Monday, May 17, 2010

Poems and a Metrocard by Marcy Alexis

Photo by Syreeta McFadden

“What’s your Alien Registration number?” – Ed

Assaulted with poetry! Yes, that’s exactly how I’d like to spend my Sunday afternoon on such a breathtaking day in mid-May.

The weather was a consistent warm hug. As a New Yorker, all you can do is talk about the weather on a day like yesterday.. all day! People were just happy to re-introduce their faces and toes to the sun.

What a day indeed first ride-along with PUP (Poets in Unexpected Places/Pop Up Poets). I was initially hesitant to join this band of poetic misfits, but knew I’d eventually be one of the pack. Especially after hearing the tales of train and supermarket mayhem from their first two adventures. My passion for poetry gets me in all sorts of predicaments!

Samantha, Jon-Ivan, Adam, Ed, Jared, Darian, and Jeanann were my fellow Pop Ups we did just that.

Who will be next? What will they say? Which passenger is really a Poet? Why are they doing this? We made ourselves known randomly by one, as commuters on the Q-train soon realized we were indeed armed with poetry.

PUP popped like kettle corn in five trains yesterday. Most passengers weren’t only receptive, but they were vocal about how much they appreciated the art accompaniment on their commute. Some took pictures, others sat at attention with their children, and still others almost jumped in! Even funnier were the expressions on the faces of those who were about to board our impromptu train takeover! Classic!

Samantha Thornhill set it off with a Lucille Clifton poem, as we later laughed out loud at Jon’s antics about the MTA and “he don’t do nothing but smoke.” Adam eased the tension with a song and a stanza, while Ed hung on arm bars and later introduced us to his not-so-subtle inner stalker.

Jared’s stories of comic books and awkward adolescent glances made us reminisce and smile. Likewise, Darian and his Mom appreciation was felt across the board. A tattooed Jeanann told tales of ripping tin cans with her bare hands ..and yes, we sure did believe her! And ya’ll know me.. well, I’m bad.. "I am a lioness, I’d walk through hell wearing a gasoline soaked dress!" LOL I started a women’s empowerment movement with that poem. The women on the train were more than ready to stand up and douse their dresses with gasoline ..flick, flick .. I’m bad!

Though the day was enjoyable, I’d have to say that the most memorable moments were the ones involving children. We received support from several parents who were overjoyed by our presence. Some children didn’t quite understand all that was being said, or why their Mom/Dad was listening so intently. Yet, they stopped to take note and open their eyes to this world of word and expression.

The Poets all had different accounts of what went down on their end of the train. My personal favorite was one that I didn’t even witness. Jared shared a story about a mother and her two boys. These boys clearly acknowledged their stop on the train and starting to get up. As they were preparing to exit, their Mother firmly took them by the shoulders and sat them back down. That family of three stayed with us for the remainder of the ride. Now that’s love New York!!

Most people take the train to their destination.. well yesterday, the train was our destination ..Pop Up Poets. Where to next?

- Marcy Alexis, Poet with a Metrocard
(Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm the bald chick wearing the shades ...and my gasoline soaked dress!)


  1. Great blog Marcy Marce! I agree, the moments involving the children were the most touching for me too!

  2. Gasoline soaked it!!!