The Art of the Bus Stop

It was to be his last day, he dreamed, a phantasmagorical dream
recurred, after a cup of coffee, in wakeful brain, a near belief in seizure.

How would he spend his last day? He should limit his options,
if chance proved him a fool tomorrow, build a hedge of porcupines.

But if today’s feeling did not pass, his options were not so limited.
He could fly anywhere, stay in a Six Star hotel in bikinied Marseilles,

fly to romance Rome and get in line for a final Papal blessing,
parachute into the Mojave desert, jump off Saddleback Mountain,

surf the Banzai Pipeline – like in the old days, take the board out.
Who would dare cut off an old man on a wild wave on his last day?

He got his surfboard out of the deep basement, his lovely wife still sound asleep.
He walked down to the bus stop. He waited with his surfboard on the poetic bench,

beneath the ancient acacia tree. The bustling bus came but the discreet driver said no
to his putting the untethered surfboard in the bike rack on the front of the bus.

He went back to waiting at the busy bus stop, and this is how he passed
his penultimate yesterday, talking to bussers about the art of surfing.

Related Posts: Winter is icummen in, Lhude sing Line 15
Reading Roland Barthes’s Writing Degree Zero on Line 15


    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks, Lisa. We look before and after,
      And pine for what is not
      Rain these days still, but supposed to be very warm this weekend, sudden heat, like landing in Ione!
      I’ve lost the South link, in case you were wondering what “we look before and after…” is all about.
      Where’s the South blog?

  1. Fiona Wright says:

    With board at bus stop – I appreciate how he lets the world come to him.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Fiona! And I just actually got off of Line 15 about 15 minutes ago, having taken it down to one of the local markets. Muggy out, but the beer in my bag was cool on my lap riding the bus back up the long hill. The world does come to you riding on a bus.

  2. Dan Hennessy says:

    I like this one . Also , somehow loosely related : X Swami X lies in hospice in City Councilman Rosenthal’s house in Venice , awaiting his last day ( Only related because you sent me a Swami link some time ago ).

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Thanks, Dan. Wow, sorry to hear about XSwamiX. Is he anywhere near Pacific and Rose?

  3. … Who would dare cut off an old man on a wild wave on his last day? …
    … he passed his penultimate yesterday, talking to bussers about the art of surfing …

    Touching, love the beautiful wistfulness of the poem, and these lines.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      So, the day I posted this, toward evening, I take Line 15 down to the grocery, 2 miles. I hop off the to-downtown bus, shop, have a nice conversation with one of the workers there about the Mariners, because I’m wearing my Mariners retro 1977 team hat, which he comments on, and nothing will do but I have to tell him about the time I saw the A’s and Mariners in the Kingdome and saw Jose Canseco and Mark McQwire hit back to back homers, and saw the M’s take out Texas in a final game of the strike year, forcing the playoff. Pandemonium, as loud as the day they razed the place. Anyway, I digress and dawdle, and as I leave the store, there’s the from-downtown bus, just passing, but in a long line of cars, so if I run the block, cross the street, should be able to get in front of it, flag it down, hop aboard. I go for it, grocery bag act, passing a group of beer drinkers on the corner, and begin to provide a bit of entertainment. How to get across the street without causing some mishap. Here comes the bus. Will it catch the light red, giving me the advantage? I navigate the perils like a surfer in the soup. I go around the rear of the bus, all the while bag of groceries in hand, mind you, and just as I get to the back door of the bus, waving my bus pass, off the bus goes, leaving me at the curb. Oh! the beer drinkers cry out, as if I’d been thrown out at home plate. One problem with walking back home is that the entire distance is up hill. I start walking, enjoying my legs, toting the grocery bag. It’s mid-season; no worries. In a couple of blocks, though, a new bus. I get on, sit down, the grocery bag on my lap, the coolness of the cold beer seeping through the bag, cooling me off.

  4. Surfing under memory, amazing what comes from wearing a Mariners retro 1977 team hat.
    And catching the bus wave :) Surfing’s in your blood.

    1. Joe Linker says:

      Too much that magic bus.

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