Broken tap


Different conversations become one watered down stream.

Words by & artwork by Jessica Cairo

As I sit quietly on this uncomfortable plastic corner seat

here on the New York subway,

the world passes by unaware that anyone else is listening.


The conversations present act like they are alone with their words,

because if you look around, most of the surrounding gazes are hooked on screens

and ears have been injected by doctor Dre’s beats.


When the sun falls, conversation rises

After dark, language becomes private in public and public in private.


There is something honest about the night.


“I can’t make meaning from it….

that’s messed up…

when he walks in a room everyone goes quiet…

you haven’t got a choice…

he’s such a creep…

it’s like they don’t sleep in the same bed or something… it’s lonely and scary…

his lawyer felt bad at first…

frame him up on the avenue…

I’d stick some metal in him…

3 months?…

good for her…

she’s not on the verge of death anymore…”


Like a broken tap I dip and drop,

different conversations become one watered down stream.


unheard directions

unrepeated subway stations

unwanted music


Sounds start to disappear when I’m attracted to someone.


Interrupted by un-oiled wheels

screeching along the tracks

echoes the sound of dry skin squeaking into an icy bathtub.


The crisp sound of wafer paper turning in my notebook travels to the end of my ink drying pen.

I can almost hear the ink running out in the race of my heartbeats,

filled with the anticipation of an unfulfilled steam of meditative chaos.


Hollow laughter that has smoked too many cigarettes bellows through this metal chamber,

deflecting from the solid

and turning into an emulsion that glues some eyes for a split moment.


Ears become increasingly itchy

in attempt to find the solution to the problem.


Laughter is a questionable sound in a space full of upside-down smiles.


Quarters clinking between unclean fingers

brings upon an awkward silence that ignores a distant reality,

unaccepting of the thoughts that often offer a kind word, because it’s inconvenient to draw attention to yourself.

So keep quiet.


This is where the sounds of silence shout within the city.


I study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in London. I spend most of my time listening to The Cleaners From Venus and drawing pictures that would probably really freak out my grandma.