subway poem #3

Caught the Red line at NoMA after work –
sometimes on Wednesdays or Thursdays
I work with special collections at DCPL,
that’s DC Public Library for short,
temporarily housed at Penn Center in NoMA
(that’s North of Massachusetts Ave for short).

I read some Walt Whitman on the train
that puts me in a pleasant state of mind –
hypnotic, and I almost miss my stop
at the transfer point to the Blue, Orange
& Silver Line.

There could be worst things than the hustle
and bustle of commuting. Like these minstrel
shows – performing, dancing on the train platform –
dancing to the music. People are watching,
turning their heads to see as they walk by.
But why bother? It’s the same old minstrel
show. Why bend your 
neck to look? The dance
steps haven’t changed in 100, 200 years.

Not meaning to sound philosophic, but I worry
about my people, caught up in the same tricks
generation after generation, and doing the same
minstrel dance for white folks who are too
eager to be hypnotized. Oh well. The Orange line
train approaches, and I have more Leaves of Grass
to read before we reach the Bottom.


Author: Raymond Maxwell Librarian, archivist, retired foreign service officer and Navy veteran.

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