I don't drive; it's one of the many ways in which I am deficient. Consequently, I spend a lot of time on trains and buses. A few years back I thought I'd put that extra time to use by writing a book of poems written exclusively during my commutes. That's the rule I gave myself; the only poems I'd include had to be at least drafted while travelling.
I never got around to printing the book but I wrote down a lot of words. Like, a lot of words. What follows is a sample of my commuter poetry.
What if the train doesn't move but the stations do?
That would certainly change the meaning of “stationary.”
Bah Hamburgh was a town that outlawed
A Salvation Army Santa made off with the mayor's wife or horse.
I'm keeping my eyes open
Rail riding rappers and raconteurs
I'm maintaining a sharp
Watch out for
Angelic sinners and
Drunken angel lyrists
On the prowl
Both the idly prolific
And the productive idlers
Searching the stations
Scribbling scribes and
Wriggling writhers unaware
Of their own insane arrhythms
Scott and Brian.
I've fallen in love with both of the women on this train;
Tired bundled beauties in puffy ski jackets.
Not as deeply as I fell for the bicycle mechanic who came into my bar
Tonight, drunk but absolutely lovely.
There's something about a woman
Who cycles, beyond her
Tight thighs and taught ass,
That convinces me to ruin my life for her.
It'll take days to get her out of my head.
A rubber band that snaps,
Unfocused and untraceable,
When an idea struggles for form
Stretches across patience,
When a bladder is full
And the train behind schedule.
I met a lady on the Rapid
Who was so attached to her
She referred to all other
As uPhones or theirPhones.
She identified with it so much she began to use the word
In regular conversation:
Went to the store,” or
Don't think you should be using your banana that way.”
Once she said she looked in the mirror
And swore she saw a little white
In her eye, which needed a corrective lens;
She downloaded an
And now it's fixed.
If you love it so much,
Why don't you?
Do camels always have the uncomfortable feeling that they have to pee?
That would be awful for the camel
I bet they'd prefer to be a horse.
Once I saw a camel with a leak.
Her rider always had wet pants and the only way people
new it was water from the camel and not the man
Was because the camel never spit
And was perpetually asking for a tall glass of lemonade.
Friends tried patching her hump with an inner-tube patch kit
but the rubber cement wouldn't stick to her fur.
Eventually the desert ran out of lemonade and and she moved to Florida.
Her rider stayed in the desert and bought a new camel.
To rediscover the lonely
Rhythms that drove the saddest alone
Those far-gone burnt hours spent watching
Through the window the shadow
Of an oak wasting from right to
Left across horsenettle and burdocks
With an illustration unaccomplished
Pleading from the desk
An unconnected whirring hard
Drive searing a blank pale glow over ink-stained carpet
A strung and tuned guitar silently humming
To watch her move, A slinky
intangible sort of delight, is
to have painted the Mona
Lisa with broken fingers.
To hear her speak,
Nasal and pedestrian,
Is to have felt the fantastic-
Ally mundane; she gives voice
To thoughts enthralling to
Inebriated reptilian. To
Gaze upon her face, beautiful;
As are we all
At 22, is
To glimpse a taught-skinned numpty.
Her lips upon mine
Would be analogous to an activity I think
I would find some pleasure in.
The Cleveland rail system looks like
A chicken's foot. The national rail system looks like
The nation with a sea in the middle. The NYC subway looks like
A brier patch. Chicago looks like a star whose rays extend
Across the country in every direction
(There are eight).
You need to have a good opening line- maybe it comes last, because a closer is most important
(either way it begins with a smile or an unspoken greeting writ in a glance). Next comes a frantic snipping of content; no one has any use for ineffectual words. Sleep on it. Question it. Doubt it. Cut it, regret it. Return
to the encounter and start again; pawing, biting, and running. Settle on the best you can scent with
flowers and cum and close the book. How else to make a poem or a love affair?
Everyone wants something
For nothing and when they get something they think no one gave them anything
and resent anyone who has nothing.
Everybody's taking but nobody's giving
and I'd rather have somebody's nothing than a nobody's something,
Can I have some?
Nobody wants to be treated like a nobody by anybody but everybody
Can't be somebody. Let's face it,
Some bodies really are nobodies.
I'd rather be somebody's nobody
Than nobody's somebody.
You're somebody to me
But I'm not anybody.
You said you would
Nap under the long shadow of a late afternoon elm
Don't set a clock you instructed let the mosquitoes wake me at dusk
A bead of sweat ran between your shoulder blades and disappeared behind
Your bra strap I brushed an ant from your knee but you said it was cute
I apologized and was certain you wanted me
To kiss you I didn't of course but closed my eyes
It wouldn't be fair to say I pushed
You but I did force you down
The stairs I was gentler than I would have liked.
Not like your tiny hands
Around my throat or curled into tiny
Blooming fists nor the river
Rainstorm that made us turn the canoe
I gave you my floppy hat before hoisting us up
River you said this is romantic I thought
It wasn't quite as romantic
As when you wore the homemade dress I could see
Up Dylan Cleveland '04 you weren't wearing any panties and when I drove
You home I was a perfect
The way you were just after I sunk
My first sailboat you made a scrapbook out of the ship's
Log with photos I'd never seen
Before I hid a tear and you said I'll get another one soon a bigger one
And at that moment kissing
My bruises I never loved
You more do you remember how I could
Never say No to you or any other
Woman we had some real
Knock down fights about where I was catching
My late night buzzes some nights you'd hide
Razors under our pillow while you waited for me
You never intended
To use them I know you just wanted
To show me you were thinking
About their sharpness and it was all my fault.
The Rapid's punctuality
To the in-
Verse of my own;
Thus, I am perpetual-
In the cold.
My bar is a home for those who live alone;
A place to go when a bed and a bath, while fine,
We will not permit to name things to be left untied.
When the glass never empties, the stool is a mother shown
The son who fast, won't stray.
With the bar maid a wife and the bottle a babe,
Love here is a patient pot on the stove.
The loneliest number,
Is the sexiest number that you'll ever do.