sitting behind her on the bus
i am soak and wet
after walking ten blocks
in a winter downpour
i don’t believe in anybody or anything in that moment.
the bus driver tried to pass me up
and the two hispanic kids across from me
are making fun of my wet clothes and sideburns.
they think i don’t know
which just goes to show you
how dumb teenagers really are.
i think about turning on them
grabbing the uglier one by the collar
putting the fear of god in him.
but i’m too tired.
and i’m broke.
besides what would all of the old ladies think?
so i sit there behind her
as she talks on her cell phone.
whoever it is on the other end
has got it bad for someone
she keeps reassuring the person
she says don’t worry you have a lot of soul
and you’re very spiritual.
if he doesn’t see that
then you need to pack it up and move on.
you have so much soul, he should see that.
this is what she does on the bus
as we go up fifth avenue in the rain.
she keeps reassuring.
she keeps telling this person
that they have soul.
the hispanic kids laugh again
and i know it
i just know they are laughing at me.
they don’t have any soul, i think.
why in the fuck aren’t they in school today?
you have a lot of soul, she says.
and if he doesn’t see it
you need to hit the road, she says.
just like that.
hit the road.
absence makes the heart grown fonder
at seventy-fifth street the bus stops and i make to get off.
i can feel the hispanic kids’ eyes on me.
i’m waiting for them to shout something.
christ, this is like high school.
i turn back to stare at them
but their heads are down.
i look at the woman on the phone.
she has a kind face.
so much soul, she says.
then she lifts her head and gives me a nasty look.
she knows a lot about the soul, i think.
she knows what rests deep in the pit of me.
it’s black and unforgiving
i hope i can wash it away
when i get back out there in the cold and rain.