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John Kelly's Washington

Not Always a Verse to Metro

By John Kelly
Friday, September 24, 2004; Page C09

I don't want to give the impression that all of the poems I received in my Metro Poetry Contest bashed Metro.

Some celebrated Metro, pointing out how lucky we are to have it, how riding Metro sure beats fuming in traffic.

_____By John Kelly_____
Odes to the Underground (The Washington Post, Sep 23, 2004)
Help for Bears in Disrepair (The Washington Post, Sep 22, 2004)
In One Door and Not the Other (The Washington Post, Sep 21, 2004)
Answer Man: Boy ISO Government Girl (The Washington Post, Sep 20, 2004)
More Columns
_____Live Discussions_____
John Kelly's Washington Live (Live Online, Sep 24, 2004)
John Kelly's Washington Live (Live Online, Sep 17, 2004)
John Kelly's Washington Live (Live Online, Sep 10, 2004)

For example, there was this one, from a Metro Transit Police officer named D.G. Godinez:

Could you imagine no Metro?!

Cars would take over the place!

Could you imagine no Metro?!

It would be one big rat race!

Could you imagine no Metro?!

Traffic would be hell and I'm not lying.

Could you imagine no Metro?!

We have no smoking, eating or drinking . . .

So stop your crying!

And this one, from Cheryl Cusick of Hughesville, the wife of a Transit Police officer.

Our police are important to us

More than uniforms on the train or the bus

So obey the law!

Just eat on the Mall.

And please just stop making a fuss!

Here are some of my other favorites, including grand prize winner Bernie Green's delicious poem, which rewards reading aloud.

Though now I live far away,

my fingers still remember

the practiced tweak to retrieve the farecard

the exact car and door to board so that

the escalator to that long-ago job is at my feet when I exit

my first ride on the green line

the fact that the chimes on one vintage of train sounded a minor third

and on another a major third

homesickness comes in many colors

Laura E. Goodin, Thirroul, Australia

Indiana Jones'd

my way through the closing doors

but I lost my hat

Kevin Ruppenthal, Alexandria

The mournful chorus

Of doors closing from afar.

Missed my train again.

Jessica Calabrese, Arlington

The map of the Metro upon the first view's a

Little akin to the head of Medusa!

With one single look at this most daunting slalom,

Some freeze like a stately stone Washington column!

Phil Frankenfeld, Washington

Cheek to cheek and nose to bun --

isn't riding Metro fun?

Tricia Koles, College Park

Intern party plans

assault my ears going home

Metro calm destroyed

Pandora Murphey, Washington

Blue, Orange, Green, Yellow, Red.

Maps, signs. It all seems so rational.

My brain is active; I am not dead.

Just need to get to Reagan National.

As the train leaves the tunnel into daylight

Why is I-66 out the window on my right?

Jeff Covel, Arlington

I see a light down the long, dark tunnel.

So distant, so small.

There is silence.

I am compelled to go toward the light.

So peaceful, dominating.

The streams of light are getting longer, slowly.

I am full of anticipation.

I get closer and closer to the light.

Widening ball of glory.

I feel a strange wind coming on.

It speaks to me in spurts.

All powerful, knowing.

I am now completely surrounded by the light.

The sudden gust of wind provides total comfort, bliss.

I'm in heaven.

The train has arrived.

Janelle Beenken, Arlington

The Metro chimes warn customers:

The doors, they are a-closing.

Two notes that, when you ponder them,

Could use some recomposing.

Those notes begin this song, you see:

"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."

Who picked that unbefitting tune?

Sweet chariot, it's not.

With musty air and crowded cars,

Delay upon delay,

The Metro board should change the chimes

And should do so today.

They should reflect reality

And thereby give us pause.

How 'bout they make the door-chime tune

The scary theme from "Jaws"? (Bum bum, bum bum . . . )

Bernie Green, Silver Spring

Share your poetical thoughts during my online chat, today at 1 p.m. Go to www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline. E-mail me at kellyj@washpost.com.


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