Money Trees: Friday Night Train

Crowded train on a Friday afternoon, finished another day of workin’,
Seven and a half hours, it’s a killer, just to bring home the bacon,
The evening’s barely started, revelers aren’t ready yet,
Still a while before they paint the city red,
‘Til then let’s take a look at some of these commuters,
Sitting or standing just minding their own business,
Up the front a group of young’uns are yapping,
Talking rap sheets and petty crime, they ain’t shy about bragging,
Poor misguided youths, how’s that worth celebrating?
Ain’t no honor in that shit, quit fronting and flexing,
They locked y’all up for acting like fools, not good for the reputation,
Won’t earn you admiration, just scorn and derision,
Y’all could end up six feet under if you keep that up,
If not in jail where some mass monsters’ll tear your asses up,
Sympathies if y’all had hard lives but it’s no excuse,
Get out or be a victim, it’s up to you,
Enough scumbags on this earth, don’t add to the statistic,
Fuck your circumstances, rise above that shit.

Train stops at another station, reels in more passengers,
A wave of humanity rushes in, don’t wanna be left standing,
It’s like a mosh pit near the doors, carriage now packed end-to-end,
Among the lucky ones seated, a young lady on the phone with a friend,
Her boisterous attitude a contrast to her formal work wear,
Mixing expletives and colloquialisms with copious amounts of laughter,
Recounting the last few days to her friend, never mind the eavesdroppers,
Gotta love her, she’s living the life, her stories’ll make your stomach hurt,
Of workplace anecdotes and escapades during weekends past,
Plans for future hang-outs, too, long-awaited catch-up can happen at last, 
Still upbeat after a long work day, gonna join the mister for a dinner date,
Enjoy the rest of your evening, Miss, say hi to your boyfriend, hope your dog’s ok.

All around the train, more than a few folks staring at their phones,
Sitting or standing, trapped in the cyber world, pain in their neck gonna be so dope,
More stations come and go, hope these zombies don’t miss their stops,
The train pulls up, eases the congestion before taking in a few more,
Among them a lady, eyes teary, looking broken and forlorn,
Took a seat near the front, wipes her eyes but the tears keep fallin’,
Hope she knows this too shall pass, tomorrow is a new day,
Whatever it is keep your chin up, hope you’ll soon be ok.
Also climbed onboard, a rough customer living on the streets,
Carrying plastic bags full of possessions, the few he was able to keep,
The city was once his playground, he was living the high life,
Fell victim to vices and his own hype, now he’s Viva La Vida come to life,
No more entourage and hangers-on, the vultures and leeches are gone,
Carcass picked clean, so much for loyalty, can’t buy real friends with money,
Fancy hotels and the high-rise a distant memory, now the sidewalks are home,
When he ain’t train-hopping or camping at stations, shelters or bus zones,
Traveling through carriages searching for solitude, away from pitying stares,
Mission impossible during peak-time, there’s no escaping the whispers.

An elderly couple takes a seat up front, where those young punks sat previously,
Married more than thirty years, going out on Friday night like they’re still mid-teens,
Still riding life’s rollercoaster, must be an epic love story,
Married at early twenties, had a few kids, now some grandkids and enjoying life’s little pleasantries,
Bemused at all these young ones with eyes glued to their phones,
They share a loving gaze and laugh, their love still solid as pure gold,
Opposite them sits two nine- to-five warriors, each with opposite demeanors,
One locked in battle with fatigue, can’t fall asleep, don’t wanna call no Uber,
Slumped against his seat, his suit rumpled, it sure was a long day,
Thank God for the weekend, how did life end up this way?
The man beside him feeling hyped for the evening, hair and suit still crisp
Left the workplace a hero, that presentation was fire, now time for some fun with the mistress,
Modern-day Don Draper, like that homeless dude once was,
Living the fast life, to hell with the repercussions,
Better keep this from the missus or she’ll put a boot up his ass,
Gotta stay sharp, fools like that tend to wind up drunk sans pants and cash.

The first of many revelers sits towards the middle, admiring herself on camera phone,
Make-up’s on point with a red dress on, hugs her in the right places, damn she lookin’ toned!
The daydreamer, fresh outta high school, sits in front of her, staring out the window,
Made her workplace debut, now deep in thought, but for real looking like she stoned,
Began the day with enthusiasm and pep, eight hours later feeling like death,
‘I didn’t sign up for this shit,’ says she, Kid you ain’t seen nothing yet,
Looked forward to Friday night with the girls but will probably change her mind,
Curling up in bed never sounded so sweet, let the rest have a good time,
A stranger sits beside her, head down and reading,
One of those modern motivational books, profanities and real talk replaced the affirmations,
Face cringing as the pages turn, this shit’s real deep,
Gonna ask questions tonight before he goes to sleep, what a way to end the working week

Then there’s the dude up back, checking his phone for a message he won’t receive,
From her, the one that he could never keep,
Mutually called it quits, they were traveling on different lanes,
Wasn’t a nasty split but still came with its own brand of pain,
After three years the co-pilots hit turbulence,
Survived the storm but couldn’t overcome their differences,
Such is life, not everything is permanent and that includes the people currently in it,
Let ‘em play their part, see who stays and who leaves,
Can’t stop ‘em on their way out, it’s pointless to beg and plead,
Cut your losses, dude, time heals all wounds,
Stay ready ‘cuz there’s someone else out there for you,
Smile at the memories y’all made together, don’t let this experience make you bitter,
Grieve if you must but don’t take it out on others.

There you have it, a few characters among the commute,
During peak-hour on a Friday afternoon to boot,
Young and old, workers and students and everyone in between,
Doing their own thing, if only some looked up from their screens,
Among the optimists and the excited, there also lie the cynics and the wounded,
Another day conquered, a victory in itself if only they knew it,
Be kind to one another, y’all, don’t know what somebody’s been through,
Listen to their stories, what lies within just may surprise and amaze you.

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