- Short enough to read once, preferably twice, between any two stations on a local;
- Speak to New Yorkers in some particular manner (not necessarily about New York or the subway); and
- Be provocative--intellectually, emotionally, physically, morally...
It's not fun
to be 31
How quickly and elegantly this short poem gives us the experience of being young (though not so young) and without means in the city. Quite a different approach from Tracy K. Smith's "The Good Life," in the MTA series. Suddenly, that relatively short poem feels like a novel.
Lovely how the spelling of "turnstyle" rhymes with the poet's signature: Eileen Myles. I emailed the poet to ask permission to reproduce the poem here--as far as I know, the only place it has ever appeared outside of the Alternative Press issue (43 years ago!). I asked for associations she may have now with the poem. Here is her reply: "It was certainly directly out of the experience of being broke and feeling too old to bed doing what I was doing, i.e., ducking under the turnstyle for a free ride."
How old were you the last time you ducked or jumped a turnstile?