You Played Yourself: Another Train Story

Saturday at mid-day, on the western line inside a packed train,

Typical cast of characters filled the seats, couples young and old, Mommies and Daddies with energetic kiddies,

Young adults and teens, the jaded and upbeat, some occupied with social media and selfies, others readin, buried under Marxist theory,

In the midst are a group of women, on the cusp of middle age but they ain’t trippin’,

Bits of their anatomy not quite what they used to be yet their personalities remain kinda bubbly,

Laughing and carrying on, at times competing with children for excessive noise,

The others trying to stay poised, got no other choice,

Back to that group of gossipers, in a past life must’ve been high school cheerleaders,

Dressed to impress, complete with bags and bling, veterans of conspicuous spending, somewhere out there Thorstein Veblen’s spinning,

Their laughter and chatter a stark contrast to a woman seated across from ‘em,

Aged in her late 50s and maintaining a quiet dignity, got her eyes closed and meditating though the noise around her is deafening,

The leader of the loudmouths spies her, sizes her up like a lioness eyes its prey,

Turns back to her girlfriends, the cheer squad captain within came out to play,

‘Take a look at her,’ she sneers, ‘don’t you think she’s kinda ugly?’

From there one snide remark after another nothing short of cringy, talking smack about someone while they’re sleeping, it’s childish and petty,

They’re from different backgrounds, too, the bullies and the bullied, the former hiding behind probable language barriers, talk about cowardly,

It’s like Mean Girls in this joint for those within earshot,

Suddenly the quiet one’s roused by a phone call and here’s where things get hot,

“Hello?” she addresses her caller, “I’m still on the train,”

“Apologies for the noise, the crowd here’s insane,”

Turned her eyes toward the loud bunch, stared holes through them all, perfect set-up for the almighty coup de grâce,

“I’m just sitting here,” said she, “apparently looking rather ugly,”

Four words with a catastrophic effect, those noisy broads silenced in an instant,

Their faces beet-red and blushin’, penetrated their heavy make-up,

Y’all thought she was sleepin’, y’all should’ve known better,

So much for your flashy threads and expensive jewellery, no one gave a fuck it was a waste of money,

One ignorant move was all it took and now they’re staring and y’all are shook,

Those within earshot wide-eyed in astonishment, shit was cold but well-deserved,

Enjoy the ride, still a long way before your respective destinations, ‘til then people are gonna pass schadenfreude and joy at your misfortune,

Should’ve kept the beast in its cage, now y’all got eggs in the face, it was never gonna end well, y’all done played yourselves.

Someone Else’s Catch

The sun beats down over the park, another glorious day at hand,

The cool breeze in the air compellin’ the tall trees to a gentle dance,

Birds soar through the sky, looking down at the strange earthbound juveniles,

The offspring of those strange humans running and frolicking,

Keeping the adults entertained and laughing but sometimes testing their patience,

Among the young families, weekend warriors and retired couples a lone figure’s emerged from his rabbit hole,

Attracted by the picturesque outdoors, a welcome change from the hermit life indoors,

Left the apartment, dressed in plain shirt and slacks, sunglasses on and hair slicked back,

Thirty minutes to be spent wandering, maybe forty max before returning,

Nature sure is invigorating, enhanced by the healing touch of sun,

‘Perfect day for a walk’, thought he as he filled his parched lungs,

Made his way to the park where the party seemed to take place,

Fortunate that it’s still mid-morning, surely by afternoon there’ll be very little space,

Circled the vast patch of greenery within the concrete jungle of the city,

Three full laps should suffice, consider this a dose of weekend exercise,

Passed the obstacle course where the young performed like monkeys in the circus,

Hanging, swinging and jumping, occasionally got their parents panicking,

Joggers comin’ from all directions, made like Roadrunner with no signs of slowin’

‘Mirin’ the flowers and trees, their movement’s mesmerizin’ dictated by the wind’s constant blowin’,

Meditated over the fountain at the center, on which stood several sculptures posin’ for photographers,

Buskers doing their thing nearby as kids prowl the fountain wanting to touch the muscled marble warriors posing with drawn weapons,

Our walker trudges towards a glade of trees lined with benches, found one that’s vacant,

Sat down and started meditating, happily on his lonesome among fellow weekenders,

Unaware his momentum was about to be rocked, rolled, shaken then flipped over,

She came from out of nowhere, sat on the same bench, away from him, mind you, way out the opposite end,

Blocked off the world through plugged ears, head bouncing gently to a tune that only she can hear,

Wearing a pink long-sleeve despite the warmth of the sun, shiny raven hair tied into a bun,

Fringe held back by a clip, away from her eyes, lips a bright red and her skin a pearl-white,

Several vacant spots nearby, why sit in one already taken?

Paid her no mind at first, he went out for relaxation and not socializin’,

Let her and the rest carry on while he minds his own business,

His powers of resistance were soon challenged and her scent was the catalyst,

Sweet and fruity yet hardly nauseating, slowly he turns and observes her movements,

Playin’ with her phone she seemed oblivious, occasionally looked ‘round all directions,

Relieving the stiffness in her neck and back, waiting for a friend, perhaps?

Her head bobbing to the beats within her plugs, her upper body dancing too,

The hair bun shook slightly as she hummed, gotta admit it’s kinda cute,

Couldn’t deny these feelings, she’s the flame and he the proverbial moth,

After years of flying solo he might have found a potential co-pilot,

Tried to gather his train of thought, time to get back on course,

‘You’re on the brink of derailment,’ muttered he, ‘full steam ahead and floor it!’

Had no intention of fishing but one can’t predict the ocean’s patterns,

Maybe her presence is a sign, it’s now or never, he’d be foolish not to seize this moment,

‘What’cha gotta lose?’ asked his inner voice, ‘man up and talk to her,’

Sounded like a double, the fear of rejection’s a heavy one to bear,

He eyes her once more, just as she looked towards his direction,

Their eyes cross and paralysis hits him, she smiles back in response before playing with her phone again,

Could this be an opening? Suddenly confidence is sky-high, gone are the ever-swirling presence of butterflies,

Gotta shoot his shot or forever wonder what might have been, put it all on the line and go all-in,

Three deep breaths and a silent prayer, summoned all the courage he could muster,

Silenced the nerves by focusing on a potentially brighter future,

But alas, she looked to her left and waved joyfully, jumped to her feet excitedly, ran towards a handsome gentleman and threw her arms around him passionately,

“You’re finally here,” she cried, “Hope you didn’t wait too long,” he replied,

“Not at all,” said she, “well then let’s go,” said he,

Off they went, the gentleman and his lady,

Our guy stands up and heads back, slowly,

Enough of the outdoors, gonna head back inside,

She was someone else’s catch, better luck next time.

Everything I wanted: Strange Bedfellows

Eddie lay in bed, all ten years of age, waiting to drift away,

Recounting the day that was and like all young’uns looking forward to Saturday,

Eyelids feeling heavy now, the sweet embrace of sleep ‘bout to settle in,

Another school day comin’ up tomorrow morning, the interruption was most unwelcome,

In walked Momma, little brother Mario in tow, tears running down his face like he’d just seen a ghost,

Traumatized ‘bout a story teacher read to class, no blood or gore but nevertheless shook him to the core,

‘Can your lil’ brother sleep here tonight?’ asked Ma, ‘something teacher read to ‘im seemed to give him severe trauma,”

There was room for two but Eddie wasn’t having it, all that space taken by the little squirt, he wasn’t goin’ for it,

Then he took one look at Mario’s tears and wobbly mouth before he reluctantly relented,

‘Climb aboard, Bro,’ he invited, ‘but don’t take up space, you kick me once I’ma smack you in the face’,

Lil’ Bro complied and immediately latched on, pulled Big Bro into a tight embrace, that little kid sure is strong,

“Not so tight,” protested Eddie, “I can’t breathe!”

“But I’m scared,” answered Mario, “they’ll kill me in my dreams!”

Too sleepy to wrestle off the kid, got too much pride to tap out,

Then much to his frustration, Kid Brother was the first to go lights out,

How’s he off in Dreamland while his grip remains tight?

Eddie squirmed and shook but couldn’t shake him, try as he might,

Tempted to smack that lil’ fool but fearful of the repercussions, he’ll hear it loud and clear from the parents, little siblings are masters at dobbin’ and snitchin’,

Arms are feeling numb, that kid’s cuttin’ off circulation, gotta do something now ‘fore he runs out of oxygen,

He wriggled like a gator crushed by an anaconda, careful not to knock Mario and wake him,

Limited arm movement meant that legs did most of the heavy lifting,

Miraculously the snake loosened its grip, remained in a deep sleep,

Blood rushed back into Eddie’s limbs before leaving a feeling of needles and pins,

From there he finally drifted off, melatonin finally kicked in,

Another day ended, not quite as expected, gotta get up early to do it all again.