An Urban Moment

df1e3ed749e45cb9fe00caf25e26bfcfOn the E Train
Three Young Black Kids get on
and clear an area of the crowded train

“Showtime!” “Showtime, Folks!”
They plug their ipod into tiny portable speakers

I smile remembering the size of the BoomBoxes the youth of my generation had to carry
And we thought them pretty innovative — a cassette player with which you could leave your Home and take it with you…
And Cassette Tapes… So convenient. So portable.
To these three youths, the machines in my mind are no different from a harpsichord.

An older Caucasian woman — maybe 70 — wearing an orange coat, starts to get up, concerned that she could be injured by the potential wildness of what they might do.
“Nah. Yuh Good! Yuh Good!” One of them assures her with a smile, helping to seat her back down.
Next to her sits a very elderly Caucasian woman — maybe ninety — with a cane.

The Loud Music begins.
They dance.
They Celebrate doing what they most Love in the World.
They twirl on poles and hang from the top bars
Do hat tricks
And one flips his shoe onto his head and back to his foot.
He misses.
“One Mo Time! One Mo Time!” he reassures us,
as he performs the trick again,
this time successfully.


One of them reaches out a friendly fist toward a middle-aged, heavy-set African American Man who does not meet his fist with the friendly bump of his knuckles the young man is expecting.
The Young man encourages him.
“We good? We Gooood?”
But the passenger sits immobile, staring at the young man with severe and disapproving eyes.
One of the other performers jumps in and bumps the young man’s hand, so he is not left hanging, and says something cheerful and encouraging.


The older woman in the orange coat sits frozen with discomfort
Her face, growing increasingly stern,
Contorts into a Queen-Victoria-We-Are-Not-Amused Look.
The Elderly woman with the cane hits her in the shoulder for being a spoil sport.
She herself is bopping along to the beat, delighting in the youthful energy and vigor on display.

The Kids finish their extended routine.
They pass the hat.
I empty all the change in my pockets.
And I tell them they are Full of Wonder!

Subway Dancers Of New York

I remember a time when these interruptions to my subway ride seemed as annoying to me as they did to the Caucasian woman in the orange coat
or the middle aged African-American man.
But today, I am trying to live more like the 90 year old woman with the cane.
I am Awake.
And I see that my Life is touched by Magic.

Is you Life touched by Magic Today?



Leave a comment


  1. Teresa

     /  March 25, 2014

    Arnold, you are such an inspiration! I so enjoyed listening to you on our Sark calls. You make my heart open & smile…I just luv you!


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