Work in Progress: Boys on the Subway

19 Nov

I’m always checking people out on the subway, much to CityBoy’s chagrin, who maintains that no eye contact is good eye contact on the train. But I can’t help looking. There’s so much strangeness and vulnerability and drama on the subway.

The other day, I watched this young tough size up the young guy sitting next to me on the train. It was chilling to watch him. I almost felt as if I should escort the guy off the train and make sure he got to his destination alright. This is what came to mind when I was sitting my ass in the chair:


Boys on the Subway

It’s still the schoolyard, the toughs braced
against the chainlink, the outfits the same—
hooded sweatshirt, a shroud of menace
framing thrust-out chins, their just-cinched
pants straining at the nexus of their crotches ,
stubble pressing through their doughy faces—
everything oversized, unlaced, splayed.
They take up too much, spread their knees
wide across the bench seats, the tongues
of their spit-clean sneakers bright white
against a lunar background of logoed
blacks and grays.  Eager as untrained
pups, their eyes lap up every girl, dissect
their figures into breast sizes, hand spans
of waist, the canted arc of their jeans-
encased asses. They let them know
with licks and swipes of their eyes
which they’d take to a dim corner.


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