Grinning Sideways

6:30AM Skytrain:
The steady rattle of the train is punctuated by a PSSSHTCLK!
as the man behind me starts his day off with a Lucky Lager.

There’s maybe four other souls in the car aside from me, one’s a snail
with his world on his back, pine-freshly returned
from a tour tree-planting, hallowed earth still carried
under his fingertips as he sips his large double-double,
shifts the weight of his backpack bundle sideways
and squint through the cracks in his cellphone to try and tell
what his buddy meant.

One has nails clicking like talons across tile as she
finesses ferocious missives on a Macbook,
readying a full clip fo emails to fire off the second
she’s back in WiFi. Her hair’s pulled back
tighter than tuned piano strings, her rainjacket so precision-engineered
both bullets and raindroplets would roll right off it, she looks ready
to conquer a mountain because she has to conquer one every damn day,
and god help you if you don’t leave space for her flag at the summit.

One catches ten minutes of rest, leaning against the glass
as the views of the mountains become crowded out by condos.
He was halfway into the second chapter about macroeconomics
when his 2AM texting blitz with the girl from the library
finally caught up with him, so he gives himself ten
against the windowpane, assuming his body will automatically
jolt back to full power once he’s close enough to campus
to smell the heady blend of anxiety and optimism.

And the last is the man behind me,
grinning sideways at the grey skies and the skeletal outlines of new Brentwood towers
as the station lumbers into view. He tucks the emptied can out of sight
under his seat, pulls his headphones from a bulging coat pocket
and lets whatever music he has at the ready carry him on
out of the station, out of sight, hands gently thrumming
drum solos on the seat in front of him, both serene and enlivened
before the sun even had time to get its slippers on.

BicMan

IMAG0424

He’s a human Bic lighter,
sparking and scratching, metal voice rasping bout a fire
he had inside himself,
he was born upon a shelf but
sold his position for a song.
Dirty hands and coat pockets all day long
nights in the cold sparking Malboro’s and even he’s thinking
This Shit’s Getting Old.
His shine got dulled, he got passed around until some girl
carved her initials into his side with a pen knife
thought he was hers for life but then she dropped him
lost him in a crowded place
and every dent upon his face is history,
and it’s no mystery he feels lighter
every
year.
Like he’s running on fumes and nobody has the courtesy
to fill his heart but even in the dark
hungry and chilled and praying for one more spark
if he catches the streetlight just right,
baby,
he shines.