TEXT, POEM, AND IMAGES BY JANE POTTHAST
For a long time, I worked somewhere different each day. I spent long hours on the subway, commuting from location to location. Collecting one lonely descent after the other, hours spent zoning in and out of the rhythmic haul of the trains, I started to feel like I occupied two worlds, spending half my time in the one belowground. Finding myself stuck in this closed circuit of city gears, I had nothing else to do but notice the strange aesthetics of this underworld. A decayed, metal kind of beauty started cutting through my boredom. Over time the strange textures, empty vaults, and vanishing gridlines turned into a series of prose poems and photographs. This poem was the first of a few experiments with the infinite aesthetic possibilities to be found underground.
Subway Poem 1.
I used to stare endlessly at those ripped layers of torn poster on the subway.
There was no story or emotion in this act. Just staring.
Sometimes I’d run my fingers over the texture, an absent-minded fixation
with the random arrangements of paper, peeling into an infinity of angles.
The depth of this contained chaos bewildered me. Why does no one else stare?
Tiniest corners of industrial dust piling on its own rust, releases such precious modes of color.
I found worlds in a corner, rendered softly in the flowering decay of advertisement.
Jane Potthast is a writer, student, and Ars Poetica poet based in New Haven, Connecticut. Jane has a B.A. and M.A. in comparative literature from Goldsmiths, University of London, and began further studies in religion and literature at Yale Divinity in September 2020. Jane prefers writing fiction, but regardless of the form or subject, she mostly approaches her work as a vessel for the exploration of spiritual themes. She hopes to channel the divine through her work, and repents often for spilling gin on her Bible.