Werner Herzog’s Dispiriting Haikus for the New York Subway

Life’s pointless anguish in 17 syllables

James Klein
Published in
1 min readOct 28


Images licensed from Shtterstock

We rush to our doom
Realizing too late that
We’re on the express

The brakes screech and squeal
But at least I can’t hear the
Screaming in my head

What is that dripping
On the floor from that man’s pants
I hope it’s soda

A packed subway but
Everyone alone with their
Annoying earbuds

The tunnels are dark
And full of secrets like why
No trains are coming

The platform smells like
Shame, regret, and misery
But also urine

Frozen sewage thaws
In the Spring when you can smell
Everyone sweating

You can’t understand
The conductor’s announcement
Fueling your panic

Filthy seats stick to
My skin or else I am the
Filth that sticks to them

Conductor walks past
So I think no one’s driving
We’re going to die­­

More from James Klein:



James Klein

My dog thinks I’m cool. Humor in McSweeney’s, Slackjaw, Points in Case, Greener Pastures, and others. All of it at jameskleinhumor.com.