182 rides later

and I know the sound of the subway anywhere--
each track is the same, cluckacluckaclucka-BAM at the end, sometimes setting off a red flare, sometimes not,
but I swear one could be heading right at me
in an open field and I would/could/shouldn't recognize it.

There's no irrevocable connection between sound and vision, no mapping of 'this is what a subway sounds like' to the subway itself back down to earth, back down to 'this is what a subway looks like'.

I thought I could draw these connections, put these patterns together, map-reduce-fold down to fractals and pretty pictures.

Can't. See, it's not even philosophically possible. 182 times I have both seen and heard the subway, both senses moving at on(c)e [I never wait for the subway with my eyes closed, or my ears shut.], I cannot put these pieces together. I rely on the surroundings. This is a subway because you are waiting for a subway. Don't you know, were you above ground this clack-a-clack-a-clack-a-BOOM would be a street car. Red connected above and below, its tracks a biker's hell.


I got to drive a subway. Apparently, this has been the cause of many accidents in the D.C. area. I didn't cause an accident. I mean, I'm writing this now, and besides, there were only two people on the train--me and the guy who was supposed to be driving. I got to the train late, and the conductor

(black--accent indistinguishable to my ears who have lived in the South for far too long where every black person sounds the same (like fried chicken, watermelon, and greens--the faint aftertaste of slavery, still bitter, still lingering 150 years later in everyone's hands, the old masters still hold power and things are free but never equal),--was he Jamaican, African, from somewhere else hot and sticky where people go to die or vacation?)

flirted with me and asked me where I was going ('Bayview') and said we could go there but also said that he'd 'have to let me drive'. ('Alright,' I said, 'Cool')--was the night when I got out of the station. The final buses were long gone and I wasn't sure how to hail a taxi (and were those even taxis?) so I called 3 friends on the West Coast at my 2AM and told them the tale as I trudged home for 1 hour.