Never having learned to drive – due to a combination of factors, some accidental, some intentional on my part – I’ve been reliant upon public transport, in order to get to work and back, for most of my life. As a result, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time hanging around at bus stops, train stations, and bus station cafes.
I can’t say that these experiences have been all that rewarding, creatively speaking. In fact, I found them tediously dreary and soul-destroying, most of the time. Just on the odd occasion, something would happen to spark my imagination, and a poem would eventually ensue. Watching the manoeuvres of a particularly portly pigeon was the genesis for one poem; and sitting in the bus station café, listening to the drivers’ conversation, on a bleak winter’s day, was the inspiration for the following poem.
BUS STATION CAFE:
At the bus station cafe, the drivers stand,
or sit, wreathed in steam; a warm fug.
Drink hot, sweet tea, from a mug.
Forget boredom, complaints; all of that.
Sizzling pools of saturated fat,
to fry pink, succulent pig.
Hot bacon rolls, sausage sarnies, egg baps.
‘Heard ‘bout Jim? Died. Heart attack.’
These men and women; their everyday cares.
You sense the feelings; imprints in the air.
Heart attack, cancer; anytime, any season.
Can you predict? Is there rhyme or reason?
Who knows what will kill us? And what’s life for,
if you can’t eat what you like, and ask for more?
‘Jim! Of all people! He wasn’t even fat!’
So cold outside. Forget it. Forget all of that.
‘You gotta laugh, really. It’s just a joke!’
The egg bap greets you with a playful spurt of yoke.
It drips from your jaws, as you bite into it.