commuters. we've been trapped in a tunnel for all of our lives. some hands hold some books, a few sports pages, and the rest, empty fists, clutched around the naked poles or clenched false-aloof hidden in pockets. city people. we attempt to ignore pleading attempts at conversation, trying to incite us to human interest. we already know how ridiculous it is. remind ourselves to be jaded, not respond, keep slilent.

the only view is the lurching passing of practice graffiti, other hands with spray paint weilded deftly. when do the kids come out? 9am bus, 5pm bus. we've never seen them, but someone took the time to outline, shade, design, stand back and admire inches from the walls of passing trains. inside, outside. we're trapped on our side of the fiberglass walls. does it echo, out there? do the past and future of other trains call out like radar, bouncing around the impassable corners?

workers. we stand helpless. in another hour we'll be making sugar sweet greetings to coworkers who might be automatons who simply shut down at the end of the day. we don't look inside each others' lives, but we feign humanity. not on the bus, though. push, elbows aimed dangerously against the threat of ambitious fellow passengers. we guard our spot against the never-opening door and our place on the handrail. we do not meet the eyes of the old ladies who get on and find us seated comfortably, messenger bags and shopping bags and forgotten newspapers spread across two seats.

we are moving. we are stopping, in a station, tile walls with a caulking of piss where they run aground on the cement floors. the seats open, red plastic blooming up from under pinstriped asses. carefully casually, we peek around with the edges of our vision. strategic animals. we wait for someone else to make the first move. new passengers fill some of the seats, but we've been here too long. who deserves it more, to sit, lay the burdens to rest for five minutes in our laps? we remain, stoic. we will not compete. we are jaded. why bother? today's small triumph means no more than standing all the way to the office, counting the change in the pocket of the guy to the left or right with our thighs. we'll forget by lunchtime, lonely deli sandwiches and lonely conversation. what is it worth to break from the navy-black camoflouge of unaffectedness? might as well just stand.

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