Bursting onto the el train
The young man announced,
“I am a spoken word performer;
If even one person wants to hear
My poem, I will recite it for you.”
And someone must have nodded,
Or met his eyes, or blinked.
Like my fellow riders, I kept
My head down, embarrassed by this
Unsolicited entertainment, this public
Display of poetry. But when I glanced
Back at my book and saw the tidy
Lines of verse, I was ashamed.
So the young man rapped
As the train rattled and the people
Pretended not to hear, but his voice
Spoke a counterpoint to the rhythm
Of the el and soon every rider felt
The power of his words.
His performance ended to
Applause and smiles and although
In workshop, I would have said,
“Cut out the last verse, tighten up
The middle,” instead I clapped
With the others and was thankful
For this unexpected gift.