Story of your life
Or three minutes & forty-five seconds ago, later, until you switch tracks on the M, the part where we go above ground, rising higher through clouds, sky, factories repurposed as luxury lofts, pipelines intact, autographed with an artist’s insignia, anonymous warnings, a sign that says
THIS IS A SAFE SPACE
PLEASE KEEP IT FRIENDLY & NICE
There are two types of people (amid the image of the Hudson rippling through brown-gray glass; everything caked with specks as in an old film): ones who float down the river & ones who are the river (deep breath, switch track). Unable to ever really choose a hymn to play to its end even as the end nears, a fascination with strangers, places & names dropping at the speed of the brief recess between chorus & refrain—Did you hear? People talk & people talking through typing, fingers poised as on a trigger, each in our own seat keeping to ourselves. Silent except for the trembling of the train car, only its trembling to give
Gap, break, interlude
Only one more stop to go, a pause & prayer for permanence & permeance, to be everywhere
& all at once, to be all the time as if a liquid, what you always wished for even as a child, one lone tear traversing a cheek (rub it out, or in). You’re feeling the feeling of feeling’s return, where you find yourself when you think no one is looking. Because you could not stop you kept moving, at least through the mix you made, sixty-three seconds till eternity curated to turn from one thing to another, jubilant/wistful as the sky turns too from pale purple to soot black, equal parts imitation & pastiche of a picture you remember seeing somewhere else. Looking from the Hudson (out of view, with another high-rise-about-to-be but for now a bunch of bricks, scaffolds, skeletal rods, discarded tape, more warnings) to the people on streets, thinking about a line or lines, how we move &what moves us, if not only song, if not only a hand on one’s hip, moving slowly, the sun slowly disappearing again. All that it takes as the disc skips, finishes, repeats.
You could sit like this forever (murmur, respire), slowly disappearing out of you, name dropped to live again as someone else.
I could sit like this forever. Life imitates art, do you know
The meaning of life is to pass it on.
Chris Campanioni’s recent work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, Quiddity, and Prelude. His “Billboards” poem that responded to Latino stereotypes and mutable—and often muted—identity in the fashion world was awarded the 2013 Academy of American Poets Prize. He co-edits PANK magazine and lives in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.