Charlottesville, VA – Bus Lines Community Poetry Contest Winners – October 2011
This is a wonderful contest where multiple winning poems by community members are “published” on the city buses. Winners give a reading at the downtown transit center.
We’re just pretending not to notice each other, of course. That’s what the earphones and i-machines and everything are for, and it’s sort of funny, the way we pretend we’re alone, but really we’re all in it together. Imagine if everyone lived here, like neighbors, in this tiny space. What would we eat? How would we keep the peace? I guess we’d have to have elections, something democratic maybe, and agree to share resources, let everyone have a voice. Sounds like a silly dream, I guess. But the world runs on dreams. Just like this bus runs on gas.
You get on after me. Today I notice right away, from my rear seat. Your tag is showing, but:
There’s that cell phone again. You depart, still talking, but:
If you had been free, I could have leaned forward.
“Hello, miss,” I could have said (perhaps you would have smiled). “I hope you don’t mind, but:
Your tag is showing.”
“Oh!” You might have blushed, reached around, to fix what you couldn’t see, what was plain to me.
If you had said, “thank you,” and if I were feeling brave:
I could have asked you out.
Maybe next time, neighbor.
The Bus Driver
Well hello there, where you going? Jeans, boots, jackets, dressed up and down, they all come in, climb the steps. A smile.
I drive along.
At each stop, passengers descend, look around, and go. Some toss a “thank you” back up the stair. I nod.
Today a mister got on, and a missus after him, asked me about our town. “It’s a nice place,” I said. “Everybody’s friendly, acts like neighbors.”
While they were on, I looked out the windshield through their eyes. Saw a town, beyond my route. A dream – some parts are true. We ride.