Charles Bernstein’s subway poem powers up our second season of “Car Poems.” With jarring beats that capture the physical rhythms and disorientations of commuting, this 31st installment electrifies the subterranean struggles of New York City’s strap hangers.


The Alphabet of the Tracks

A’s on the F

& D’s

the C,

but only

in sector B,


runs on N

till becoming

A again.

R’s local

on express,

otherwise it’s

think Q & G.

L skips

all stops while





shuffle bus

if available

or transfer

to V

when possible



weekend service

on M, T, & E

until June 22, 2023.

signal problems

on X: expect

delays on the Y & Z.

late night


suspended on every

other line

for an indeterminate



Charles Bernstein is the author of Pitch of Poetry (University of Chicago, 2016) and Recalculating (Chicago, 2013). He is Donald T. Regan Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is co-director of PennSound. His latest poetry collection, Near/Miss (Chicago, 2018), comes out next month.