The Bus Stand

It wasn’t much of a bus stand,
but then it wasn’t much of anything;
several hours into the owl’s first cry,
its metal jaws shuddering;
the last bus rumbled in,
to disgorge its groaning load of human effluent;
yesterday’s bundles tightly clasped
to their bony, wheezing chests;
released into the yellow-toothed yawn
of another unwashed night.

From a solitary food cart,
the familiar smell of charred kababs
stepping on the bitter breath of stale tea
that had been simmering all night;
on chairs and benches, in filthy doorways,
strangers slept with yesterday’s eyes,
some spoke in strangely garbled voices,
over the din of the transistor radio;
the betel red lips of the insomniacs
dancing to the tuneless words of the song.

Lost in the middle of a superfluous dust-way,
where journeys ended even as they began;
a transit house for threadbare dreams,
to rummage in yesterday’s rubbish heaps
with rabid three-legged dogs,
and stretch tin cups out for well-worn coins,
from torn pockets of beady-eyed stragglers;
even the sky seemed dilapidated,
the wind blowing the last stars away,
it wasn’t a place for the bright and shiny.

They scraped their night-sodden despair
from cracked sinks and flooded toilets,
gathered the pillow of yesterday’s follies
on which they had dropped their withered heads;
queuing up below a beaming blue billboard,
a beaming blue tomorrow at eighteen percent flat;
a greasy newspaper fluttered in the wind,
reading new graffiti on the fading walls,
the next bus wouldn’t make much of a difference,
but then it wouldn’t make much of anything.

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47 thoughts on “The Bus Stand

  1. Surely when “the wind blows the stars away,” and “when human effluent is released into the yellow-toothed yawn of another unwashed night”, it’s not the time nor place for the bright and shiny 🙂 The decrepitude is palpable; a necessary corrective for the delusion of glint.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a beautiful depiction of a bus way.. 😀 never knew it could be described with such perfection as your poem..! Beautifully penned..! Wishing you a very happy mother’s day 😀

    Lots of love
    Sanaa

    Like

  3. There are so many images that capture me, to me your writing actually reminds of the way Dickens wrote about the poor part of England in for instance Bleak House. The world need stark images like this to gain an insight in the terrible situation that exist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Björn. Hopefully, if we write it as we see it, others will sit up and take notice and somehow it will all make a tiny difference to a few lives.

      Like

  4. what is really amazing about this poem is that the ordiaryness of the thema draws the writer and reader into a orb of wonder; like this poem a lot

    have a nice Sunday

    much love…

    Like

  5. Yes… well captured! and, yes I have sat there often writing until I needed to get out and escape back to the mountains and breathe fresh air. However, never leaving without a better understanding of the reason I was there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the way you describe the scents…”the familiar smell of charred kababs
    stepping on the bitter breath of stale tea
    that had been simmering all night”—really strong word choices to add such effective sensory detail 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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