Steam and rails

By Martin Anastasovski

It is the antithesis of the world above, the subway

It is its dual opposite, a realm that branches out its steely DNA for a metaphysical balance. 

Hades’ whims can be felt below, spreading about molecules of invisible smoke from the trains’ brakes. 

High fashion, low living, and the smell of burnt rubber, all laced together with the binding force of rare metals. 

Time elapses in different strokes of breath there. A totemic presence of people on ads breathes in and breathes out the essence of those who have become submitted to the tunnels. 

It is like Venice Beach but on different terms. Underground. Cooler and hotter at the same time. A dream, minus the palms. 

It is a beautiful pagoda of peoplewatching, a temple where you can meet your reflection in abominable puddles of rainwater and petrochemicals – if you can lean forward just enough. 

It is a pet residence, for moonlighting rats and bizarre pigeons securing progeny on girders. They feel at home by the tracks, watching over the memory of the casualties – statistical errors. 

Posh galleries are in abundance above but underneath, the art begets no pretence for it is begotten from the putrid substance that underpins reality to its hydraulic muscle and springs and the hissing of engines. 

“Somos Mas Americano”, subtly reads – yet shouts – a faint scratchfitti, furtively micro-etched on a fashion billboard in the afterhours by a hand that peels and dices ready-to-eat packets for thousand sprawlers. An accidental poetic hand that pushes away two thousand pomegranate kernels from their trypnophobic placenta every day. 

Thousands of souls are packets of thought and sound inside the long cars that perform their duty in the name of civilization. Dark rings under the eyes of those just woken and those waking yet. Sleepwalking into a sudden pair of soulful eyes. Bright lights to command the imperative of dominion over both and all worlds. 

That old machine, vehement enough, doesn’t pause at the stench of piss. 

Authoritative and as tall as top hats. A forewarning device made of well-oiled claspers that can glide up and down a pair of bolts, all mosaicked in a cubism tongue on white tiles. 

The thing looks at you from underneath its secret brow. A solemn covenant passed on by passersby because it loves the doubt that you may have in your mind about the might that made the anthill. 

It is a wish and a will on a wall that all things shall be within their tracks, like the trains of New York that go and go to and fro, to and fro. 

Martin Anastasovski is a shaman, a sorcerer and a fool. His poetry is about the politics of living and dying. And love. Skopje is his home city and New York his spiritual home. You can follow his instagram @psychic.staredown

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