She seemed to have
a nice smile.
I couldn’t see her mouth
but her eyes crinkled
in a way that made me
want to listen to her laugh.
He was diligently talking business
while watching TV on his Ipad
and looking annoyed at anyone who ventured near him
in the crowded belly of the train.
From somewhere hidden
came an urge to break his nose.
Pulling off a flamboyant winter style
only those of African descent seem able to,
he was comfortable
with the closeness of the crowd, friendly even.
I didn’t often see that.
It was a lengthy trip
and I had a lot of time to think,
concealed behind my earphones
and contemplatively silent beneath my hood.
Somehow the train seemed alive
and I tried to embrace it.
Using the rollicking motion,
the scenes outside
and my own fluctuating mood
I did my best to create the most beautiful sequence of words.
I never even came close to
To keep him occupied,
she patiently blew bubbles
while he sat giggling in his pram.
It was a moment to grin at.
Newspapers, daters, haters, screens, screams, teens, make-up, shaken up, dust ups, food, dudes, moods, seats, heat, meat, feet, love, beauty, repulsion, religion, scepticism, politicians, aggression, recession, depression, skin, sin, kin, violence, patience, impatience, intelligence, music, silence, deaf, death, dumbness, blindness, numbness, a caress, sunglasses, Pokémon masters, disasters, headphones, IPhones, IPads, dads, mums, sons, daughters, naughty kids, funny kids, cute kids, lunchbox lids, sad, mad, lads, shoes, losers, winners, grinners, colours, shades, blades, debts paid, fights, lights, tights, bodies, money, honeys, necklaces, familiar faces, strange faces, wasters, junkies, drugs, hugs, kisses, hisses, whispers, swisspers, fibbers, breasts, tests, jests, failure, success, business, less, more, scores, sores, laws, bores, cords, elephant pictures, erotic fiction, varied diction, imagination, the heart of a nation, conversation, action, inaction, races, braces, racists, tastes, smells, sounds, feelings, dealings, healing, steel, heels, banana peels, pairs, stares, stairs, hairs, solitary cares, dirt, shirts, emotional hurts, nerds, ‘birds’, g force, g string, of course, sauce, Red Bull, bullshit, dresses, messes, lessons, brains, names, shame, more of the same, men, women, humans, dicks.
There’s nothing you can’t find on a train.
A train at night is the worst thing.
You can’t even look out the window
without meeting a stranger’s reflected eye.
You feel like such a disappointment
when you sit down
next to someone who would rather take the trip alone.
Her tweaked mouth told me she’d suffer
my company next to her,
but that was it.
looking vaguely out windows
with a murmured conversation here and there
in your periphery,
one can really take the time to consider things.
The faces rushing past seem to mirror
the entire social landscape;
people hold hopeful stares in their curiosity
but are not interested enough
to push up
on what is crushing them down.
Essentially a box
packed full of humanity,
it manages to turn people
into something less.
Everyone would prefer to be strangers.
Not enough people look through a window
that isn’t framed by an IPhone case.
Maybe for the animals it’s safer that way;
less inclination to destroy the world
if they aren’t seeing it.
Travelling is simple
until the conductor sounds like a radio wave
and no one wakes you up after termination
People are interesting
even when they’re not.
I wish I could see inside them
and understand everything.
A voice so delicate,
it made the train seem like a monster
running us away to grind fragile bones
somewhere dark. Somewhere sounds fall dead
and the only way out is the one you can’t see.
You can just hear that voice
from that sweet face
but it’s all so delicate.
At the same time you hear your salvation in it,
you feel more lost than ever.
All in all I think kids are becoming smarter
and dumber too.
It’s so jarring to hear advanced vocabularies
discussing such base topics.
Kids catching the train to school,
hordes of them learning
before they get educated.
Their parents private money
does nothing for them sitting on the floor
at the feet of tradies, the elderly, businessmen, older students, drug addicts, and single mothers.
They say don’t touch unaccompanied baggage.
Don’t give it back,
don’t take it away.
Alert the staff at the next station
when it’s too late either way.
I type on my phone,
flick through six different tabs,
addicted like all the rest
but always admiring the singular clear focus
of the train.
If I could have that for one day
every problem that inspires distress,
every distraction or complication,
everything you can’t get out of your head,
bubbles to the surface of your mind,
punctuated by the stops
and new faces.
Traces of all the bad scents
find their way through the whole carriage
and without noise, all accuse each other
the same way people scowl inside
during conversation with intolerable
acquaintances they somehow got stuck
taking the ride with.
It was early,
but getting on to spring,
the sun was up.
I felt my eyes glisten
as I witnessed the kindness of strangers.
I was happy to see it still existed
because my reaction proved to me
it had become an anomaly.
On the train you’re as close
to people as you’re ever going to get
and have all the time you’ll ever need
to look at them.
You see the nape of a neck
and a different colour hair on the back of a head
and know they will never be able to see themselves in the same way.
There is a part of them that will always
be more familiar than yourself.
Sometimes you see things that make your head turn.
Like a nervous man with bandaged legs
wrapped in a hospital blanket.
In the early mornings before you get on,
the people around remind you of seagulls.
They have one objective.
Their lives revolve around how they will procure
the next cigarette or hit of something stronger.
And it makes you sad.
And it makes me sad.
Everyone’s knee is shaking,
or their hand is tapping,
or their cheeks are flushing.
We’re all conscious of how we look
or if we’ll say the right things.
Life is like a train.
People think it’s a line
but it’s a cycle
and it doesn’t stop
just because they decide to step off.