When you’re standing at a bus stop
Just past midnight,
All you ever really know is the safety of your surroundings,
The stillness of your own shadow
While staring at the shape of smoke
That may as well be breath
In this thumb numbing Southwestern sweatshirt weather Winter.
So like a scumbag scarecrow standing stoic somewhere splintered
Between the reality of exact change
And the fantasy of cab fare,
I choose to chain away a fraction of my day’s wages
While I play with the split ends of my exaggerated facial hair,
Admiring how this skinny Indy kid
Crying inside my Discman
Has learned to market his wear and tear
And the fact that I spent my last dime
To support his dream
Makes me that much more aware of how squandered my days have been.
Each day I wake
To work the window shoppers to stop on a whim
And spark their customized electronic strips
While pretending not to notice how
The surly service worker’s clothes and life
Look slept in
How from the elevated windows of their weekend war machines
I’m just another set of antennae in a cluster of
Anonymous public transit headphone drones
On our way home to somewhere we’ve had to learn
To adjust our hurry to get to…
…but I’m not about preaching poverty to you people.
I’m just a tourist to transport transience.
I wasn’t bred like these chickens in 12" compartments
To compliment a side of Ranch.
I was spun 'round with high hopes
On a shiny rotisseries,
Carefully stuffed with citrus
And left to go bad.
Bad like that bad middle class habit of leaving
Shit like kids unfinished when something better could be bought
These are just my Jacks,
Faking like their Aces
While smirking behind my reticent pedestrian poker face
As I situate my window seat and great
My actor for the stage.
Enter: The creepy late-night white guy,
Sporting pit stains and smoke stench
Like some sample platter of first world putrefaction
And I assure you
You don't want any part of this mess.
Why don't you go sit next to the sleeping old man
With the colostomy bag showing
Or the overweight black woman
Cussing and ripping her weave to shit
To scratch at mats of dandruff
Or even the fatigued transvestite
Complete with slip lip and single dangling handcuff.
Take your pick from this whole cavalcade for a baby face
Once used to instill trust in a murder victim…
And anything else we have to tell ourselves
To justify this shared six inches of silence
Is best left unsaid
As you turn your book into a barricade
To shield a face full of dread
I'll pretend not to notice pages
Pretending to be read.
I'll shove my mind through this window
With thoughts that move three stops a minute
And look between the hard dark eyes of tonight
Into the light that tomorrow begins with
Where death scenarios grow silent
With the coming of the dawn
Because on survival island
Life is a stop requested
And unnecessary conversation is prohibited