x

Home to the Jay Levine Dreamscape Project

"Muy Divertido" -Eds.

Explore it!
x
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.

05.14.91

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.

Look!

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 (74/85)

May 8, 1996

Choose a different dreamscape

I’m becoming increasingly drawn to + simultaneously repulsed by my voyeuristic spying (w/binoculars) of our neighbors across from us (behind us) and down one story. In my defense, the city is a glorious place for conjecture and supposition and people watching (no place like it for that, anywhere!) and we’ve never had any view at all of neighbors, being always staring at alleyways, sidewalk level, or flat brick walls. Our new vantage, way up in the eyrie, is just too tempting to withstand and I soon went from casual observation to more pointed studying and (well, okay) creepy peeping, these two female roommates (Tit and Tat) my primary target. Always visible, in one of the two rooms, they are young – twenties(?) and spend a lot of time wasting time, more listless than restless. I’ve seen her somewhat intimately, first her shadow on the wall, then her actual ass, bare, protruding for a second into my enlarged view frame. Then I saw the incipience of love making w/her boyfriend. They hang gauzy curtains over the windows of the front room; apparently unaware (or uncaring) of the semi-transparent properties of that material, especially at night, especially when lit from within, even romantically by dim light or candles. With the binocs I could see right through: his hand caressing her thigh, fingering the band of her underwear. They moved out of frame soon thereafter, but still… 

However the more unsettling + seductive + disturbing moments are less dramatic and involve the long hours of solitude that Tit (or is it Tat?) spends by her window. With the binocs it’s all very close: I can see the ring on her finger, her somewhat gross white nail polish; I can see the numbers she dials on the phone, nearly read the addresses on the old letters that she occasionally flips through. I watch her smoking cigarettes, tapping the ash on the tray she keeps on the open window sill. Yesterday I witnessed her insert her hand deep into her sweatpants – masterbating? No, she removed it, studied the result on her fingers, sniffed it, all while never faltering in her phone conversation. These are odd intimate moments when we assume we’re alone and I feel pretty lousy to betray that communal trust. (However, we are in the middle of the city and she’s really in plain damned sight of the entire rear block). In any case, I must stop this habit of spying or whatever it is. It’s unseemly and wrong.

1 Like

Write comment

Your email address will not be published.

Once Per:
Order: