a local, rush hour train, delayed and crowded
And as my tongue rises, clicks a tsk to roof of closed mouth, I sink into my seat.
It is no accident that this crowded commute insists on keeping us separate.
© David Siller – 2017