Sunday, May 6, 2007

Subway Rancheros

It was springtime in New York. I was heading downstairs into the subway for a long ride. I was not looking forward to the Psychiatrist's visit I was about to undertake. I was not feeling up to talking about my weaker points. I was feeling a little tired and glum.

When I reached the turnstile I recognized that subway smell: a combination of oil, steel dust, urine and body odor. Strangely, I was comforted by its familiarity. I also remembered some musicians whom I had heard perform in the subway once or twice before. My heart began to swell and I wished to see them again. I sighed and went further downstairs and got on the express train.

There was a load of New York regulars on the train, a very diverse group. Businessmen in suits and ties doing the Times crossword in pen. Working women in conservative outfits and heels. Sullen African American men in odd hats and ridulously small sunglasses. People from many foreign countries all crammed together and busily minding their own business in their own narrow spaces.

The train stopped and three fellows strode into the subway car. They wore open-necked shirts and blue jeans, western boots and cowboy hats. They were very short and dark, their faces maps of central Mexico. In this urbane world they looked like they had just finished a cattle drive. In their hands they carried Campo Guitars and a Buttonbox Accordian.

And then they began. They started struming, picking, squeezing and singing an uptempo song, in Spanish, of a sad and beautiful, lost love in two part harmony. The atmosphere in the subway car suddenly changed. Crossword puzzles were dropped and people looked up and actually smiled. The little fellows laid it on, their strong voices moaning out that happy, sad and sweet song as the train rocked while it roared downtown. My heart swelled.

The goddess of the Universe, on her starry throne had decended into my world. She reached down and caressed my tired face with her bejeweled and flower-soft hand and looked into my eyes. My worries fell away and I was swept up by the simple beauty of that little accordian, the plinking guitars and that sweet, sad song. My heart opened up and I felt love for the entire world.

1 comment:

Eric Valentine said...

Very nice reading.. :)

Oh, also, I have tagged you. So if you feel like going to my blog to see what you are supposed to do...otherwise, no worries.