field notes (3/30/2017)

Now I’m on the light rail. It’s about 1:40am and I’m headed from Snelling Ave to Minneapolis. A few encounters tonight, in reverse chronological order –

Just as the light rail/green line train headed to downtown Minneapolis showed up @ the Snelling/University avenue spot, someone down the stop was yelling about a cigarette. In fact as I wrote that sentence he again started yelling about this cigarette he is hoping for. Sounds like he has a dollar for anyone who can offer a cigarette but at what ultimate price? See, as the lightrail pulled up the shouting seemed to undergo some type of crescendo. As for me I was tucked into the corner of my little concrete cubicle on the train stop platform hurredly urinating. The reason I was urinating was related to both timing and coffee. The coffee has been steadily streaming down the Main Hole of my Fleshy Form and therefore my elimination department eventually had some liquid it had to dispose of. You get it. So I wanted to piss before hopping on the train – otherwise when would I? There aren’t toilets on the light rail, and to piss in my own train car – under camera surveillance – no bueno.

That leaves the remaining option to piss out the open doors in 5-second intervals at the stops. This would also be quite visible and ineffective. During the day I could hop off & pee somewhere & get back on another train. But as it’s nearly 2am they really aren’t coming too frequently – hourly? Maybe not at all?

I digress. At the platform I was pissing. And as I pissed the voices reached a zenith and one figure, green in its jacket and bumbling in step, began to hurtle towards me. He was a happy drunkard, though stressed/frantic might better articulate his dire nicotine circumstance. It is rainy tonight, and it’s a miracle he didn’t slip as he ran – not seriously, anyway. But guess what he DID do?  Another guy – seemingly a part of a regular crowd at the train stop – was waiting there with some paper bags. Cigarette guy (Not-Cigarette guy?) runs by and grabs a bag off the ground and, in what could again be called a not-serious slip or an almost-slip, drops the bag. Or at least the entire bottom half of the it. The paper was likely wet from sitting on the damp ground.

Several bottles crashed on the ground and immediately a few shouts came out of both of their face-holes. So the guy’s booze exploded on the ground in front of me. It was unexpected. To my surprise the other guy didn’t chase Non-Cigarette man but he should have. Also, I considered tripping the man who had been running with the bag but it would probably have had disastrous consequences. Good thing I didn’t.



(a poem spotted on the train tonight):


Have you ever felt the night rise from the city?

The plush dark sighs, and her breath

fogs up the pane between planet and universe

so that – slowly – a moist film of grey appears

behind which the sun is heaved by trembling arms.

And as shadow slides herself from the streets,

the river washes away his stolen lights while skyscrapers

blink their thousand eyes and push their bodies into view.

Night yawns, and her graveyard peoples

(bartenders, nurses, taxi drivers, corporate grunts)

stumble, sleep dragging at lids of wrinkled tortoise eyes

to beds streaked with egg yolk light.


(Elena Renken)


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