the magenta station

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the magenta station

(to my friend patrick who was in sweden but nearly lent me his navigo card)

by steven schayer

observe the honeycomb above your head
the indentations in its curve
look up, you stranger, navigate
and marvel at the impossible lift of its escalator
on which you take up space diagonally
and stay to the right
as it deposits you into that cacophony of letters,
numbers, impeccably tied scarves
the constant sizzle of industry and locomotion
a la gare du nord;

observe their feet
pretend to know the route rehearsed
but do not pause or hesitate
you keep your you-ness to yourself
and smile as the turnstiles clink
behind you, comme un citoyen
“i did it well, je pense/i think”
but what you really want’s a drink
your mind, preoccupied with how to say
a scotch on ice
ouais, s’il vous plait
you dummy up, you nod and point
and pantomime words with your face
you do not give yourself away

your eyes take in the sights, your eyes
mark time – the time it takes to see
the boulevards and statuary
the art, the dirt and history
until you make your rendezvous
with sadness a la gare du nord
and you alone are who you meet
you recognize your own accent
and either stand
or take a seat.

Steven Schayer head shotsteven schayer is three-quarters Mexican and one-quarter Austrian…or German. or maybe the math is all wrong which is odd in that Aztecs are renowned calendar devisers and Austrians are generally considered precision-driven. He grew up near Los Angeles. his mother, an actress, danced with Elvis in Blue Hawaii amongst other residual-producing roles-and his father, a cop, arrested Lenny Bruce. Showbiz! He used to ditch school when he was a punk rock teenager and via Patti Smith discovered Arthur Rimbaud and beat poetry at various bookstores in and around the area. He later moved on to more formal minds like Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz (a la the Velvet Underground) and to the wondrous John Berryman. He lives in Portland, Oregon. On FB he is @HenryOrient.

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