No More, No Less

it makes me laugh when I see that people have scratched off letters on the warnings placed on the doors of the T

so that instead of saying DO NOT LEAN AGAINST DOORS it advises you to yes, indeed, lean against them

 inviting you to slouch your posture until it conforms to the gentle curvature of the frame

but don’t let your face touch the metal because goodness knows how many germs have made their landing there

little base jumpers exploding from the noses and mouths of strangers 

who crowd into the cars as if they were a single organism with multiple jabbing elbows and feet that stomp on your toes and umbrellas threatening to poke your eyes out

when I disembark I do my best to tuck my arms against my sides as if I were a roast chicken

though I can honestly say such a simile has never crossed my mind, nor the road, until right this very moment

that’s a funny thing to turn over in your head as if it were a smooth stone particularly good for skipping, isn’t it

what thoughts pervade the minds of those around you as they perceive the world from their own perspectives

once there was an elderly woman seated one chair to my right who I could see observing me from the corner of my eyes

while I bounced my leg and fixed my gaze on my foot, as if I had x-ray vision and could see the fact that my socks were mismatched underneath

when she suddenly spoke up her voice seemed almost disembodied, because it floated into my ears over the clacking noise of the train rushing over the tracks

excuse me, young lady, she asked, but are you Greek?

I shook my head no, to which she replied that I had the nose of a beautiful Grecian goddess’ statue

and as we began to speak, I learned that she was on her way to visit a family member at Mass General Hospital, as she did every single day

I will never again see this adorable greying grandmotherly figure totter out of the doors that subtly requested that you rest your body weight against them

and I will probably be the recipient of even stranger observations, whether or not they lead to such a disarmingly genuine compliment

but I will likely see many women with wrinkles that tell the stories of all the years they have seen

which, no matter the color of their skin, will be unique and valid and important

and when I next ride the T, perhaps I will encounter a single father rocking his daughter’s stroller with one foot enclosed in a well-worn loafer

or, while wandering through the city, a couple holding hands, one of them with a shock of bright blue hair and the other with long brown tresses

and I will not know what or who any of these people identify themselves as

despite the fact that you can see I’ve made some assumptions above already due to the fact that society has fogged my mind a little, and for the sake of succinctness

I won’t know their genders, or their sexualities, or their ethnicities, or their ages, or their family histories, or their fears and scars, or their dreams, or their destinations, or their accounts of their time on this whacked up planet

and this isn’t because I’m stupid or because I am naive enough to suggest that everyone looks the same to me

even that monstrous blob of humanity that boards the train is full of unique, individual people

it is because I am not oblivious nor shortsighted enough to presume that I can make blanket statements about people

whether that be that we apparently need to build a wall to keep them and their purportedly pilfering fingers out of our pockets

or that the arts and those who pursue and have a passionate love for them in all their various forms are somehow not worth our funds

nor that if you wear a suit and tie, are impeccably well groomed, and work for an organization that is meant to benefit others, signifies that you have your shit together or that you are remotely a good person

or even a man, because let’s be real and honest and true, despite your hang-ups and preconceptions, you can’t box people up with a cursory glance

or the relatively mindless signing of a document that relegates an entire population to a troubled, frightening, and suffering fate

and then another that authoritatively, absurdly, and arrogantly secures the rights that ought to be accessible and free to everyone to a select few

DO LEAN AGAINST THE DOORS might seem like an obvious thing to ignore, even if you don’t know what the words say, because sliding pieces that open and shut should not be trifled with

but what is even more glaringly obvious is that people are people

not objects to shout nice ass at or idiots because they never had the chance to go to school or horrendous because their views are different than yours or robots who don’t have feelings

and I am not a superior being gifted with unparalleled mental prowess or a conscience that always guides me towards the right decision or impermeable to stereotypes and prejudices 

I am just me

a person just like anyone else I’ve mentioned in this piece or who lives on the damn Earth

no more, no less

no more, no less

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