The Platform

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The artist’s feet hang off the platform. “South to 95th” breaks the horizon at an empty Harrison station. He checks his phone: 2:30 am on a Tuesday. His boots, brown as the soil he came from, bleed against the floor, blue mixed with dark sienna, a sky trampled by hell hounds racing towards the throat of god.

“Halsted Street Car” dances in his head as the train roars against the tracks. The noise,
deafening, consumes his soul, shaking him as he remains still. “Find for your pencils a way to mark your memory of tired empty faces.”

A shattered reflection from a mirror of rain lies between the tracks. Eyes, eighteen years old, stare, hopeless, back towards him. They yell, “you will die in this gutter, so why not now”.

Tossed aside, ripped apart idealism, stubbornness, and hope, caught in a hole of broken
faith looking at a world offering no love: tears stream off the artist’s face, salt mixing with rain, screaming obscenities at the world he loved.

“Tired of wishes, empty of dreams”, the ideas of Sandburg, helplessness, loss of hope,
loss of faith, loss of belief in a world that no longer believes in him. The light of the train enters the puddle, illuminating the artist’s eyes, sparkling sky blue. His heart hammers as remnants of wind touch his face. Struggling, he grasps, scratches at any reason to leap backwards, to stagger off the platform, run up the stairs towards the city streets.

He steps backwards as the metal, hot as ice, touches his cheek. The pain explodes,
ricocheting across his skull.

The artist wakes up on Tuesday morning. Confused, he falls out of bed. Afraid, he rises
towards the mirror. He stares with turquoise emeralds, whispering the words of “Halsted Street Car”: “Take your pencils, and draw these faces.”

“Artists are alive, not to die in their pain, but to document it. They must rip themselves
apart, leaving their pain on film, on stage, or bleeding their soul drop by agonizing drop onto the
page.” (Brock Stillmunks/CoS Student)

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