one gets on, one gets off—one gets on, one gets off—endless chain of people getting on, getting off—another chime, another rhyme, the train is closing, people, no, you can’t stop it, you can’t get the doors to open by hitting me, shouting, clasping your hands and praying—the subway train god is quite impervious to your prayers—on the tracks, off we go—dark, then brief light, only stretched out of place by stopping, waiting, chimes go off, no, you can’t get on people, the doors are closing—I cannot bear to watch them—they are all the same—it pains me—it seems simple enough: doors start closing, you won’t get on—but everyday—like a scythe through the wheat field of everyone—lawyers, mothers, students, elderly gentlemen who should know better, every kind of immigrant and race you could imagine—shout, plead, curse, pound the door fr crissake—it’s like I’m some sort of symbiotic capable-of-feeling snake that gobbles them up and disgorges them safely at the other end of wherever in God’s name they’re going and … get a grip people—it’s a Fucking TRAIN—it doesn’t listen to you, it doesn’t feel you, it is just a piece of extremely complicated, lovingly well-crafted metal—it’s not going to stop because you ask it—it’s only going to start when I tell it and stop when I tell it, and once it starts closing the doors—that’s it—show over, wait for the next one … there will be another.
I sit up front and have the best show in town—all the little kids know it—they insist Mom or Dad or Both take them right up front so they can watch what I see everyday—flicker of the track—brief bend, black & lightless, springs alive with headbeam stare—my presence, my place in it, the train, alive with the people it carries—a train beat pounding down the artery walls, bringing the blood of the city where it’s needed most—if I ever get on the intercom, after I make my announcement, I remind people to give blood—it’s more precious than gold and only we can make it—”Eglinton Station, have a nice day—remember people, give blood”—most of them are off by then but some hear it—they agree, they write e-mails to the TTC to thank me, they write letters to complain, they swear and tell me to Fuck Off—how many people does it take to tell you to Fuck Off before you really truly do Fuck Off? is a question I keep thinking about—and one gets on, one gets off, chimes ring, doors close, another stop, one gets on, one gets off. People have to be reminded what’s important—it’s about the only thing that relieves the boredom.