Home to the Jay Levine Dreamscape Project

"Muy Divertido" -Eds.

Explore it!
The following is not actually part of The Subway Diaries (or any other Dreamscape) but it seemed to embrace the ethos (not to mention the setting) of the category so well, that we include it, here, for your enjoyment.


I sit, as it were (crouched, really, my back braced to a wall), in the twilight dawn of subway station X, the twilight dawn that stretches, dim, through all these lonely and darkened corridors during any period of the night, every night.

Can you feel the breeze? It comes noticeably from my left, from the north, ruffles my hair... would ruffle these pages were I to relax my hold. That’s the air pushed ahead through the tunnel by the next approaching train. And look! Up the track, still in the tunnel: two yellowish eyes come a’rattling and a’screeching its approach: a #9 train, heading south? Well, thankie much; don’t mind if I do.

Now I sit in another expanse, internal and metallic and mobile this time, descending the colon of the beast, a long smooth chromium turd sliding down down, to dump me downtown, as it were.

And Look! Stuttering through the girders and briefly glimpsed as they rattle past: every station a book-in-waiting, if only I would take the time and...

Ah. The ride smooths as we coast from 116 → 110 on steady rails and no propulsion, superconductive it feels, steady as the night. Now we slow, pause, ka-ching, doors open, souls descend and disembark, or vice versa, as the case may be... ding ding... "Stand clear of the closing door!" to lurch us on our way.


The yellow/orange plastic pre-formed curves designed to palm the average NY bum. (Or “transient,” as I believe correct terminology these days, or "unsavory," by others [Cam!...]). And my bum too! It could be Mickey Ds, in here, with the form-fitting molded orange and beige plastic of it. But listen!

A rush of air. A higher whine. The low-slung murmured gossip that animals make to pass the time, distract the mind, from the terminable darkness.

Oh, hark. Why have we stopped now? No tiled aquarium glow to be glimpsed, just blank blackness outside the scratched and plastic windows, maybe a hint of grimy tunnel wall pressed close up to the glass. But still... feel that? A hum. The deeper, burning, glowing surge of electricity held in check. Do any of us really know: the thrumming power that feeds the grid?

Oop, on the move again. And someone laughs as we lurch and leave the station (103rd). Out of 22 passengers in this car (yes, I counted) I am not the only caucasian. Another sits opposite and ½ way down, his chin propped on knee-propped fist… no socks, white t-shirt, shorts (it’s damned hot, remember). And me, now, as we arrive at 86th (“Stand clear of the closing doors…” ding...ding. Swoooooosh. Hummmm.) Yes me. I'm glad you asked: red socks, red t-shirt, khaki shorts… I write. For no apparent reason, I write. I am a “writer”, pen to paper, thus. But when I pause (which I don’t often) what then? For example, as we hit 79th and I glance up to take assessment… When I pause to lick the quill and look around. Still a writer? Definition unclear.

"Burden of Proof" (by Scott Turow) is the novel the man held; the man who (bearded, bespectacled, marching resolutely from one car to the next, bracing himself occasionally from swaying) passed, just now, in front of my knees and, for a moment, through the world of my perception and description…

Hark! 66th street… south, south and south some more we go (59th next). Ding ding.

… but am I still a writer then?

I am surrounded now it should be glumly noted. And it ain’t no fun. To my right, to my left, and above, hanging one arm on the crossbar. If one of these scurrilous fellows so much as side-eyes they can read every word and meta-word (and meta-meta-word) I scribe. Well, fuck ‘em all! To hell with them! I scribble on, undeterred, and determined, it might appear, to set a new, and, as yet unconceived record, to be the first, foremost and probably ONLY person to scribble virtually unceasingly from 125th Street (ah, respite from the prying eyes: 42nd Grand Central brings an equally grand exodus, a general emptying of the train, the good from the chaff, as it were [chaff, including me, left on board, as only those heading TRULY downtown stay] and I can breathe again with some space and lucidity and privacy around.) Yes UNCEASINGLY, is what I was saying, I shall pull meaning from the void and press it in ever tightening spirals and hieroglyphs to this page, to be exhumed someday and marveled at by future sociologists and historians alike. They will ogle and gasp, unable to believe, equally unable to deny: the only person, I propose, ever to write perpetually from 125th Street to Christopher Street, unstopping! AND, as 14th St is now behind us, it appears I might just make it since Christopher is next and no more power outages in sight. Still, man plans and god laughs and when's the last time a power outage was predicted never mind spotted, so I won't count it yet, not yet, but now! The train slows! The aquarium glow. Most importantly, I can’t miss my stop (that would be a disastrous and dastardly turn of events). CHRISTOPHER STREET. Ding ding. Jayson, out!

The Subway Diaries i (17/85)

March 24, 1996

Choose a different dreamscape

At the moment, above all else, I’m filled with the desire to sleep (that’s sleep ‘zzz,’ not sheep ‘baaah.’) It’s not that I went hard in any sort of ‘party’ sense but quite simply due to lack of ever-precious slumber. “Ladybird, Ladybird,” was the film we watched until 1am, then cracked, finally, the beginning of MAUS II – A Survivor’s Tail etc etc. and finally dropped off cerca 2am. Up at 9a. So 7hrs which in itself would be no great deprivation, but coupled w/the previous evening’s (Fri) festivities – a concoction of events that led me to bed past 4am w/the residual vapors of tequila + vodka + beer spreading through my brain – well all this simply cried out for a solid night’s sleep and THAT I didn’t get.

Sun. A.M. means relative privacy on the platform. In fact, my suspicion is that a train has passed directly before I descended from the street, and even now, some minutes later, the platform remains largely deserted. I sit isolated on that bare wooden bench w/no fear of spies tainting this account w/their judging or critical eyes.

So, brief description of events alluded to Fri night. Kandles and Dennis come downtown @ midnight – knocking at our front window (in direct contradiction to Jules + my repeated request not to do that; further eroding any subsequent sympathy on the part of Jules regarding my somewhat tardy return…). Down + East we head to Blue + Gold, me w/chess set + clock in small black backpack, Dennis w/his traditional shiteating country-boy grin on his face and the profound desire for ‘IT’. As we descend the stone steps into that smokey pit, I spy, through the door, the thinly veiled sashay of leopard clad hips in a most petite configuration. But, I look no further, being a married man, merely assessing their position and location on barstool as I pass; then putting the entire madness out of mind and averting to the better (more healthy) distraction of chess + beer. But Dennis, perpetually horny Dennis, was desperate for female companionship, and quickly broadcast this fact, looking around distractedly.

“Well, hrm, I did happen to observe…” I admitted, still adjusting my knights.


I nodded subtly toward yonder barstool. Dennis is off like a fookin’ rocket or a missile, swaying across the room side-to-side like he’s traversing a swaying train. Stood for some moments, empty beer in hand, big grin bearing down on the object of his attention. Next I know, back he is with the whole damn lot of them: three young ladies and their natty gay friend back at our table, audiencing the match. I concentrated on the… [77th St; oops]

0 Like

Write comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Once Per: