On and Off


i fall into the frames of space that swims eternally repeating before me, an old woman hacking into her arm, the bus driver singing a song in spanish, my fingers folding into each other. positive thoughts, i think. i can do this. think positive. i stare at buildings passing as if they hold some essential mystery, demanding my intentness. thoughts, think. i seem to be breaking into pieces. the airy hiss as the lighted box shudders to a
stop, like a gargantuan sleek beast cutting a swift fart. a kid shoulders his way to the concrete, enveloped in earphones. thoughts do not seem to matter at this current juncture of time. voices swarm through my arteries like an overbearing shock of electricity. move, move move, i tell the red light telepathically. i glare ferociously at a woman standing on the corner with a handbag. she has very tight calves, sweeping down out of her skirt into the sharp points of her heels. alert, i crane my head to capture this detail in my mind. it seems that this might save me. but a bottomless pit of frenzy opens in my face as the bus stays still, and i stroke my right ear to hold on. and then. it heaves, the doors swing closed, and the self-contained world continues its hurtling way to the next stop. a maid pulls the string and the sign lights up. she stands, wobbling against the metal posts, her breasts weighted to her belly. the kind of woman who is ignored by eyes searching for stars when she walks the streets to her job cleaning a rich family’s floors, hispanic, stocky, painted lips, hair tied back. yet looking at her standing in the air-conditioned bobble of the city’s mass transit system, i find her beautiful, her eyes prepared firmly for her exit. i feel a quiet breath of calm sweep into my mind and i look around me with the discovery of inner light, avoiding eyes, the abstract humanity of our containment, rustling paper bag, varicosely gripped cane, soft tufts of neck hair, intermittent coughing, the announcement of street names. a waiting room for the appointed daily grind of employment. i pull the string and stand swaying in the boxed movement. i step off into the day centered, part of a puzzle, fit into the jutting shapes of an uncompleted picture. patience.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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