Friday, January 4, 2013

poem of the day 01.04.13


thinking that i’m done
with the bullshit of the day

i step on the bus with another human
prepared to read some william taylor jr.

imagining the first whisky in my hands
as i’m apt to do
on cold winter nights and warm ones alike

when the bus driver turns to us and says
do you think one of you can help me with the turns?

what do you mean by that? i ask him

the turns, he repeats
this is my first day on this route
and i’ve already messed it up twice
had people yelling at me all day

i look at the other human being on the bus
she shrugs and starts playing with her cell phone

so it’s me again like it’s always me
reluctantly drawn into the plot lines of someone else’s story

i sit in the front of the bus
where the old people usually congregate

the bus driver is sweating in his seat
even though it’s cold outside, cold in here

all he has in this day and age of GPS madness
is a simple paper map of the route

i’m determined to not screw this up again, he says

i’ll do what i can i tell him
forgetting the taylor jr.,
and a carefree ride to the comic book shop

soon the bus starts filling with more and more people
angry ones
the ones busy with the business of trying to get home
bus people who have no patience
for the slightest of mishaps

the bus driver is doing okay
but i’m a nervous wreck

my neck hurts from having it turned at an angle
to watch the black, neon-smeared night

plus i realized blocks into this adventure
that i don’t know the route so well myself

usually i have my head buried in a book
or music on, anything to zone out this part of my existence

shit, i didn’t know that one day there’d be a test
and think of adding bus routes to the stuff
that i should learn by heart

is this the turn? the driver suddenly asks me

i stutter
pop out of my seat
trying to see the bus sign in the shrouded distance
my stomach aching from the fear of being wrong

yes, i tell him
but i’m not sure

he turns the bus anyway, both of us relieved to be right

as we move on
the driver keeps chanting street names to himself
like a mantra

8th avenue
7th avenue
6th avenue

i’m saying them too
like they are prayer beads on a rosary

but he makes the turns without me having to tell him

he knows this route now
i’m happy that it’s coming back to me as well
we’re both learning and relearning something today
getting through the soup of human existence together

when we reach my stop
the bus driver sighs and shakes his head

you did it, man,  i tell him

i wait on him to say thank you
or i couldn’t have done with without you, dude

embrace me like a brother tested in combat
exchange names and addresses so that we can send
each other christmas cards next year

but all he says is
have a good night

unceremoniously opens the door to let me out
before continuing the journey on to the next stop

one that’ll soon become so old
so rudimentary

he’ll wish little pieces of his life away
for something just a tad bit different.


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