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When the Plows Can't Keep Up With the Drifts

What a Glorious Blizzard

by MITCHEL COHEN

What a glorious, glorious old time blizzard!

It is sooooo beautiful, this Brooklyn, and the plows can’t keep up with the drifts.

In returning from Manhattan, where I went to see the film "Social Network" with Howard B.,I boarded the D train around 8:45 pm which then decided to go on the N tracks.

And then, just before arriving at my station (Bay Parkway)where I was to switch to a bus under normal circumstances, it came to a stop. And we sat.

And sat.

Two hours later, with people in my car starting to grumble (and none more than the great conductor, Joanna) she was finally able to get through on her failing radio — they prohibit cell phone calls to Control (I thought I was in "Get Smart").

They said the switches were frozen stuck (it wasn’t THAT cold out). I offered to pee on them to steam them up — after 3 hours I had enough stored up (thank you for sharing, Mitchel!) — and sought volunteers.

Suddenly the announcement came that the train would move slowly up to the next of the 9 trains stuck in a line, and after another 1/2 hour we were all able to walk through our train and into the next one (surprisingly, no one fell through the gap!) and walked the gauntlet through the entire train to the very last door which just barely reached the back edge of the station.

And so I ran to the bus stop to catch the #6, but of course there were no buses running.

So we walked, our small D train army — after using the toilet in a friendly Chinese restaurant.

And walked.

And walked. As I said, it was cold and windy, but glorious! Cars strewn all over the roads and abandoned, plows unable to clear the streets fast enough, the burning stench of rubber — or is it polyvinyl something-or-other? — filling the air from the futilely spinning tires.

Around 2 miles of trudging later I made it home to Cropsey Ave. in Bensonhurst – 1:30 a.m.

Here’s a poem I wrote years ago, as fitting today as ever, from my book "The Permanent Carnival":

PLOWING THE SNOW

In Brooklyn, snow is plowed
soon as it falls. Uninspired monitors
measure every inch.

What is the name for snow,
you who so adeptly sweep aside the beauty
as though there’s nothing to be learned?

Do you know the true names of things?
What is it that gushes but does not weep?

In Brooklyn, moon is clogged
with drizzling soot. Beneath the boardwalk,
a man stares up between the cracks.

What is the name for touch,
you who so adeptly sweep aside all warmth
as though there’s nothing to be learned?

Do you know the true names of things?
What is it that dies but is reborn?

In Brooklyn, rush-hour milieu
crushes into the trains, transport to boredom
MetroCard Gold

What is the name for movement,
you who so adeptly sweep aside revolt
as though there’s nothing to be learned?

Do you know the true names of things?
What is it that moves but goes nowhere?

In Brooklyn, Bloomberg sweeps the streets
of loiterers. If you are not at work
you are arrested.

What is the name for freedom,
you who so adeptly sweep aside the homeless
as though there’s nothing to be learned?

Do you know the true names of things?
What is it that produces but never owns?

In Brooklyn, it snows too quick
to be removed at once. Alternate
side of the street parking

Suspended today.

MITCHEL COHEN is an organizer with the Brooklyn Greens / Green Party, and is currently Chair of the WBAI radio (99.5 FM)  Local Station Board*.  (*For ID purposes only)