Saturday, September 17, 2011

metro park

fucking pigeons

winged rats

they don’t give a fuck they don’t give a flying fuck they dance in the street pecking at shit bug shit bug guts mice tails and ears they dance in the street daring the cabs in line to run them over waiting til that last second that urban version of chicken

no orthogonal pun intended

before either the cabbie can step on his brakes or swerve or interrupt his otherwise fairly calm and normal vector through the metro park train station looking for his own pigeon

or it this pigeon it flutters up and away free and clear not a scratch not even a drop of sweat on its brow

how can that fat feathered fuck get up and out of there out of the cabbie space that space that rapidly evolves from asphalt black to cabbie yellow that is the cavalry crossing the bend of the river at wounded knee

how can it escape so quickly

there must be some life lesson lurking about

something deep

the clashing of grand universal ideas of cultures lost in some fathomless history only to rise up as some new age post hippie tie dye fad complete with crystals tarot cards and the dried bones of road kill rodents flipped with the full faith and foreplay afforded such sacraments onto the dusty ground

well she turned me into a newt

and there must be some kind of life lesson here but maybe i’m just a pigeon

not really giving one flying fuck either

i’m down with a good game of chicken and don’t you know i’d love to

flip fly float through the air drop a load at will on any windshield

or hell

even better

on some hipster’s chapeau du pork pie

i do oh i do especially want to splatter some smooth silky chunks on one of those gay-ass lavender lids some skinny jean wearing ben davis shirt sporting shaggy sans scoobee doo glancing up just as i dive bomb down all kamikaze screeching claws all stretched forward like i’m some sort of renegade redtail hawk

pulling up just as he looks up

bomb doors open bombs away load glances lavender lid brim pork pie purple done got spotty

i loop-de-loop to the top of a telephone pole


harry hipster hands wiping at his face lips moving murmuring something foreign and vain betty faux beatnik his soon to be ex-girlfriend

she laughs

but i’m just a schmuck on a bench at the metro park train station somewhere in new jersey somewhere between newark and philadelphia only minutes before i had been sailing along sitting comfortably in my first class seat on the amtrak acela

the conductor dude seeped simmered and boiled in his deep jamaican accent he says

ticket please

i hand him the ticket the one that the guy in newark sitting behind the bullet proof glass that transparent wall that keeps me from him and him from me the guy in this uniform complete with plastic identification badge hanging around his neck on a red plastic lanyard that looked

perhaps because i had just spent five very brownie stoned hours on an airplane from san francisco to newark

strangely like a twizzler

tickets that this amtrak amboy had given me had slid through that little scooped out plexiglass hole

that i had given to my responsible rastafarian requestor his dreds hanging low swinging low beneath his conductor’s cap who said all sing song hey brother man maybe you got other tickets these no good these for different train

and i shrug and he shrugs

and at the next stop the metro park train station stop a sweet little suburban stye with lovely shops and green leafed trees and jersey shore refugees japped out moneypennies lifting their lifted mugs up from behind the wheels of black mercedes and lexi lined up to pick up the bread winner to provide carriage home for lord and master for he who brings home the bacon

and at the next stop the metro park train station stop i exit stage left grumbling and cursing and embarrassed

to find a station agent adorned with accoutrement similar to his conducting cousin his amtrak associate who is also behind a glass wall that keeps him and his world just beyond the grudging grab of my jealous reach

who says

in his south philly finest tongue twisted up with ancestral gullah

he say

he shouldna done that why he do that he shouldna done that

and i shrug and he shrugs hands me another ticket tells me informs me the next train comes along at eight thirty four i look up at the

clock that cannot be wrong the cocksure chronograph passed down from god herself

and see that it’s only seven oh two

and i stumble around the mini terminal all antiseptic with its red brick tile and post-eighties ergonomically enhanced anti-recline plastic benches i am baffled and bounced between buying gas station coffee and a sara lee cellophane wrapped blueberry muffin from the faux seven eleven only three dollars fifty three cents or a bag of roasted nuts gathered in peaceful coexistence with the amazonian rainforest and all its godly creatures and an aseptic container of caribbean coconut water from the gourmet yes gourmet said so in big orange letters coffee place that had only just now completed the end of day scrub down of its big ass brass brought over from italy on a clipper ship espresso maker and was no longer serving coffee

i finally bite the hook that is baited and set in liberal yuppie school that preaches from pulpits on high that nothing that cost less than five dollars can possibly be good for me i need colon cleansing i need my guilt assuaged i desperately require reminding that i am of the uber hip cool

i mean just naturally so

and i fork over the ten and receive a few coins of change and then wiggle then wander out of the terminal out of the station into a little plaza between track and parking lot a lovely little clearing with a ribbon of road looping through

kiss and ride and taxi cabs and black lincoln town cars and black lincoln navigators

and a couple of benches beneath the couple of trees standing watch hessian mercenaries imported by landscape architects working for

the man

the city fathers whose dual purpose is to increase property values and warn the riffraff to keep away

unless of course they’ve come to town to clean in and around the neat little brick houses and their environs

and i claim my bench as dusk dabs its brush across the sky reds and oranges backdrop for black cotton balls bobbing on their threads tied tethered to old man moon

a sky strapped gulliver

he wants to leave her but he just can’t pull himself away

and i claim my bench beneath the tree stretch my arms wide settle back into the wooden slats

they give a little just a little

open myself up to all that metro park has to offer i let her grab me by the hair and assume a dictatorial position over me she has her way with me

as the pigeons they puff and peck the pebbles pushing them across the pockmarked pavement




and the clock it ticks it tocks i need the big hand to click off ninety some jumps around and around i got time i got nothing but time such a modern world in which we live such an era one can wake up on monday morning in san francisco go grab a cuppa

and a few hours later and our hero he is in some town in new jersey trying to make his way to philadelphia

just like old ben franklin i wonder if before he decided upon immortality atop that building in the city of brotherly love if perhaps he too had sat upon a bench in metro park

and a cab driver wearing a turban baggy polyester pants and sensible shoes walks up and down the sidewalk in front of me he walks down to the corner of one end of the sidewalk he turns around he walks up to the corner on the other end of the sidewalk maybe a total of thirty forty yards

i ask him if he’s counting laps if he perhaps needs a trusty sidekick to click them off as he walks back and forth

to and fro

and he smiles he says from beneath a full beard he says no he says no thanks he says he’s just stretching his legs he’s in a cab all day he’s just keeping it real he asks me if he can drive me some place

me i smile i say from cheeks smooth but for a smattering of whiskers pretending to be a five o’clock shadow i say no i say no thanks i say i’m just waiting for my train i’m enjoying the evening i’m not in any hurry

and so we leave it at that and on the next couple of laps he glances over and smiles and nods and smiles but after a few more passes he doesn’t notice me any more and i don’t really notice him any more and we’re simply background for one another

a meditative meme

and i quietly slide a joint from my pocket and flip open the lighter the engraved zippo given to me on my birthday by man pete

been walking god’s green earth for fifty plus years and i know what from what

and the zippo flame it ignores the slight breeze while i inhale the sugary smoke alongside new jersey fresh air i release it moments later my lips tickling the exhalation massaging the vapors to take shape to take form

a ring of course

and a bunny and a chipmunk

and a bag of pretzels

and every once in a while a group of people bursts from the terminal a stream really of those coming from points north or south cell phones to ears briefcases in hand or backpack on one shoulder or another they dissipate into the parking lot the town cars the cabs the awaiting mercedes or lexus

a bustling of activity and languages varied and accented that peaks then ebbs into the relative silence that slowly wipes across the palette that is my world tonight

and this kid this young adult a teenager with baggy jeans exposing boxer shorts a tee shirt adorned with some faded logo he appears in one of the bustles though i don’t really think he came from the terminal but from some other point of ingress i notice him wandering around talking briefly to one or another random adult

his hands in his pockets his shoulders scrunched up around his neck as if he is warding off a chill that can’t that couldn’t actually be

and as this pod of commuters dissolves into stillness he is left standing there in the middle of the plaza looking around slowly looking around

he chats up a young black woman maybe she’s a teen maybe older i can’t tell she talks to him for a minute or two then slowly shakes her head and disappears into the parking deck

and then he spots me sitting on my bench my ignored joint extinguished from lack of attention and dangling from my fingers he strolls my way and i get this sinking feeling

i am to be driven from observer to participant from spectator to player

and he sits on the opposite end of my bench the bench i had only just claimed as my own he leans forward elbows on thighs head in hands and i glance over and he glances my way

and he asks me if i have a cigarette and i say no and he says thanks anyway and i ask him how it’s going tonight and he says it’s going ok and i ask him where he’s headed and he says he doesn’t know he asks me hey how far is trenton he needs to get to trenton he has a place to stay in trenton

and i say i don’t really know can’t be that far probably too far to walk though

he says he’s in some program something called youth services they have a place for him to stay if only he gets to trenton and we talk for a while about school about how hard it is about work how hard it is to find a job for the summer we talk about the phillies and how good they are about the mets and what a joke they are

he tells me he needs to call his mom he tells me he hasn’t eaten today

my radar goes up my spidey senses tingle i don’t want to be the traveling rube i want to be street smart and cool i want to be hip and hep and cold and calculating i live in the city i’ve heard every story i’ve heard the lines before i’ve walked through the haight in san francisco where all the wannabe punks come in from outer suburbia to sit on the sidewalk and bum bills and coins

i don’t want to be the pigeon from out of state


yeah there’s a but

it’s not like some overwhelming wave of sympathy overcame me it’s not like some elitist guilt poked me in the liver it’s not not like jesus sat on my shoulder and whispered in my ear

more like just one of those things that i’m just supposed to do i walk him back into the terminal i offer to buy him some amazonian nuts but he asks if he can instead opt for a muffin and soda

like it was some mcdonalds happy meal hiding a cute little toy promoting some recent movie or saturday morning cartoon

and i buy him a ticket to trenton and give him some spending money

and i watch him smile i hear him say thanks i watch him bound up the steps to the tracks two steps at a time the energy of youth carrying him up to catch the train as it pulls into metro park

and then he is gone passing from sight dissolving into the crowd that exits the train

that exits my metro park world and all that


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