6355.red-and-white-roses.jpg-550x0When I write – I love to use metaphors – rivers represent time, wind represents change and dirty streets can represent regret. I do not think too much when writing because I feel if I did (and I have tried) it takes away from the emotions I am trying, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much, to convey.

Stormy clouds up above can represent anxiety while dew on the grass can represent a reawakening of ideas, dreams and . Sadness can be described using a broken radio where all that is able to be received are bits and pieces of talk radio. Happiness can be expressed via the beauty of nature rising from the barren ground or skeletal branches. Rebirth.

I don’t have many secrets but I also do not reveal quite as much as the two or three people who read these words thinks I do. I am kind of like a ball of contradictions. A lot of love, anger, optimism mixed with bruises caused by “Contrarians.”  I love to paint stories – a stranger sitting on a train.

{interior of NYC Subway car} 

     Old man is sitting at the end of the row of a long bench on this crowded train. He is wearing an old style stetson which is plaid and contains a black (or brown) feather proudly erect. In his left hand is a newspaper, the NY Post and in his right hand is an old fashioned umbrella which can double as a walking cane. He is dressed in a coffee colored suit, a pocket square peaking out of his suit jacket pocket, complimenting his white shirt and paisley tie. Black shoes, neatly polished and a briefcase between his legs on the floor. In his eyes are colors blue, gray and brown encircled by the white of the Sclera. He is wearing reading glasses, black rimmed slid half-way down on his nose. He is cleanly shaved with just a sprinkle of a mustache. He is observing his surroundings but something tells me he sees nothing but some historical introspection.  This man has been taking the subway to work for forty years and you can see the years in his eyes. He is tired. He looks at his watch, grimaces and closes his eyes.

     I like describing people – I have taken the train for the past 10 years or so each morning to get to Manhattan. Each person on the train and each day I must see thousands – have a unique story and look.  Each of us have our scowls, smiles, laughter and welled up moisture in each eye. There are the disenfranchised, the unemployed, the under-appreciated, under loved over politicized strangers sharing poles to keep them from falling when the car stops short unexpectedly.

There are celebratory conversations – I spied a young lady – possibly in her late 20’s or early 30’s carrying a bouquet of red and white roses. She had a soft rust colored hair which fell slightly onto her forehead on the left hand side, big brown eyes and an olive colored skin tone. She had a white wool scarf wrapped around her neck and black stockings beneath a short skirt beneath a black wool coat. She is carrying her flowers but seems like a child, lost.

Delancey Street – the spot next to her is vacated by an Asian lady who was screaming to her friend across the lane. I sit down and me being me, I ask her if its her birthday.

“No, it was my last day at work so they gave me this.” She smiled.

“Is that a good thing?” I asked

“Well, in a way.” She looked away. I kept quiet feeling that I had trespassed into her private space.

“I am sorry I didn’t mean to-” I began but she cut me off.

“Its ok, its ok. I just, change is hard for me.” I kept silent but nodded. She continued.

“I live in Brooklyn in an apartment I once shared with my ex-fiance. I cant afford it alone so I am moving back to Saratoga just to get my compass reset.”

“How long have you lived here?”

“Been here 5 years this June. I moved here with my college boyfriend in 2007. There were parties, friends, champagne toasts, celebrations, tears shed and dances. Its gone now so, I have this consolation prize in red and white and I am going back to live in my old house I grew up in.”

“Some times going home, taking some time to refresh your focus can really make the difference.” I felt sad for her.

The train pulled into Bergen Street and she stood up.

“Sorry for bothering you with all of that – all you asked was a simple question and it became a therapy session.” She smiled.

“No need to apologize – I just wish you the best.” With that she walked off with a smile.

I thought about the characters I had drawn up, typed about and painted colors bright and dour throughout the years. I thought about my past ten years; the songs that ended too soon, the dances that never were and the doors slammed shut as if in fear of an intrusion. I thought about consolation prizes in red and white, I thought about the compasses we use to guide us home, to guide us towards – where? A place in the sun we can call our own.

I thought about home and the train rides throughout the years and realized that as I snake through the underground and the elevated platform my compass has been misguiding at times but I still found my front door.

The old man from this morning, dressed up and following the magnetic pull of his own choices. I thought about whether he had songs that he could not dance to, whether he raised a toast to life, love and a future with a nod to the past; whether he would ever make it home again.

When I write – I love to use metaphors – rivers represent time, wind represents change and dirty streets can represent regret. I do not think too much when writing because I feel if I did (and I have tried) it takes away from the emotions I am trying, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much, to convey.

Knowledge is understanding that all cannot be understood and recognized when presented among so many confusing and distracting images. I write because I enjoy it, I write in metaphors because I enjoy painting a scene rather then just spelling it out sometimes. Or maybe I use metaphors because there is a big part of myself I am not willing to reveal so I hide behind the colors of my words.

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