the mines of Moria

the local tracks are all
under construction.
the express train crawls
past this work as if
it’s trying to show it to me –
yards and yards of tunnels
filled with the ever-present
graffiti and lit sporadically
with bright rows of temporary lights,
revealing the men – wearing
orange vests, toting flashlights
and camel-colored canvas bags,
scratching their heads
with gloved hands over a trolley
full of electrical devices – all working
through the night. sometimes
they’re tramping in single file,
sometimes they cluster in great
clumps, like ants on some
purposeful, yet ultimately mysterious
mission. I see secret doors
and ladders, hidden, scrawled glyphs
beneath the platform
of my own station, some full
of the detritus of construction
and others newly washed,
their ceramic tiles gleaming white
in the fluorescent lights
as a freshly brushed tooth.

long stretches of track are dark,
as gloomy and foreboding as
the mines of Moria. I imagine
the stories the workmen must
tell each other, the strange
things they’ve seen – C.H.U.D.,
alligators, mole people, rats
big as cats – and I see
just exactly how
the graffiti leaps out
at the viewer beneath
every far-flung, pale light:
strange, grinning demons,
aliens, jokers with wild,
subtly warped faces. there’s
a whole different world
down here, full of mystery.
I’m curious as a tourist,
eager to hear the hidden legends
and delve into their depths,
even if the closest I can get
is peering down from my
inconveniently express train
as this weird night world
unfolds around me.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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