The man walks like a toddler,
But I doubt there’s only juice
In his bottle. After paying his fare,
He recites his memoir to the bus driver.
It’s a cautionary tale involving Dundalk love,
Infidelity (on her part), methamphetamine
Possession, and parole. He has a gift
For creative nonfiction; able to stretch
Nine months of his life into timeless literature.
A young man raps along with the song
Blasting from his mobile phone.
The lyrics are in first person; when the youth rhymes
About driving an Aston Martin, and counting
Stacks of hundreds on the oiled-up bodies
Of naked supermodels, I know it is fiction–
The despondency in his eyes give him away.
But he weaves the magic of words with hopes
Of conjuring such a leisurely lifestyle
Simply by speaking into existence his will.
The bus is a bookstore of conversation,
Including advice on ways to tell if your man
Is cheating, guides on how to jailbreak
The new iPhone, and Zagat-style ratings
Of the area’s best weed dealers.
But even with this seemingly abundance of words,
No one speaks poetry.
Yet I find poetry in the way wind
From an open window gently brushes one side
Of a woman’s hair; the smell of cucumber lotion
A lady vigorously rubs into her chapped hands;
A child, just learning to speak, who screams
(In what I believe is some form of Klingon)
A challenge to his older brother, as they jostle
For position on their shared seat; the smile
From their mother, which holds warmth
As well as the promise of heat–much like the sun
That licks my cheek with its billions of tongues.
I sigh, slouch in my hard plastic seat,
Hunkering down for the 40-minute ride
Into the city. I lean my head against
The window as I read the dozens
Of stories within sensory range.
A. J. Hayes
Give a poet a pen