The Process

Tag: train

That Song that Happened at Me with the Girl and the Guitar and the Train

First thing on the train I covered my ears and
filled them with other sounds to make like I
had a choice in the environment but still I was hostage
to mouths and still the people and their jackets and wrinkles
and snot and I became the oozing organ called
subway but even still I became inward and cocooned and
missed my stop or the train did it is unclear I

got out at the next one and floated through the up
down mumbling concrete under the grey looking for the
passage to sore eyes or the day and I spotted a
crowd around a girl with a blue guitar the main things
were the blue guitar the guitar case of ones and the
afro and also the foot stomping attached to an
enthusiastic leg but I figured I would keep on through
and continue with my Smashing Pumpkins

but my hand took a phone off an ear and her sound
was loud so I took the other one off too and my feet
stopped walking and I was the crowd and she was
singing some Disclosure and her mouth was shaped
like she was happy we were happy and shaped like
she was happy by the sounds she made her mouth
was not complacent just glad and when the train came
for the others they left but

I stayed just me and a man and we watched until
she was done and even though I knew I loved
I did not talk because I hadn’t put more than seventy-five
cents in because I don’t keep cash and I felt
rude so I left the station with tears coming
down my face and did not know their purpose but

later in the day I tried to walk back and find her
but my path went the wrong way and I did not
end at the station and I started to fear what if
that was the only song she knew and it was better not
to go back and instead let her be the train girl
with the blue guitar that won’t let go of me never
who locked in my love and all so I went home
with just my numb fingers and a question like
maybe she had loved me back.

Afghani Train Station Yoda Guy

Shaina Loew

The last person I met in Chicago was a man waiting to get on the same train I was.  I just wanted to sit down in the terminal and eat my Pringles two or three at a time in peace, but after a little while, the man next to me started talking at me.  You have to understand something: first of all, I don’t really want to talk to strangers when I’m sober outside of a setting that implies social interaction.  And then if I’m trying to do some real snacking, the introversion becomes a little more serious.  You know.

The thing is, though, that the man really looked more like a skeleton with clothes on than a person.  Well, he had skin.  But his goddamn eyes were sunken half an inch into his skull, and he was skinny as hell.  When he started talking, he was barely audible.  Well, he was barely audible at the end of his soliloquy/our conversation as well as throughout.  What I mean to say is I could not understand the poor bastard.

 He spoke of being old, spoke of traveling from Chicago to Canada, spoke of his family from Afghanistan, of his stronger days, and of how he never married because his family told him he wasn’t right in the head. 

Between his hand gestures and the words I could hear, I was typically able to deduce two possible stories from each he attempted to tell.  Either he had told me a joke, or he had told me that his entire family was dead.  “I agree,” I answered.  That seemed to go over well.  Then, he either told me that his family sold his mother for money or that he just hadn’t seen her in a very long time.  “That’s crazy,” I replied.  Then, he very specifically told me that in order to live very long (like him?), I must drink very little alcohol and a lot of water.  I tried to smile.

“You are definitely right,” I said.  I don’t think I will follow his advice, because I don’t think I want to live as long as he has.  I don’t want to talk at young people eating Pringles.  They won’t get my jokes if they can’t understand me, and I plan to be a very sarcastic, bitter old woman.  In any case, I go back and forth between being a staunch binge-drinker and fantasizing about joining AA, anyway.  They are both only fun in theory, absolute value-wise.

Even though I was pretty sure the man was on my train, I didn’t think to tell him that they had pre-boarded all the elderly.  Finally, when they called general boarding, I got up.  “It’s our train?”  He asked (I think).

“Yeah—the train to New York.  We have to get on now,” I told him.  I might have helped him over with his bags, but I didn’t.  I guess I told myself that he didn’t have many bags, that he was fine on his own, since he’d been traveling that way until now.  Instead, I turned around to become one of the many salmon in the upstream battle known as boarding the train.  If you drink plenty of water, you can do this until the day you stop waking up.

Train Experiences (#ILOVETRAIN)

Stories from my times on the subway.  Question: are the people objects of my existence, or am I an object of theirs?

Stories from my times on the subway. Question: are the people objects of my existence, or am I an object of theirs?