You Get Off by Liam Spencer
The not yours flies past creating
a burst that drives rain, dirt, and leaves
into your frigid body
while you stand waiting too long,
eager for the warmth and rhythm
of the bus that’ll take you
south from the lovely city
where you live spartanly
a young woman stands distant
typing at her phone, but
you notice that she keeps looking
to see if you’re looking
but you’re not interested
and she looks sad.
Another woman walks up, smiles, and
asks if the 43 has been through
“No, haven’t seen it.”
Then she wants to know where you’re going.
She has smiley eyes and a nice body,
Early thirties, near her prime,
But you’re in love and taken,
Remembering that just an hour ago
You held her and kissed her goodbye
And now you miss her warmth,
And long for tomorrow
When you’ll have
her close to you again.
The damn bus is late, and you wonder
if it missed you somehow
and you think of giving up
staying home. damn appointment anyway
and yet, finally, doors open in front of you
and heat meets your wind whipped face
as you climb aboard.
There are few people and all try
To pretend they’re not checking out
Others on the bus. You look around
And wonder what their stories are
What their lives are like
Their wants, passions, hopes
They all seem lost, seeking, hoping
someone will find them, validate them
somehow. They say it in their eyes
there’s a desperation, yet they’re all young,
and very attractive.
More stops and more get on
As some pile out.
The bus rolls on through downtown
And you watch attractive and well dressed
People with seemingly nice lives
Going about their day as you imagine
They always do.
And you notice everyone seems
Attractive and well dressed,
And you don’t really want to leave
This area of the city
To go south, where thing are much tougher
And far less beautiful,
But you must make the appointment.
Then it happens. It’s as if
there came a line that was crossed,
and all the attractive people scurry off the bus,
pour out on the streets,
and race north, as if they are afraid
of being somewhere they’re not supposed
to be. And you sit there and watch
as the beaten down, downtrodden, and ugly
begin piling on the bus.
Their faces say so much
But their eyes say it all.
They’re not looking for acceptance or validation.
That has been dead for a long time
In them. There is no searching for hope
Or even longing or desire for beauty.
They face a day of pain and humiliation
And the bus rolls on, further south
And you realize it’ll be another day and a half
Before you hold her in your arms
And you remember the sweetness of her kiss
The disappointment in her face that you
Had to go away early that morning.
You count yourself lucky to have her
And try to focus elsewhere.
More people pile on the crowded and noisy bus
You check the time and route, trying to figure out
Where the hell you’re going
And when this journey ends.
Then you realize it is just beginning, really.
This is your new chapter.
The bus rolls on, and your back
Is now killing you, especially when the bus slows.
Some people argue behind you
And people turn and stare unkindly
To let them know they’ve violated unwritten rules
The arguers hush themselves and mere
mumbles are heard. You move to the front of the bus
to grab a schedule and get away from arguments.
The driver looks at a crossword puzzle at every red light.
She’s immersed in this misery too.
And the bus winds its way through narrow streets
Lined with plain and dreary houses
Where people merely exist and hold on as best they can
For as long as they’re able.
And finally the bus gets on a highway
It won’t be long now
And those remaining on the bus
Grow quiet as if appeased by some
Sort of progress in their lives.
exiting the highway brings back
the restless conversations,
and those exiting the bus outnumber
those climbing on by four to one.
Where the hell is your stop?
On and on and on and on
It seems to never end.
And you wonder if you’ll end up
like these people,drained of all hope,
denied a life, condemned to misery
and you understand now
the attractive people from earlier,
seeking, longing, searching, hoping
and you miss the her that has your heart
and you swallow as your thoughts
turn to the rotten fuckers that hold your future,
your hopes, your very life
in their incompetent hands that shuffle
paperwork that their empty, yet ruthless minds
cannot possibly comprehend,
yet they have absolute power
over you, over everything.
And you gear up to face one of them
Who’ll later kill you while smiling.
Your chest tightens. Your heart thumps heavily.
Your stop is next.
Wind whips leaves and dirt and rain
In circles, as the world waits
to batter you because you’re down
the bus pulls up, the doors open.
You get off.