On the Monorail
by Rudi Dornemann
Leave your half-empty, half-cooled styro of coffee as an offering to the Man on the Monorail. He’s said to ride the fluorescent aisles of the metrotran ceaselessly, always seeking — never finding — a platform that isn’t just a transfer point, a destination that isn’t just a place on the way to somewhere else.
Riding, always riding, never to see a landscape that doesn’t have his own Perspex-reflected face layered over it. The mirror-chrome office pylons like tethering posts for clouds. Fields of solar panels stretching away to the horizon like an ocean of gleaming shadow. Immense self-assembled geodesics like jewel-faceted mountains. Always the image of his eye like a moon in a noon-blue sky.
The stories say he lives on stale donuts and cup noodles out of the machines in the back cars of the intercity routes. The stories say the conductors turn a blind eye; the stories say he used to be one of them, still wears the blue coat, stripped of buttons or insignia, still mutters the station names to himself in an endless loop that might be curses, might be prayer.
Out you go, down the stairs, through the streets, away into the crowd, while he rides, settled on the vinyl seat patched with peeling tape, head drowsing against textured aluminum panels etched and markered with signatures and slogans, tags that label the world with names. If he has a name, no one remembers it. The monorail glides, night-silent, through the city skyline, and he rides. He rides, seeking.