Vincent Katz

Everyone takes the subway, and you can look up,
And look at all the people, and each one is different,
And they look different, and each one has a story, and suddenly,
You are awake and want to know each story, only you can’t,
Don’t have time, they don’t, don’t want to maybe.

But some you do, you glean, you approximate yourself to something
of them,
Like the beautiful, chestnut-skinned woman, who, leaning,
Listened to the announcer before getting in, and, confused,
because the 2 was called a 5,
Asked advice, and three people responded,
Explaining in their different ways, some of them silent,
Eyes met with approval, warmth only subway-known,
Among equals, fellow travelers, denizens;

She sat and smiled, and looking at an infant,
Smiled more, her hair was a flag of self-joy too,
She was real, at ease among people.
The rule is: to speak.
Make contact, and you will find more people than you thought.

But back to our bubble. It is everywhere around us.
Everywhere, walking in the city, you are seeing people,
All different kinds, shapes, sizes, the best education
You can give a child is to bring them up inside this
Beautiful bubble. I complain, but I’ll never leave.
I feed off the looks, the stories, the hungering here.

I’m aware, we’re all aware, what goes on outside the bubble.
We’re not stupid. We just thought people outside the bubble wanted
the same thing:
To live as variously as possible.
Or, put another way: I am the least difficult of men.
All I want is boundless love.

It took us sixty years or so to understand
What the word “boundless” meant.
And now we know.

(This Beautiful Bubble)

A few years ago, a friend subscribed me to Knopf’s Poetry Month daily emails, so each April, I get poems in my inbox. As with the New Yorker, while not being a huge fan of poetry, I look to see if there are any which seem to fit a practice theme, and this, perhaps especially the line ‘make contact, and you will find more people than you thought’ seemed to fit the bill.

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