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The Commuter - Marisa Cimbal

Carrying a well-worn brown leather brief case

in one hand, a book, “Clyde, the Walt Frasier Story” in another,

wearing a blue suit and tie, he steps

off the Lakeland Bus into the Port Authority,

down the escalator passing thousands at

every angle; commuters, tourists, homeless sleeping, women,

men, children, of all shapes, colors, and sizes,

moving in every direction, despair and hope filling the air.

Pigeons flying in between broken fluorescent lights

dimly reflecting the dirt and debris on the linoleum floor.

Walking out of the doors onto 8th Avenue past Zaro’s and the newsstands,

steam and soot flowing from the grates on the sidewalk.

More homeless begging for money, horns blowing,

sirens blaring, crowds at the street corners waiting for the

traffic light to turn green, bumping, pushing, rushing to work.

Onto 42nd street, XXX and Girls, Girls, Girls, flashing on the marquees,

drug dealers in Bryant Park, men playing chess and three card-monte,

and families with “I LOVE NY” hats, keeping their kids close,

eating pretzels and buying souvenirs.

If it were December, the streets would be shining with lights,

the Knicks would be playing in Madison Square Garden,

the Salvation Army Santa’s would be on the corners ringing their bells,

the Rockettes would be dancing at Radio City Music Hall.

Maybe it would snow, and the grey and grit of the city would be

covered with a bright white blanket.

But this is New York City in July, the sun is strong,

the air is thick and hazy, the heat is oppressive and

sometimes it feels like you just can’t breath.

He stops for coffee at Horn & Hardart,

rides the elevator at 655 Third Avenue to the

10th floor, takes off his jacket, loosens his tie

and empties his pockets on the desk:

tums, keys, Wrigley spearmint gum, tokens.

He scans the white walls covered with pictures,

glances at his watch and then looks out the window.


Marisa Cimbal lives in Hoboken, NJ with her husband and is the mother of twin daughters who are in college. She works in New York City in healthcare communiations and is now fulfilling her dream of being a poet and a writer. Poetry.

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1 Comment

John F
John F
Jul 15, 2023

Communicates the vibe of the time perfectly!

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