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go greyhound

bus

I

i think i've forgotten how to write -
forgotten tomorrow -
forgotten yesterday -
it's easy to live in sleep -
eyes pace a roadway
going nowhere
among the masses
headed somewhere -

running away
on a bus
to the end of the line -
days of empty dreaming
mingled seats
(go greyhound)
mindless moving
to wake up
some place new -
to wake up
not knowing
who i am -

halifax -
i am patient
to let you rise
to meet the bus -
i am not alive yet
but soon (or late)
you will open
a cold winter shore
for feet -
with long streets
where thoughts
can move again -

i do not know you
in this half life -
i only know your name -
a name that will teach me
to live again -
a xerox-copy
searching for
reason to be.

II

blank face
blank floor
blank staring windows -
i sit staring
at the glasses on my nose -
they keep me
inside the body -
face numb -
fingers stroke cheeks
that do not feel -
ears hear voices
that seem not
to speak -
newspapers
radios
gone -
i sleep
removed
from reality -
rain
snow
sun
cloud
moon
light
dark
i am
(i think).

III

in one life past
was love
and love
and love -
in one life present
is not
is not
is not -

knees ache
in this coffin
on wheels -
feet inert
in sleep -

frozen
without the freeze -
no continuity
of dreams -
i go
wherever
nowhere
anywhere -
no song
no tune
no air.

IV

i let thoughts
walk backwards
to find their error -
i see
prairie grey
reflections
of you -
reflections
of green pastures
blue sky
cattle
laughter
and you -
working
gardens
tree and hills
and you -

i let thoughts
go forwards
following a highway
that cannot see -
then turn thinking off
to walk into a depot restaurant
of moving feet
and non-committal voices –

knowing you are not here
makes it easy
to smoke a cigarette
drink my coffee
and hang my mind
in the closet of my skull.

V

wandering
in and out of
nothingness -
ideas
infiltrate
a dull head
i am breathing
reason to be
alive –

out of a long black night
in sleepless rain
i find
a handle
on my senses
once again.

VI

a bone ring
binds the finger
of my left hand -
see -
a wedding ring -
(no it doesn't mean
dearly beloved i do)
it means
keep clear -
there is a chain (invisible)
attached -
to break the chain.
breaks me -
i am too used to it
to want to be free -
don't try to cut to the ring -
my life's blood seals it -

without ceremony
without kisses
i made a private marriage
to my other self -
the one no one will know
see me dancing
over there?
(no?
you say  you see me on a bus seat
twisting a dark ring)
but i see myself
over there.

VII

contact
in the space age
of motors
and machinery
i try a one sided conversation
with stars
no UFOs in sight -
then i hear
one voice talking
and i know
i have left for good
the country is full
of lonely people
wanting to hear one voice
telescoping
their individuality -

one minute
out of twenty-four-times-sixty
and i have the courage
to keep this seat
on a night bus
of strangers
and stranger ways -

away from the envelope
i am no longer
a letter gone astray -
just a letter
forwarded
address unknown.

VIII

labour disputes
threw a shore away -
buses crept into their depots
without me -
i opened my hands
empty
to watch toronto
close them -

i caught a dead room
flying off yonge street -
why care?
tonight is bright
tomorrow far gone
and i am accustomed
to tombs -

hear me
neon day -
complete my emptiness -
paint a smile on my face
and don't
go greyhound.

 

©pamela swanson 1975

 

 

 

©pamela swanson 2016

email: pam@poetpam.com