I take back what you have stolen and in your languages I announce I am now nameless.
My true name is a growl.
Margaret Atwood

9 April 2018

Ride/Drive On (waiting for)

I packed myself as full as a transit bus in rush hour
the rounded face of a mamacita, 3 kids in tow
youngest squirming in lap, wedged next to a pale, dark-suited man, scour-
faced, bracing a hot cup in one hand, as 3 'tweens, sporting pony- tailed bows
snackedon strawberry Twizzler sticks and curtained rows, of blue-eyed screens
for the gulping gasped breaths, of the latest "she said" news wet-dreams

Each stop, gapped itself wide, as some stepped aside, while others rode on
as earplugged songs bounced melodies inside heads
mournfully, gratefully dead a moment, before time's ticket stamped end of song
end of line, scuffle off to _____ oh why must I be here when I'd rather be in bed
dreaming of a soft landing instead of this barking bright
needs must, oh elbow thrust, jostle, jingle change, flip a token, slip away now, right?

But I rode on, conductor, driving the lanes, signalling right is left, left is deft
skilled of hand, as faces shifted in coats to slips of tees and shorts,
while the odd-balls drunk on highballs, skimmed the Prairies as they slept
with sun-blown blue jean memories, storm eye-sky reflecting back cohorts
compadres, rebellious crusader seeking the stories in well-thumbed books
such high dreams in the hopes of finding _____   - perchance, or luck? a true hook

To drive such lengths, measuring distance, click, click, turn
of odometer, kilometer after breath, drinking, eating, sleeping as passenger
docking at one stop, fishing with flies, spies and the slave-to-the-fire, burn
of dusky nights, moving on, the backpack closeting dirty-laundry messenger
ignored for thirst, hunger, need, to drench and douse, house and quench
when all that was waiting for the wanting, was a simple laundromat bench

after: Real Toads: Waiting for ...
write a poem about waiting, but don't tell us what you're waiting for in the poem

When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway – We rested again and again. The Bays were stormy and we heard the waves at different distances and in the middle of the water like the Sea. 
 Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal Thursday, 15 April 1802
Please forgive me oh master of the daffodils, I have held your creation as an eternal beloved. In profuse admiration, as testament to my insanity, I attempted the original poetic form, consisting of four stanzas with six lines each, for a total of 24 lines. The rhyme scheme is simple: ABABCC. This is called a "rhyming couplet." You wandered lonely as a cloud. I wandered lonely as a bus. 


  1. When I finished I was rewarded with a nice "to smile for," all for the simple ride/drive to the laundromat. I've done several as,well nonstop ones to Nebraska (from Houston, Texas). Travels with dogs tend to be a hassle finding an overnight stop.

  2. The tempo of the inner dialogue works very well in this poem. You put me in the scene. Had to smile when we reached the laundromat. Thanks also for including the GORGEOUS meditation on daffodils. How absolutely lovely.

    1. It seems words were strongly suited in the Wordsworth family - it was unexpected discovery for me. Glad you've enjoyed it.

  3. This also has the feel of the subway - all the people sharing a small space, all with different thoughts and destinations. Upon arrival it is nice to have a familiar smile and open arms but lately my destination has been greeted with ... the hustle and bustle of the airport/streets. (and I'm not too fond of laundromat benches :)

  4. You've taken me back to the fairly recent past, when I bused to and from work and most other places for the last six years I worked, up to last spring. I hated it when the bus was full, all of us sleepy folk crammed together, swaying, lost in our own thoughts or obliged to listen to the odd loudmouth or religious nut. So interesting about the journal entry as compared to the famous poem--a window into how daily life ends up in (sometimes great) poems. And then you took it and stood it on its head! Someone I used to know wrote a poem in the style of "The Raven", retaining the rhyme scheme and the meter, the entire flow of the piece, but she wrote not about a doomy bird, but about a glass dildo. It was both hilarious and amazing. Anyway, it's a daffodil-fest at Toads lately!

    1. Oh the crush of humanity, in all its glorious forms. I remember those days, but am glad I don't have to do it any more, even for the wealth of interesting aspects to store, file and mine.

      The journal entry was a really unexpected discovery, and it left me wondering about her prose/poetic prowess. Pretty powerful impressions.

      Oh, my head - I fear, 'tis crippled.

      Now, a glass dildo? LOL - reworking The Raven and being able to replicate it and pull it off, "tongue in ...." - this would be a priceless read.
      Your mentioning this reminds me of my "College Days" when in one of my creative writing classes, there was this guy who was a very talented fiction writer, and he and our totally awesome whacked teacher came up with a scheme, and spent about a month on it. The guy literally studied, breathed, ate and shat Kafka's The Metamorphosis, and wrote a story, and pretended he had never heard/read Kafka etc. It was so well done, it could have been ghost written. It was a total mind-fuck. That guy was really an amazing talent. Makes me wonder what happened with him, all these years later.

  5. Just loved this crowded, chaotic ride! (And the plays on grateful dead and scuffle (not shuffle off to....)

  6. Thanks to everyone who has shared their thoughts - I'm glad so many found something to appreciate in this very dense, chaotic piece. But frankly, the piece itself, it's giving me a headache, which maybe is a good outcome, or just the weather messing me. I just pray the Goddess and Master Wordsworth will smile at my folly - and I swear, I will stop trying to force poetic forms.

  7. This is one of those poems that packs itself up like an over-full suitcase, and in doing so, reveals all the odds and ends we cling to, all that we carry, all the burdens of life that we have found necessary to have with us, and of course, also of the forced ride we are on ourselves...I found it fascinating to read, and very well-played, but I can see how it could be headache-inducing to write! The interjection of daffodils in the notes(I assume what the speaker was waiting for maybe--the freedom of flowers) and the genealogy of that famous piece, also tied in well with the unspoken we carry that is more of a blessing than a burden.) This is a very brave write, imo, both ambitious and successful.

    1. thanks Hedge -
      you've picked up on more than the surface words, and have revealed/offered back the essences, in your astute, shrewd reading,
      the burdens of life we have found necessary to have with us, and of course, also of the forced ride we are one ourselves

      as for the headache - a triple play home-run - (pardon me if my baseball analogies are off base, I'd have to consult the Blossom to be sure) -
      I started with one idea, decided I couldn't/wouldn't drop into it, digging into the rich earth for the corms, and so let it mostly ride/write as the most obvious -
      but I did switch transport in the 4th, with and without being aware, which added something perhaps interesting, but further complicating myself. Focus hasn't been my friend lately - oh how the love of words can be playful, and yet equally distracting and slightly self-ignoring and destructive.

      thanks for your comments, as always - most appreciated


thanks for sharing your thoughts, I greatly appreciate it.