Saturday, 12 January 2013

Bus note 36

Young man turns
to witness to Jesus Christ
on late bus back.
        There's us set
        in our dull post-work opacity;
his stupid valour and open face
and his compulsion (very old).
        "A bus is not a church",
        an old soak says,
        eyes sharp for now.
Girl with steady crew cut
in seat next to me
spits worded acid
with hurts on show.
        Then a small man about my age
        (West African, I guess)
        says softly, "Let him speak.
        It matters to him."
The disquiet goes on like something familial.    
        Faces get much closer, the air
        thick with odd ephemeral intimacy
I'm off by St Germain's
as the enmity flowers behind,
very garish and exciting.


  1. Testimony is testimony, no one's ever the worse for it. A bus may as well be a church, and why not. Acid spitting girl perhaps ought to alight at the junction of Portland and City Roads and have a bit of a roll about there on the greenswards of St Germains -- evidently quite lush, though of course the satellite eye seems to bring to bear an eternal summer always.

    To exit at a moment of flowering enmity leaves hope for a wild bloom in one's wake. An ephemeral intimacy, surely that is something to water and let grow...

  2. You're right, Tom. This wasn't some slick money hungry sort speaking. The burning coal had touched his lips.

    Taking such a risk in speech is valour and this young man made that whole space alive. Maybe stupid was a sharp word to use. A cool distance is often nothing more than fear dressed up.

    The Wooden Girl follows your thinking closely, particularly in regard to the possible consecration of the 127 at that moment. There were a good few revisions in the light of our conversation. She pushed me to be more faithful to the event and I'm glad of that.

  3. "the air/ thick with odd ephemeral intimacy"

    I like this and the entire poem very much; thanks, WB.

  4. Thank you, Vassilis. Great to hear from you.

  5. WB: 'Twas a wild bloom. I'm certain of it. Fine poem.

  6. Cheers, Jonathan.

    I like dog roses better than their more cultivated cousins.