Subway Abicedarium (Twelve Hours)

A woman chews gum and reads a novel called 'I Love Dick.'

By now she has penetrated into the city. Deeper still into the city. "There are more decisions here per square inch than in any other city in the West."

Chocolate. Research indicates that women suck chocolate in a manner different to that in which men suck chocolate. This is not obvious from the outside.

Don't forget to breathe.

Earlier, there were brief pauses to change arms, look around, and rock back and forth. These were filler, to make everyone, including herself, half believe that doing this was really something.

Forward motion.

Guy stands leaning slightly against a pillar. Gently vomiting. Retches once or twice, then walks away. Such control. Vomiting as if he were simply clearing his throat. I hear the sounds of retching again, followed by a loud splash. Another load, this one quite substantial, deposited at the next column. As if he's marking his territory.

Just as the train pulls out of the station, I see a young girl's wan face hovering in the window of the door at the end of the last carriage. She's warning us not to proceed.

L-train. 2 am. Standing room only.

My neighborhood: that part of town I don't need to go to because I'm already here.

Now she rises. Outside the world through which she passes will be calm, sedate almost, full of food and books. Without that thought I feel as though I am nothing.

Quietly, I slide into position on the bench. "Killing me softly with his song, killing me softly..." emanates from the headphones on the homeless man sitting alongside me (he trying to still the voices in his head, I transcribing them).

Riding in the front carriage of the subway bouncing back toward Manhattan under the East River, I correlate the slight braking by the driver with the lights turning amber then green ahead of the train, and see the faint flourescent glow of the First Ave stop and feel unspeakably happy.

Standing in the carriage waiting for the subway doors to open, looking directly into the face of the man standing on the platform waiting for the subway doors to open, looking directly into the face of the man standing in the carriage waiting for the subway doors to open... Nobody saw nobody. Cuz they wuzn't really lookin'...

Z is for zoo, for the watchers and the watched.

About the author:

Richard Eoin Nash is a writer and performance artist. Stories, essays and criticism have been recently published or are forthcoming from mrbellersneighborhood, Ironminds, 5-trope, La Petite Zine, PAJ, and Ducky. He has performed in New York at Tonic, HERE and the Ohio Theatre, as well as a number of galleries, and has he has toured to Berlin and Dublin. His first book - Organs of Emotion - was recently published by MultiArts International (Germany) and is distributed in the US by Soft Skull Press.