Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Late Arrival




My travel to work every day involves hopping over from Jersey to Manhattan's Port Authority (42nd and 8th) to catch a company bus, which then takes me back into Jersey for my job. This all goes on around 7am every weekday morn.

Despite my usual bleariness at that hour, I almost always get a thrill when I first step onto the streets of NYC: the neon, the steam, the jackhammers, all at full blast...And I'm usually running late, and running to catch the company bus 8 blocks away, and trying to pick up a tabloid or two on the way... It's all very hectic, but exhilarating at the same time. So here's a ditty to my early-morning Manhattan.

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The Late Arrival
(Port Authority, 7 a.m.)

Jumped a white-knuckle jitney through the tunnel of lerv
Spewed out where neon duels with dawn--the balls, the gall, the nerve!

Gave Ralph Kramden's ass a squeeze, one "To the moon!" before I dashed
Grabbing tabloids, jazzed to see what star, or plane, or market crashed

Slurping down each sluice of sunrise spilling toward me as I ran,
Smeared my greedy mouth with juices from the street's jackhammer jam

(How I'm starving, how I missed you---
Manhattan, here I am!)


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Some things in the poem that New Yorkers might know, but others might not:

"jitneys" -- crappy little run-down buses, often driven by cursing, swerving Middle Eastern men, that run between Manhattan and cities in Jersey along the Hudson shore. Since the regular Port Authority buses often are too few and far between during rush hour, if you're late, you catch a jitney bus...at your own risk! :)

"lerv" -- from Woody Allen's "Annie Hall": "I don't LOVE you, I LERV you..."

"Ralph Kramden's ass" -- there's a statue of "The Honeymooner"'s Ralph Kramden outside the Port Authority that I pass every day. (Gleason's occupation on the show was a Port Authority bus driver.)

"sluice of sunrise" -- in the morning on clear days, if you're walking down an avenue and looking east, you see the sun flowing down the building canyons/sluices as you cross each numbered street.

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