Commuter Hell

by Lee Passarella

She had come to that state where the horror of the universe and its smallness are both visible at the same time…

—A Passage to India

A stew of sky has choked the 19th floor;
the town clock boiled to ochre, a dying sun.
Drawn through the day’s last maze at half-past four,
you bound from shock to shock until…you’re done

with lab-rat patience. Gloomily, you note
the seedy architectural collage,
the urban cut-and-paste, abandon hope
for more sublimity than lurks in hodge-

podge enclaves where our helter-skelter lives
just map behaviorists’ old sweet/sour ploy—
“avoidance and approach,” in psycho-jive—
the gauntlet run for paychecks and the joy

of schoolboy freedom, as you thread the gray-
ing streets to reach the light at the end of day.

© 2007 by Lee Passarella







About the Author

Lee Passarella acts as senior literary editor for Atlanta Review magazine and as associate editor for the new literary journal FutureCycle Poetry.

Passarella's poetry has appeared in many periodicals and ezines. Swallowed up in Victory, his long narrative poem based on the American Civil War, was published by White Mane Books in 2002. It has been praised by poet Andrew Hudgins as a work that is "compelling and engrossing as a novel." Passarella's poetry collection The Geometry of Loneliness (David Robert Books) appeared in 2006. His poetry chapbook Sight-Reading Schumann will be published by Pudding House Publications later this year.

Lee Passarella's website:


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