Saturday, 15 December 2012

Bus note 32

To myself out loud,
walking down the aisle:
"I am a ghost".
        The phrase repeated;
        Tired in bad light.
There's torn newspaper everywhere.
        A young Staffy trembles
        beneath the fold-down seat
of a well dressed girl
with blue-black beret
above an emptied face.
        Some stupid conversation
        about free and fair trade
        carries from two seats behind.
Then two young girls come on
speaking a form of French. L'Afrique.
        A little tentative, taking seats
        a small way apart as they talk,
their faces become
those of friends slowly.
        Imagined: thin green ribbon
        cats-cradling them.
Make it hold for a long time.



  1. This is quite beautiful, the development from disembodiment (familiar, almost routine bus sensation) to the beginnings (at least) of a sense of communion. If only imaginal, but still.

    Can't blame you for feeling ghostly, nor for feeling exhausted. To be honest it's difficult to imagine where the place might be, whence you summon the courage to manage that work you do. Plainly it's spiritual... but the soul is such a lonely, vulnerable place. So: credit where due.

    (One venture out of doors this week, last night, cold rain, a bus full of disgruntled, barely socialized strangers, heading for downtown Oakland, worse luck. Several in the standard-issue camouflage-print rain capes dispensed to the homeless by social agencies, a token form of relief from the elements. Nobody saying anything. Small puddles forming beneath feet.)

  2. Thank you, TC.

    Sometimes that exhaustion leaves you a little less hungry for the particular event; you then write in the drift and are maybe there to catch the smaller signs. Only sometimes, mind.

    As far as the job's concerned, laughter's a good resource to call on, though it doesn't half take on a dark shade.

    So they're decking up the poor in uniform. A job lot I guess. I suppose one should be grateful there are still agencies around to do something. Many of the charities supporting the homeless in Birmingham have gone to the wall these last few years.

    Those moments when everybody on the bus looks steadily away from each other and the silence thickens the air are far too common.

  3. Well, pleasant as it might be to imagine we have public agencies with such benign purpose, in fact I think it's a roving van from private charity (Catholic indeed, as in those other, probably more merciful Middle Ages) provides the rain capes. Along with the nightly styrofoam cup of broth. Thin fare for lean times.

    The public agencies in fact would have the streets cleared of the human detritus if they were able. But bodies are difficult to make disappear.

    It's dipped down below freezing tonight. The homeless have gone into their burrows beneath the walls, if they have any, to shiver and dwindle if not disappear.

    About the job and the silence (that universal form of French), as is said on the street, I feel you.

  4. This is good to know, fellow traveller.