I am, like millions of others, on my way somewhere else.
But we must pass through here. Past the gates, the turns. Scan the card, be reported, presence known.
No ticket taker meets my eyes.
No human element.
Only we, the sardines.
Only we, the commodity to be moved.
Only we, blinders on.
The less we know, they happier they are.
A city tramples above. Vibrations shuffling cells in my veins.
A city rumbles down here.
We fly past dark corners.
We grip our bags tighter.
Fear the wrong people.
The most successful muggers, already fat.
Our wallets laid bare for them.
A promise of first born.
Indebted before consummation.
Born into the mob. Into the shuffle.
Away from reality.
The air filtered down, through dripping air conditioners.
From the pale blue field above.
That breeze was a truck on Sixth.
That wildlife a filthy pigeon,
crawling with parasites.
This city, a beacon for more.
A system of filth and decay.
Build another high rise.
Gentrify a block over.
Raise the prices. Raise the stink.
More bags on the sidewalk.
More puddles to move around.
More cars to dodge.
More eyes to avoid meeting.
More for the dark places.
Author’s note: These snippets are unedited free-writing exercises that I use as a way to shift my brain into a creative state. I use Lynda Barry’s What It Is YouTube timed exercises (usually 9 minutes worth of writing) for these. They are handwritten in a composition notebook, and then typed up here. As I transcribe them, I do tiny grammar and spelling checks, but the overall “clarity” (if you can call it that) of the exercise is left as-is.