Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Beautiful Morning in Portland: Cogitating on the Bus to Work

One day last week, instead of listening to my iPod or reading email on my Blackberry, I started thinking about a poem. Living with a poet brings that sort of thing to the fore, I suppose. Plus the day before I'd spent two hours catching up on podcasts of the Writer's Almanac, each with its own daily poem.

It's not that I believe I have any talent when it comes to poetry, but it's intriguing to me that short thoughts can be put together in a form that can bring an image to one's mind. If everything goes right, it can bring an image to someone else's mind as well. I've tried writing poems from time to time in the past and have found it to be fun, which probably means I'm not good at it or I would let it torture me. My greatest sucess, I think, was with a series of art cards where I wrote haiku to go with pictures I took on the beach.

Anyway, here's my latest try--tapped into my Blackberry as the bus rolled along--and helped immeasurably by my personal poet's eye and ear...

Mass Transit

I like the bus on Friday morning.
It glides to my stop
in the dark, mostly empty
because people are taking the day off
working maxi-flex or sick. In the dark,
I take and keep a seat to myself.

We fly down Broadway
like the bus in It Happened One Night,
but no one is singing
"The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze."
The pheasant-feather tam-o-shanter bus-saluter
at 5th and Everett is surrounded with
Keep Portland Clean cops chatting.
We miss our salute.
Does it happen every morning
and I see it only on this ahead-of-schedule day?

The 9 Broadway slips into line behind
A 4 Fessenden, an 8 NE 15th, and a 33 Fremont
for a schedule stop at 3rd and Couch.
We tap our feet.
We wait.
We kill
traffic-free-Broadway-won time
until we get the go to make our run on the mall
to stop at 3rd and Oak!
Alder Max! And finally, for me, Salmon Main!
This Friday morning no one takes my seat.
No vacationer, no maxi-flexer, no sickie
got on between there and here to claim
my spot.

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