On the C last night, every male in our car had a look of intense abjectness. One guy in his forties with an expression as though something he cared about deeply had been taken away with incontrovertible, unfair irrevocability. Another -- early thirties -- beamed with an intense scheming anger. Another -- mid twenties: numb withdrawal and denial. They seemed to represent some negative trinity of pre-middle age male life cycle. What are the stories behind these expressions?

The amount of brainpower we've evolved to identify and process human expressions must be considerable. What is the result of these thousands of expressions that pour into our minds from a simple commute? This must have a major effect in any poetry where the writer is working in a context of urban density.

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