Before your comatose eyes, the tall, tall skyscrapers of Manhattan jut into the sky like a row of deformed teeth. The gray-bearded train conductor, an overachieving and overbearing son of a bitch, announces your arrival at Erie-Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken.
Another fucking Monday morning.
You disembark your train in an orderly fashion, along with the other caffeine-buzzed worker drones, and march in an orderly line toward the Path station, where you hop on a rollercoaster ride through the tubes underneath the Hudson to your menial job on 14th and Sixth.
Somewhere up in the sky, that piss yellow sun, like a coward, is hiding behind a dozen fat, gray clouds of sleet and rain. You know these clouds from Friday, when they blasted their icy pellets on your face and your neck and your $395 cashmere coat, and that same evening you crawled in through the door of your one-bedroom Co-Op, half-drenched and freezing-ass cold, like a stray cat who escaped a near drowning.
For two years, you’ve worked in the City—THE CITY!—and lived in New Jersey, too far from the beaches of South Miami, where you grew up a blue-eyed surfer dude. Yes, you’re an expatriate of sorts, determined to make it here in Gotham, The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of the World.
But you’re more bitter now than before. Your dreams seem hopelessly unattainable, as each fleeting day disappears down the sink like yesterday’s coffee. There was that play that was never produced. Your script that was never greenlighted. And your stories that don’t get published. Still, you keep telling yourself: I am here and I am real. This one true sentence fuels your creative fires, and it gets you through this day and the next.
You’re eyeing the clouds now, suspiciously, like an amateur weatherman, attempting to gauge their every move. Your short walk to the Path station has you winded. You walk down the steps to the platform, slide your QuickCard through the slot, enter through the gate, and board the departing car. Somebody shoves you from behind just as the doors close.
Already you’re hoping this day was over. So many nights, dead-tired after work, you’ve had recurring dreams of being reincarnated as Ezra Pound, writing poetry and smoking opium in your Co-Op, all day and every day. Not to become famous or to make a handsome living, but because POETRY IS LIFE.
In those dreams, your existence is just as—not MORE or LESS, but just as—significant as anyone else’s. You’ve found your voice, you’re using that voice, and the people are listening.