Posted tagged ‘NYC Subway poem’

Somewhere Under the Sidewalk (Subway NYC) – Flash Friday 55

November 30, 2012


Somewhere Under the Sidewalk (Subway NYC)

He was silvered–not in the usual sense–hair only bit not greyed –

Oh–and two beige bands (leg) between shimmer pants, chrome socks –

and the eyes, focusing from foil-creased sockets, whites yellowed–irritated
train’s twist toppled

his pole-wedged bike, though,
as oilcan funnel hat
unhandlebarred—we other riders ahhed, understanding, tin.


Here’s a flash 55 for the G-Man – true story of Tin Man sighted on train yesterday.  It took a while to figure out who he was, then felt rude to take pic in confined train car, but after holding the door for him and his bike, and well, falling behind him, I felt a little more justified in trying to get a shot.

Have a nice weekend.  And if you get a chance, check out my books! Poetry, GOING ON SOMEWHERE, (by Karin Gustafson, illustrated by Diana Barco). 1 Mississippi -counting book for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms, orNose Dive. Nose Dive is available on Kindle for just 99 cents! Nose Dive really is very funny and light hearted, and 1 Mississippi is a lot of fun for little teeny kids. 

Fear and Loathing on the Number 4

September 30, 2012

Boy on Number 4 Train

“The people here
are f—ing animals,” says hard-
creased mom to youngish son
as they slip between
double rubber, closing doors.

The boy, buzz-cut (mom holding Yankees cap), edges
uneasily through the crush
towards center pole–

Mom hooks him
before he can latch on–“These people push you,”
she snarls,
“I’ll push ‘em back.”

I try to angle smile that only boy
will see (so that the mom
won’t slug me), but boy
turns face to door where, nothing
to hold, he lists with the tight
till mom’s boa arm heavily

Then, even as train
smooths, even as she
releases, he bangs
his head against the dark glass—-

The bangs are soft below the train’s
now again–but
again–eyes lowered–

Mom’s harsh lines
limp; she spans one hand
to his forehead as if
to take the hits herself–
now again–

In the jumble of next,
seat empties – I point it out–
boy sits; she smiles at me,
sort of.

Then each of us consciously
looks neither at the other or
the boy,
peering instead
through the translucence of
train fug–the rumple of so many–


I am posting the above – a re-write- very belatedly for dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics prompt about people watching hosted by the very good people-watcher Brian Miller.  

“Nursing Mother Commutes” (Oddly based on Kandinsky).

January 29, 2012


Yesterday, I had the fun and honor of hosting dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt, challenging people to write about undercurrents–the layers of a moment or experience.   I was not very pleased by my own poem, which I had cut hugely before posting.  I tend to think that almost all poems are a bit too long; but I worried all day that I had eviscerated it.  (Ugh.)

But the great thing about blogging is that you learn to just move on to the next thing.  So, here’s a new poem for MagPie Tales, hosted by Tess Kincaid.  The poem is based upon the Kandinsky overhead (Red Spot II).

Nursing Mother’s Trip Home

She runs, takes stairs aslant by twos,
tethered purse banging at purposeful
hip, diagonals by the commuter who
doesn’t have a nursing baby at home, weaves
around this woman with the slow high heels, that backpack
that blocks her dash, this stack
of newspapers–anything that would collapse
the pace pounding her brain; pushes
onto her next train, squeezing her newly reduced
body between limbs, suppressing inner
relief sob, pulling slash
of coat from pinch of train doors; leans for the
long part of the ride–the passage beneath
the river–against
the conductor’s silver
booth, trying now
to control her chest–the harsh
breath of hurry, the milk whose heated
seep already pushes
her nipples,
stopping only in her 1-2-3
to pray for no stoppage, no moment of
slowdown between shores when she will feel crushed
by crinkle and murk, the image of tons
of river overhead–even as she knows –she does
not need to tell herself, she knows it
so absolutely–that nothing, not even a burst
of flood through train’s fluorescence—-will keep
her from getting home.

It is only the delay that crazes
her–the time it takes from
this grey metal door to
her infant at her breast–for
she knows, yes,
in every mote of
her being she knows,
that it is only
a matter of time.



(P.S. I am also linking this to Imperfect Prose.  Have a great week. K.)