#18 – Allen Ginsberg, Greil Marcus and the Metrolink

I step out of my motor vehicle and hear two men arguing about the nation
“Our problem isn’t foreign oil dependency, our problem is outsourcing!”
Their arms raised in the air to hammer down the point
All I hear is the speaker box
Skipping across concrete tiles and grey stairways to a live wire bridge I hear the muffled sounds of the 4:28 westbound:
Destination Shewsbury come hell or high water or an electrical power outage
The sound from the train so badly distorted and echoey even the driver’s mother wouldn’t have recognized her baby boy
In the half-oval underground it’s difficult to distinguish the voice of man from the voice of a cartoon monster or muppet
Was it Animal or Cookie Monster?
The next approaching train sounds like the building of the next Midwest storm
Wind rushing towards me from the west as though the skies ass is about to fall out any second
“Attention passengers. The next eastbound train will be arriving in thirty seconds” the speakerbox garbles as if we cannot hear the approaching thunder and whirlwind
Even so, the information flows forth and is oft times ignored, this time too
The train comes to a resting point and doors swing open, I board
Two men with nothing visually in common are talking together
I catch bits and pieces, mostly random bullshit about TV
My orator in the driver’s seat is soft spoken yet firm, his voice is deep but delicate with a slight lisp kind of like he contains some great power yet restrained, but he’s too shy to assert himself noway
Also, he’s too disinterested to extend any more effort than necessary
His sentences are short, having deleted all excess language long ago. Simplified, Efficient
A man in a white polo with light and dark blue stripes who, until this moment, had been seated two seats in front of me, exits the train two stops after I got on
With his white ear phones he is unaware of the chance music surrounding him and the beauty that is found in the distinct combination of those sounds and the sights that created them
The train pummels forward
Powered by some unseen, Edisonian force
We do not chug we glide
and the breaks screech like a baby pig through an iron grinder
I’ve tried nineteen times” the man in the black fedora says so emphatically, as if it’s true, but we all know he’s exaggerating to make his point and I quickly lose interest in his noise
Half way there, stop 3, Central West End
Link to link to link in view; train, shuttle, bus
We’ve gotta get where we’re going even if we don’t know where we’ve been
From time to time I look up and I see the world like never before
This time I see an electrician in his uniform beige grey blue
With glasses, greying hair and a handle bar mustache you can see his kids dangling from like some kind of swing
He’s chewing gum
It was for a second, yet time stretches
It becomes unreliable
What was only a moment
a quick distracting glance has turned into an extended shot and into a scene
A turning point
The sound of trumpets and fanfare
I do not quickly forget his gaze and his crossed arms, his look of “this is who I am, what I do, and what I will continue to do”
Yet his eyes seem to be saying something else
As though his eyes know that he’s seen what he’d rather continue to do
He prays for it, but doesn’t put too much stock into it for what are the chances
A man has to maintain a sense of pride in what he does or he goes…
In the last moments of the train I recall that I have a destination
I got on this train as a means to an end
The trip was for a superficial purpose, not for what it turned out to be
I’m surprised, even startled when I get up
I move to the place I’m going
This is what I do and will continue to do for months
Another 4
or 6
Do my eyes lie?
Do they say I’ve seen the face of God and cannot settle for less?


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