I’m on a bus, he said. It’s like that bus in ‘Speed’. It can never stop. It can’t slow down. It can’t pick up passengers. It tears through the countryside in a purple blur. You don’t get a chance to take it in. There’s no such thing as a ‘breather’. There are no rest stops. The driver never sleeps. You’re more hostage than passenger. I’m on a bus, he said. And the bus is me.
The bus shelter at the end of our street grinds its teeth at night.
Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale
of drunks and suicides,
of lycanthropes baying at the full moon,
of lonesome Lotharios weeping in their fists
I talk to it too about my problems
Of the jig-saw days when pieces don’t fit
Of the times when your heart races
Like a wildebeest on the veldt
But latches onto nothing.
After a while we both settle
and I head off home
beneath a lopsided moon.
I tried writing a poem once about a running joke. It was just ahead of me as the best poems are. I sprang off my writer’s block and ran after it with my butterfly net and my blue bucket of hope; but I was out of condition and this one really had legs. It waved back to me as it disappeared in a cloud of dust over a nearby hill.
Like water trickling
down a sink I find myself
The vivacity of verbs
The hulk of hard nouns
The ribaldry and racket of the non-standard
The irruption of oddities
The salty tang of sentences
A strange brew of language
Found from ‘Trainspotting’ to ‘A Clockwork Orange’
To the poetry and plays
of C J Dennis.
The great roads do not have them:
The Road Less Travelled,
The Yellow Brick Road,
The Road to Damascus.
Nor the vinyl ones:
John Denver’s ‘Country Roads’,
‘The Highway to Hell’,
The Beatles’ ‘The Long and Winding Road’.
Only the lesser roads have them:
The pot-holed, crumbling ones,
The ones we have to travel: