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Ticket Paper Notes 2007 | Nate East

I took a Chinatown Bus to New York, then the Metro North train to New Haven and got there around midnight so the antique lobby was empty, the shiny wood benches and train-station clocks silent as a painting, and Troy told me he’d swing by in a Yale shuttle so I shivered outside by the road in the dark and eventually a bus came to collect me like some kind of Totoro night-visiting the previous century.

On the bus ride to New York from Virginia, I had listened to the same four-song playlist on repeat for six hours, and stared hypnotized out the window at the smoke of Baltimore and the primeval woods that line the highway, and later the sun set behind some wild river and I was unable to write a single sentence in my notebook or focus at all on my econometrics textbook.

There’s an all-night restaurant across the street from campus where a heavy plate of steamed dumplings with peanut sauce only costs three bucks.  The roof of the architecture department is accessible from a maintenance stairwell and is crowded dangerously with plastic chairs.  I slept my three nights in an unoccupied dorm room in a concrete tower and I had my own steel cot with hammock springs and iron-and-glass folding windows that didn’t keep out the frost.

On the last day of my trip, we walked a few miles to a forest preserve and hiked a trail up to the top of a wooded hill in the fog clouds above the city.  The distant coastline looked like a cell membrane in a biology textbook diagram, separating the nucleus of the land from the surrounding rippling fluid.  The wooden houses below were old and ponderous and sagged over their porches like beer-bellies.  The only sentence I wrote during the entire trip was “The Dead Shall Rise,” which is scripted ornately into the marble gate of the cemetery behind Yale.

Nate East has been writing, photocopying and stapling ‘zines of his poetry for a long while, and these small books can be found in free-boxes and trash piles all over San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland.  He has previously been published in Dogzplot and The Northville Review.

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