Winter’s calm

Nighttime in winter, overlooking a part of the city that’s packaged as a moment of movement. I look out at the church across the street, illuminated entrance casting echoes of darkness along the cool earth. 

People still walk around the church, the library, the center square. Although it’s nighttime, it’s also only 4 p.m. Winter condenses the daylight into a few frozen hours, and that’s when the precious sun rays melt through the thick ice that holds the city in a deep breath. But now the darkness has claimed motion once again, and I watch the city slow down, a windup toy succumbing to the stillness.

If I were to take out my camera and record, this is where I’d do it: different voices slow into a sleepy mirage, made even slower by the chills of winter.  

Everyone I know says their least favorite time of year is wintertime. But I think that there’s a quiet beauty in watching the city sleep.

Behind me on the steps, a couple holds each other’s hands. Leaning into one another; sharing their warmth throughout. I’m sitting by myself in front of the library, and it just closed for the evening. My breath fogs my glasses, blurring the lines between buildings and smearing their lights into the empty, icy sky.

In one of the busiest areas of the city, I’m transfixed in winter’s calm. 

Passive intimacy

I first walked past the apple core

during a dreary morning way to work. 

The core of a bright fuji apple

looking artificial 

on the edge of a dull concrete bridge 

scattered with trash. 

Days passed

the core slowly wilting. 

A body without a burial

amidst littered humanity.

regardless of 

brittle winter new england weather 

rolling over 

that dull concrete bridge, 

the apple stayed.

“Who ate the apple?”

“Why did they leave it there?”

I wondered every morning.

We grew a passive intimacy, 

like strangers who share a bus route.

Familiar only in looks, fleshy stenches, and wrinkled skin.

Chiaroscuro

A jumble of wandering umbrellas

paint splotches of rain inside the city.

Street gutters roll thick with wet garbage 

offering discarded philosophies to fat rats.

I dream of traveling in the spring

sunshine warming my soggy bones.

But the shadow of an alley drips 

shaping the portrait of an empty man:

“You’ve wandered too far from consciousness, my dear. 

It’s time to wake up.”

The man on the train

Is he cursing at his god?

He slings a slurry of swear words to the heavens,

gradually increasing his passion as he continues to curse.

He’s visibly drunk,

motions slurred and unwieldly,

like a baby learning how to move for the first time.

Greasy grey hair hangs thinly around his rosy cheeks,

but I’m too ashamed to look at him,

too afraid to provoke,

so I don’t catch the color of his exasperated, almost pleading eyes.

And he’s begging for what?

For a god to answer his anger?

For a friend to help fuel his thoughtless fury?

For someone,

anyone,

to meet the gaze of his eyes?

I can’t help but empathize with his soul shattering, empty rage.

But I can’t help,

so I file off the train.