Saturday, November 10, 2012

Subway Poet Donald Green

 It's easy to dismiss the vendors and the musicians in the subway stations.  In a city of constant motion, their presence calls us to pause, to slow down, to be still, to engage.

Like others, I often pass them by without a thought, but tonight, as I wait for my train, I'm drawn to this man, this poet, this creative soul perched on a small chair, behind an even smaller table. 

Surrounded by shopping bags overflowing with papers, half empty cups of cold coffee, stacks of old newspapers and several homemade signs, his smile his wide, revealing toothless gums.

He shares his reflections on living in this city for the past forty years.  He can't advertise that he sells his poetry or the police won't let him stay in the subway stations, so the signs say he shares his poetry, which he is quick to do.  He quietly motions to a stack of papers.  Handing one to me, I read the poems, noting the dates: 1978, 1982, 1996, 2001, 2004.  They're good.  They're really good.

He asks if I write and when a share that I do, but that I'm struggling to find the confidence to market my writing, he looks in to my eyes for the first time, takes the tattered papers from my hand, scribbles on a blank page, and hands them to back me.

"Don't read that until you get home," he grins, and I agree to wait, though I really want to read it now.

I hand him money but he refuses it, so I tuck it in to his bag of papers and he kisses my hand.

Tomorrow, I'll pass by them in the stations, these writers and painters, musicians and dancers. But tonight, in this unusually quiet subway station, I pause and am both humbled and inspired by Don, a kind, creative soul, making his way through life, one poem at a time...

Note:  When I got home, I googled Don Green to see the youtube video he mentioned he was on.  Sure enough, there he was.  I encourage you to check out these links.  His is a very interesting story.


The Bridge Project said...

You've certainly come to the right place for content - both written and photographic. What a rich environment.

Christina Whiting said...

Hi B. Absolutely! I'm encountering "stories" on a daily basis and am falling deeper and deeper in love with this city and its people who are open, friendly, encouraging and inspiring!

Mom said...

This is so good - to meet the real people of New York, even without yet travelling there!