20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers

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Riding Up to Harlem

Riding up to Harlem in a silver chariot.

Hustling & Bustling during a season of busy “cheer”.

A child laughs, a mother cries and I see the city reflected in a hobo’s eyes.

As I exit the train I hear Jazz musicians serenading commuters running by.

I hear a world of renaissance that has passed me by.

I think of this village called Harlem and feel the spirits of greats pass me by.

Can I add a stroke of paint to this village mural and contribute beauty with ashes?

125th Street Subway Station Mural in Harlem

Subway People








Leaves crackling underfoot in autumn’s crush
remind me of the press and push and rush
of city undergrounds. The seasons change,
and in those subway tunnels a vast range

of people mixes without looking up.
Each one’s cocooned as if in tiny cup
of silent world of cell phone, reverie,
or headlines that command two, maybe three

looks. Look at them, those busy people smashed
together, all communication trashed.
An older grandma in babushka taps
her cane while children giggle. Baseball caps

turned backward on tall boys, tattoos on girls,
a lady prim and proper, blue suit, pearls,
a wrinkled man in  jeans and dirty shirt,
the boy who sees a girl and tries to flirt,

the teen connected to her radio,
the workman in his overalls. Name? Joe.
A mother holds her crying baby tight.
A hoodlum eyes her, keeping her in sight. 

These residents of subway cars don’t ask
a thing, just “Get me there.” It seems a mask
dims faces, keeps expressions underground.
Where are these crowds and crowds of people bound?

To work for minim wage? To tend the sick?
To practice sports, throw, pass, or run, or kick?
Brown leaves from autumn oaks and elms fall down
as lonely people travel town to town.

Subway challenge, anyone?

Melissa Hassard:

How’s this for a challenge? Anyone up for it?  M.

Originally posted on dVerse:

I think there’s no place in a city where you get more intimate with their people than when you ride the Subway.

It’s like a melting pot and the mixture of ingredients is diverse…

You have business men, suit and tie, the little girl on the hand of her mom with ice cream in the corners of her mouth– Over there a cool 16 year old with green hair and leather jacket, nose pierced.

There’s the old man with the wrinkled face and worn down shoes and a guy with sparkling eyes who preaches the Lord in spanish.

And did you see the musician in the corner and the homeless man-? they all breathe, fill their lungs with underground air, enter, exit– doors slide– and somehow, it’s magic–

I’ve been riding the London tube with its wooden steps going down and down and down and the electronic voice that tells you…

View original 144 more words


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