sometimes in slip stream, water hour, fallen hem

we poison our best attempt

and the night bus

interminable ache, empty roads, wet with cast oil

erratic lights blinking old and bleary dirty yellow

the ever cold wait

for arrival

seems more distant than ever —

in those times

we give ourselves away

in fragment, lost mitten, womb, earring, stray

cat urinating hot against cold pipe

fornicating shadows unzipping desire in piecemeal

our bowed legs frostbitten in the exult

of wanting to be outside in frigid, electrifying night

the coil of urgency unraveling, beckoning ergotic breath

to flay ourselves in gorge of music

burn our retinas by strobe of excess

to feel — anything

but a reduction

void, hollow chamber, chains of

grey water drowning effort

lost beneath premature high tide

broken necks of sea birds

water logged with their sodden disappointment

— O! Run from that, hurl your once nimble body

through thorns, escaping servitude, suburbia

the dull toc, scratch, infestation of

mundanity, clawing wallpaper in sightless gouge

no, not yet —

the night bus

rounds the corner, its long mien of neon

blinking on and off as it judders in perpetuate cold

shaking like a damp lion searching for his mane

pleuritic teenager on E pressed flat to vibrate glass

imagining fucking angels

the radiator wheezing, unsteady, lopsided, drunk

with repetitive climb

— you board; attenuated clothes, steaming windows

invisible, shut out from this blinkered coal star

you recast, losing form, lines, calcium

to become the urge itself

raging in pitch, no more blunted, wordless

howl, tension of years burning their cracked heals

like sprinters on fire, seeking sucor

by becoming their own Gods.

For Danny.

8 Replies to “The night bus”

  1. As I fall into your kaleidoscopic spell, in some other corner of my mind something like a ghostly horn starts riffing free jazz on the title The Night Bus – each bus prowling its route in the slow hours, perhaps peopled by refugees from the Lost and Found, and each one like an anthology of stories only guessed at.

  2. So the inspiration behind this was – a convo with Danny of D. B. Wright (Girl on a Swing) which I just edited. We were discussing his next book (which I’m also editing) and also discussing a book I’d recommended him to read – Psychoville by Christopher Fowler. It reminded me of being around 15 years old and going out with a friend in deepest Winter to a ‘rave’ club where we danced until 3am drinking bottles of water in the heat of the club, only to be disgorged freezing and underdressed into the middle of nowhere (the larger clubs in France are always on the outskirts of cities) and standing waiting for the infamous ‘night bus’ that never seemed to come – imagining if it did what it represented – all the passions it held on those cold nights. Stored like a memory palace. Squalor that only appeals to the young.

  3. If I got a holy shit from Carol then I know I’m on the right path 😉 (thank you so much)

  4. My reference to the refugees from the lost and found came from a song, “Mary Had A Baby” by Matt Callahan, the front man for a band called The Looters from San Francisco in the ’80s. The song begins:

    “She used to work down at the Fantasy
    I drive a cab and she would flag me down
    We’d always talk about how our nights had gone
    and all the people in the ‘lost and found’”

    The only place on line I can find it now is Callahan’s web site [] which has tracks from his and The Looters albums and lyrics. The album with “Mary…” on it is Jericho Down. Intense songs, all of them.

  5. I can well imagine The Looters getting air play and covers by local bands in outside-of-the-mainstream clubs in the ’80s and into the ’90s. I saw them live at a (now long defunct) club in Santa Cruz in the mid ’80s and bought the CD right there.

    I drove a cab for a few months in the early ’70s in Chicago, and relate to the narrator in the song, and having wandered around (looking for parking spaces) San Francisco, I have a clear mental image of him meeting that woman.

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