Transit

 

I rushed down the wet stairs
with my briefcase

trying to catch the E 

and got over to the platform 
just in time

to watch its lights 
disappear around the corner

some kid on the other
side of the tracks 

was rattling a can of Krylon 
paint and spraying

big Jungle Green curls 
into the hair 

of Judy Garland
who kept smiling at us both 

from her Wizard of Oz
movie poster 

he was a punk 
but I’d done my fair share of  

graffiti too 
back when I was his age

so I kept quiet 

plus
I thought he was pretty good 

he set the Scarecrow 
on fire 

with a can of Chrome Yellow  

then started to rust out 
the Tin Man 

with Sunset Orange 
before we heard the next train 

he threw the cans 
into his messenger bag 

and turned to look 
my direction 

his face masked by the black 
hood of his jacket 

he pointed at the tracks

but I couldn’t see
anything but a dirty sewer rat 

pushing its whiskers
into a fry cup

I shrugged and he pulled back 
his hood 

he was looking down 
at his Chucks

but I recognized him in a flash 

it was me
from when I was living 

on the streets and panhandling 
for meals 

he stretched out his arms
and tried to fly   

in front of the oncoming train 

I reached for him 
while he sprayed my suit 

with one long streak 
of my own Banner Red blood