I’m better today, thank the powers that be. I thought I would post another installment of the subway poetry “experiment”… zipping back and forth from 91st street to Mozart rehearsals on 58th street, I found plenty of time to contemplate the #1 trains… for those who don’t remember, it is a not-so-subtle attack on the whole “subway verse” thing, by intermingling lines from the posted poems with the surrounding advertisements and public service announcements. I wish I could say I was continuing by “popular request,” but really I’m just continuing for my own perversity. The following, to my mind, gives the nihilistic and famous speech from Macbeth a kind of post-modern, ironic punch, which it probably didn’t need:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.
Investing in futures
creeps in this petty pace from day to day.

Tighten skin without surgery
to the last syllable of recorded time.

Lighten up!
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools.
Please don’t rush or push on
the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Number One makes all stops.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player.
My future: a theatre director
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage.
What you thought you knew is history
and then is heard no more; it is a tale
it’s a work in progress,
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury–
He may be without a home, but he’s not without help,
Signifying nothing.
Get prepped for success!

I feel the end is even more bitter than the original? Comments, including cease-and-desist orders, are welcome, but may be ignored.

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  1. Margo
    Posted June 22, 2005 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I think this is great, especially the ending! I think you start to appreciate it more as you read it over a few times. Sort of like with a piece of music — the more familiarized you get with it the more you like it, (true in most cases anyway). So keep them coming!

  2. Lynn S
    Posted June 26, 2005 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    That is great. It has a point or at least I get a point from it whether it is THE point or not. To me, it says something about all the distractions in our society. How difficult it is to enjoy something beautiful or to just quietly sit and think without something intruding and demanding our attention.

    That particular speech is sort of special to me. We had to memorize it in high school and I’ve always like it.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted June 29, 2005 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I miss your posts… I think I’m actually having withdrawal symptoms. I’ve been re-reading your old ones, but that can only get me through so much. This makes me think, though: is it normal to be addicted to someone’s BLOG? I mean, I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying since I’m a pianist myself, but still…
    Anyway, you must be real busy, what with all your enormous festival rep. But it would be real nice to read a new post soon!

  4. Molly
    Posted August 29, 2005 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I adore these surrealist-collage-meets-the-L-train compositions. Even better than the time when, on the train late at night, surrounded by drunken hipsters and canoodling couples and the obligatory crazy man in the baseball jacket, I saw that the “Poetry in Motion” in my car featured an excerpt from Yeats’ “Who Goes With Fergus”, and chose to execute an impromptu performance of Yeats as a stereotypical rap star might perform it. I believe the idea was to make it more accessible? The precise paraphrasing escapes me now (I remember it as being much more ingenious than I can reconstruct, but such is the nature of memory, I suppose), but it was along the lines of

    “Who will go ride with Fergus in his Escalade?
    Like a bullet to the chest, we pierce the deep wood’s woven shade”

    The result: several variations upon blank stares, and a sinking feeling that I was about to be thrown onto the third rail by Yeats’ spectre.

    Next time I will do Leda and the Swan; perhaps that will resonate with the subway crowd a bit better.

  5. Anonymous
    Posted March 26, 2007 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    this helped me write a paper. thank you

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