Bus Story

by Peter Buckley

Inspired by poet Lydia Towsey’s performance of her excellent poetry on board Leicester buses tomorrow – more info here, regarding where you should be if you can be and if you’re local, and what you’re missing if you’re not.

I couldn’t read the signs as I tended to whiz by,
the dog sled track where “it snows all year!”
the car wash to make your 4×4 clean,
the green supermarket…

the sat-nav arrow
is pointed to opposing forces,
in your life,
at least on roads,
taking you, the automated voice, to
elsewhere but
not a place you’ll need to go.

The expensive sandwich stopped,
when lifeless bread loses the scent of home
in a service station,

then you’ll swear you followed the map,
and everyone there had their retinas scanned,
with nary a hello, nor a “nary” to-go,
a mumble of wondering
“what is a macchiato?”

And do you now care any more,
as sad as it seems now, as you did once…?
how far you have to go.

There’s a bus where I stared up at a fox fur scarf, a white fur coat
but we didn’t think to know, shockingly, if it was fake.
From this mass of fluffy fat, soft, imposing itself,
wearing a memory,
she produced a humbug mint –
she didn’t, she just gazed out of the window.

Her’s could be a bus of style dropped dead,
But like her then,
I wouldn’t know these passengers
if I saw them again.

But I said hello to a lady reading about molecules,
her son focussed intently
on a virtual penguin.

I didn’t know much about molecules
but said that science, I assume,
and the museum to which we were headed
were important
in some way I’d caught wind of –

a fart that couldn’t be helped and
can humanise your choice of transport.

I had one humbug mint, for myself.

An elderly lady had a smile
that only shifted with the inevitable bump.

A pregnant lady sat, contentedly, put-upon, lovingly rubbing her inevitable bump
like a crystal ball
when all the smoke machines are settled,
and the future comfortable, surprising,
where there’s a seat reserved for all of us,
sat upon.

Teenage friends scream for no good reason
every while, every yelp,
and eyes dart between each of them in code,
emoji of a joke I wouldn’t get.

I could counter-suggest a bald man’s wrinkled headline
that we’re both reading,
as he blusters in outrage,
and ruffles pages,
and some feathers.

and I’m afraid I have the ears of a spy
and the farts of an assassin.
I can’t ascertain who said what about cabbage.

But you are sitting in your service station,
forecasting that your satellite navigation
has queued up a you-turn, miles from your son at home,
a virtual penguin,
the dog sled snow,
the billboard you passed twice, saying
“take the bus
or know not
to ease into meditation
with people you know.”

Sheila’s eyebrows deep into a streamed documentary
saying she’ll have to miss that museum talk that
looked listen, listen
to the blameless satellite
head tied at the endless wheel,
and good night as you check in miles from everyone,
we ride sleepily home
past your small bedroom window.

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