Subway Pome #57: Most Girls Wear Too Much Makeup

“Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover” – from Something by George Harrison

Around eight
Saturday morning
the chilly wet October fog
makes it feel earlier than it is,
the bus depot
under the train tracks
transmogrifies
into the Brooklyn moors,

ascending the metal stairway
that leads to the subway station
I raised my eyes
and saw the haunches
of this inconceivable ass
shifting ahead of me,

all in grey:
a sweater-dress,
the skirt short,
the legs
wrapped
in grey leather knee boots
and the rest of the way up
matching cable knit tights –
impeccable cat-black hair
rolled off her shoulders,

drawn by a tractor beam
of primitive initiatives
and the sudden adventure to do,
I took the last flight
two a step,

my heart pounded,
through the turnstile
I got
close enough to smell her,

a craven intimacy
walking on the path of
caution-yellow rubber
that runs the edge of the tracks,
I waited
fifteen or twenty
paces
before I turned around:

one October Saturday morning
thirty seven years ago
I was on the white shag rug
in my grandmother’s living room
watching a movie on Creature Features
from the early 60s
on channel five
about the boy from the village
who fell in love
with the mad doctor’s beautiful assistant,

she was seated on an operating table
in the laboratory
talking to the boy
and just as he went to kiss her
she moved the long dark hair out of her face
revealing horrible radiation burns
and,
as the music in the movie went
BAH-BAH-BAH-BAH
I pushed my face into one of the
yellow throw-pillows
from the couch,

but I looked anyway,
I thought she was still pretty
and that I would be lucky
if I could find a girl that nice,

now,
this Saturday,
the girl in grey
had no makeup on:
her mouth gave
nothing away –
static peace
beneath
a lidless eye
open
round and wide
on the right
and the endless hang
of burned and melted flesh
drooping a hood
over her left eye.


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