Thuli Zuma on the Q Train
The train doors open. We board the Q cool as a pinstripe suit, we use different doors, scattering ourselves randomly about the car.
As the doors close I become painfully aware of the fact that I would never make it in any sort of espionage work; the excitement terror and anticipation burn on my face clear as a babies conscience. It takes all my effort to keep the corners of my mouth from curling up in a smile. This is going to be a train ride unlike any other.
There is something terrifically terrifying and deeply liberating about sharing your art with a car full of unsuspecting commuters who have not asked for it. Perfect strangers going about their separate endeavors, headed in different directions unified for a time by the complete happenstance that they find themselves on this particular Saturday afternoon, to be on this specific train, in this exact car, at this precise moment. I found that it called from me an absolute kind of sincerity.
This is the deal being offered: I will share with you a piece of my work of myself, unassumingly and honestly, if, you will listen. An when the deal is accepted by both parties the transaction is a beautiful thing to behold; strangers, just as human as each other, barely acknowledging one another mere seconds before, now slowly opening themselves up to this moment, sharing in this experience, writing and reading together a common story.
While exiting the train on one of our rides into Brooklyn, a lady turned to me and said, “This is the best thing that ever happened on a train in 19 years.” I have only been riding the New York subway for a year and a half but I have to agree.
I was moved not just by the artists and the work they shared on that train, but also by the people who received it for that is where art lives in the space between the giver who recieves just as the receiver gives.
This experience opened a door in me, showing me anew how ‘all life is a possibility if you’ll only discover it’.
What a day.
What a ride.
What a trip.
Thuli Zuma. Poet, Actor, part time Awesome.ist and full time Human Being. You can follow Thuli on Twitter at @thulibird