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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 (79/85)

May 13, 1996

Choose a different dreamscape

Last night I bore witness to a full scale, full-tilt sexual encounter. Tit + Tat have most definitely not left the building as feared (see yesterday’s entry), and last night Tat (I believe it was) enjoyed a blitzkrieg session w/some large, unidentified partner. In the flickering illumination of the television, I watched through my trusty binocs the entire spectacle, beginning w/a semi-seduction of much fondling and caressing. Then the pre-coital felatio to get the flag flying (so to speak). Then he reclined on his back and Tat positioned herself away from him, straddled his reclined legs and eased herself down on his mighty wand. She proceeded to ride him, thus, for quite some time until one or the other grew restless and then she leaned further forward, gripping his ankles. Soon thereafter he sat up and wiggled to his knees and began to really go at it, doggy-style. During this period there was much communication passed, as she kept turning her head to offer advice or encouragement over her shoulder. Eventually he convinced her to lie flat on her belly and he did the same, on top of her. At this point they had become somewhat obscured by that dratted fan and so I switched rooms – scurrying into the living room, dousing lights and upsetting furniture – and established my new outpost by our easternmost window, peering out and down across our air-conditioner, and gifted, now, w/unobstructed perspective on the final movement, so to speak – the grand finalé – which involved a full missionary embrace and much bucking + flapping of Tat’s knees. Done, she leapt up while he (pleased w/himself, no doubt, and rightfully so!) reclined again, on his back, hands clasped behind his head, his prodigious member still alert and ready for more. Perhaps they were not done. Perhaps I had merely enjoyed the 1st act of an extended, multi act performance. It was 2:30am and I, for one, was exhausted. I went to bed, eager to tell Jules about it, maybe reenact some of the key moments for better analysis. But alas no, she told me to go the fuck to sleep. [And for the record, no, I did not participate in THAT way, you prurient, filthy-minded deviant! I remained an observer and observer only; a sociologist, intrigued and taking notes on the mating rituals of Homo erectus].

But the interesting and someways reassuring aspect was the tenderness and subtlety to the whole exchange; nothing aggressive or distasteful about it. Anyway, quite an exciting event and one not soon to be forgotten.


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