people watching on the subway: decline

see myself

early morning Harlem
entering 125th Street station 
through the back on 127th

where there’s no longer a booth 
with a worker inside
a young man is loitering 
as I swipe at the turnstile
he threatens to cut me 
and calls me a “White Pear”
confused, I look back –

“That’s right, you heard me, faggot”
I keep walking down the stairs 
into the station
so, “White Pear” just means

that day
the rest of the time on the subway
with fight-or-flight instinct on
I’m in The Warriors-mode

and weeks later 
early morning Brooklyn
there is a Mass
on the N train
a 62-year-old nationalist 
puts a gas mask on, throws two smoke
and fires a handgun thirty-three times
injuring twenty-nine people

temporarily I develop 
a hobby
of jumping the turnstile whenever 
I don’t see any cops nearby
and it gives me an actual  r u s h

Pavel Frolov

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Pavel Frolov (He/Him) is a queer-identified New York City-based performer and writer. He holds a BA in Communication from Brooklyn College. Pavel’s recent poems have appeared online in oddball magazine, Lavender Review, Elevator Stories, Ariel’s Dream, Milk Carton Press, Visible Magazine, Poetry Festival and in print anthologies from Beyond Words & Wingless Dreamer. Also, Pavel’s CNF short story “The Appetite Zone or Penny Dreadful for a Marxist” was published in MIXED MAG Issue 13 this year.
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