Subway Railing

Subway Railing, By Brian37 (AKA Brian James Rational Poet on FB/META and @brianrrs37 on Twitter)

Support many, hundreds of thousands
A day. The fireman’s hook and ladder
Buried under, they go up and down
Every day

You, their fans, you the player, carrier
You hold their hands, as they submerge
To enter the tube, the bank teller sends you
On your way

They lean on you, they grab you, clutch you
As you enter the court, the rink, the field
Autographs of sweat, grease from lunch meals
Perfume feels

Far far away, the escalator packed, racked, stacked
Chest to back, boot to wingtip, wingtip to high heel
Sneakers, shoestrings dangerously lingering
About to get entangled in

The injuries of the day. This is the witness
The palm reader, the silent witness
Who touches you, but cannot say
Which way

Who will end your pain, how will you ride
In stride, with intimate pride, low tide
Swells and foam, the crimson tide
Work till you die

The steam of breath, in winter’s wreath
The chill of bones, the lonely bequeath
The body heat, makes not your sheath
No contact high

The thaw of spring, and colors bring
The stirrings of love, lost, lingering
Passions ascend once again, holding
Holding, holding, the railing

Yet never of others touching.

I’ve seen your touch, I thank you much
I am too far away, to the dead I say
I wish I may, I wish I may, I may
Meet Anne someday.

This is a response poem and another ode poem to Anne Sexton. It is based on her line her poem “The Touch” describing subway railing as being unfeeling cold contact with no human intimacy even though countless people touch what you have.

It is like being in public in a large crowd but totally impersonal and disconnected from personal relationship.

But no, I do not believe in life after death. So the last stanza is strictly metaphor in saying I wish I could have been an adult back then and met her in person. I will unfortunately never get to meet her.

The “fireman’s hook and ladder” Is basically a visual implement to imagine you could slice an escalator down the side into the subway the firetruck would be the platform and the ladder would be the escalator going up to the surface, with those in need of rescue going down the ladder and the firemen going up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: