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
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.
8 Replies to “The night bus”
Re: The Night Bus, HOLY SHIT!
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.
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.
If I got a holy shit from Carol then I know I’m on the right path 😉 (thank you so much)
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 [https://matcallahan.com] 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.
Why do I know that song? How? Yet I feel I do. Excellent lyrics!
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.
This piece made me say in my head “You see Danny so well” 🙂
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