My picture of autumn coming to Hoboken prompted a question from Italian Connie, who grew up in Hoboken in the 1950's and now lives in Florida. She hadn't heard about the New Jersey Light Rail train, with its stops at Hoboken Terminal, Second St. and Ninth St. That's it above, over on the tracks right against the cliff at Hoboken's west border.
I've found the little trains very convenient to my new home. Smooth, sleek and clean, they seem to take no time to reach their destinations. In pleasant weather, when one is not in a particular hurry it's possible actually to enjoy the wait before a train arrives to spirit you to the Pavonia Newport Mall in Jersey City or the 12-minute ride to the Hoboken terminal to get to a PATH train to the city.
Passing time in my wait, I have noticed etched in the glass blocks, little snippets of poetry. One day in a rather long wait I read the whole wall, all of a piece, and discovered it was commissioned as a public poetry project by the New Jersey Transit Commission's arts committee. It was written by Marina Temkina, and is available in a book published by Ugly Duckling Press.
Reading the poem while waiting for a train on a beautiful day is a soothing experience, rather like absorbing the affirmations you write to yourself, or reading love notes from a new partner. I'm pleased to live where something like this just seems to appear, for no reason other than to brighten my day.
I hope it does the same for yours.
You Are My Solar Battery
Are you waiting for a train?
Take a minute-long vacation
You’re a part of the solar system
Recharge your batteries
You are a part of the universe
Of people navigating the earth
Sun makes us global
Planets and people commute
Look at the stars
They don’t have
In a spaceship you’re about to get in
Look up at earth
People are your constellations
The time’s coming when somebody over there,
In the universe, will be looking at you
What is the position of the planet earth
When the Milky Way is parallel
To the Hudson River?
When coming and leaving
Notice this poem moving down the track
To greet you
The old moon
The new moon
The growing moon
Are you a local traveler? Global? Local? Universal?
A dream traveler?—me too
I am one of you: speeding in life,
Sometimes wishing to stop, to change,
To go on slowly
Sky, the shrine of all faiths,
Meditates on peace and love,
On your heavenly body
Commuting between lines of this poem
Sometimes takes a long time
You’re at the Second Street stop,
Between the hill and the river,
Under the stars’ scattered sugar
My desires, like stars,
Are big and small
You’re my solar battery
You’re my sugar cloud
You’re my living psalm
You’re my rising sun
You’re my green tree
You’re my country
You’re my snow, my rain,
You’re my train,
My early morning, my long day
The punctuation (and lack of it), the choice of images, the gentle rhythms of this poem seem to take us on a ride, help us through the stress of everyday business--and promise a nice trip. I like it.