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Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian
Christopher Luna by Alisha Jucevic for the Columbian

Friday, November 20, 2009

GHOST TOWN, USA/ The People on the Bus August/September 2009


Outside Safeway
August 4, 2009
“Hello. Find a bike yet? Sweet….Use my name ‘n’ shit. See if ‘e calls. He’s just trying to be a sneaky little bastard. Don’t you hate those?”

The People on the Bus

#4 Westbound
August 6

Yasmin sits in the back
pierced forehead, blonde wig, dirty feet
impeccably painted fingers and toes
patchwork summer dress
vaguely Arabic, vaguely tribal tattoos
on her ankle, chest
“How are you, hon?” she croaks
legs up on the seat in front of her
to allow me to see straight up her skirt

at first I try to look away
but as my gaze is drawn back toward
the lacy white panties
and the tattoo on the inside
of her right thigh
she opens wider, and smiles

# 4 Eastbound

Inquisitive guy sits at the front
asks the driver if he ever gets tired
of the same route every day:


“The average driver drives 40,000 miles a year.”



Can the children
at the Early Childhood Education Center
see the runover corpse
of the black and white cat
laying so peacefully smashed
that it appears to be sleeping
on the road just outside the fence
on Fort Vancouver Way?



Manager to clerk:

“When Melissa gets back
I’ll let you fly the cage,
how’s that?”


At daybreak
before true waking occurs
when a child’s joyful cry
is indistinguishable
from a woman’s orgasm
or the shriek of a murder victim

how am I to decide
whether to leap the stone fence
in my slippers
in an effort to save the day
or remain here at my desk
waiting for the next poem?


It was bound to happen:
This morning, as I waited for the 32
at Louisiana and Andresen

a tumbling tumbleweed
tumbled by.

The People on the Bus

32 Westbound
August 17

curly white hair
granny shades
jeans and a white shirt
with purple vertical stripes
over purple t-shirt
compulsively rubbing
both pointers
with her thumbs:

“He had these little children’s books. There must have been something wrong with him. He was loud. I didn’t wanna talk to him. You remember that guy with the beard who just got off? I gave him 200, for his daughter, but he never paid her back. My daughter and her husband are going back to Utah, ‘cause Jeb’s sister got colon cancer. She’s only 45 years old. 45. That’s young. She’d taken chemo…. That makes you sick anyway. See more people in wheelchairs these days. More blind people. More wheelchair people these days, a lot more. These months are going fast, aren’t they?”

# 4 Eastbound

A succession of thugs
and tweakers embark
as the woman in the back seat
shouts into her cell phone
about the spiders that have
taken over her trailer home.

The guys at the back of the bus
are debating the ages
of the two teens who
just got off the bus:

“Girls today seem young, but they’re actually much older.”

Middle aged woman
in a black tank top
black mini skirt
terrible haircut
takes off her shades
and points to her left temple:

“It’s about what’s up here.”

Later she tells a friend
on the cell phone

“Wish I could be more positive and encouraging, but I’ve seen how disappointing life can be.”

“I saw Cat Eyes the other day. He’s sober. He’s fat. He’s huge.”



At the bus stop
in front of McDonald’s
the sunburnt woman
with the bright red visor
tells me she asked for a rosebud
but the tattooist hadn’t listened
and gave her a blossom instead
(the same tattoo her sister was wearing
when she’d fucked her husband)
so she had the blossom covered up
and turned into a peacock
the results of which
she pulled down her
spaghetti string top
to show me.

The People on the Bus

September 2009

September 5
Waiting for the #32

Reading Jeremy Gaulke’s
what the master does not speak of
I am approached by a fellow poet
who asks what I am up to
and promptly begins to recite
one of his own songs
then he unloads his life story on me:
former thespian, soldier, businessman
had a bad day & threw away 25 years of writing
military man for a decade
he began to question the morality
of dropping bombs upon people
who had never trespassed against him
somehow managed an honorable discharge
successfully avoided getting his ass shot off
today he’s “wandered off the Christian path”
and is rebuilding the life he lost
when his wife won the business
in the divorce.



Celestial Awakenings
A Metaphysical Community

the hills of the ‘Couve
are alive
with the sound of rubes

“How long d’you think that place is gonna last?”

The People on the Bus

13th & Broadway

Middle-aged African-American man
sits down to talk with a young black woman
on her way to junior high school. She informs him
that corporal punishment is no longer employed
in the public schools:

“They don’t do that anymore. They’re not allowed. If they hit you they get in trouble.”

“So what happens?”

“If you get in trouble, you got to afterschool detention.”


I notice that he often repeats the last thing that she has said, as people do habitually with toddlers.

“Yeah, an hour-and-a-half after school. You just sit there. You go to security.”

“Security? Police?”

“No, just security. They have tazers.”

“Tazers? You ever been tazed?”


“But you get in trouble with your parents when you get home, right?”

“Not really. They don’t do nothin’. My cousin slapped a teacher in the face. The teacher didn’t even press charges.”


During the first week of classes at Clark College
I overhear a student talking on her cell phone:

“She wrote a sentence on the board that was totally ambiguous, and wanted to know what the context was. You know what the context is? I don’t give a fuck.”

The People on the Bus

Waiting for the # 4

As I am calling Toni to tell her that I’ve decided that I like my cell phone because it reminds me of Star Trek, a woman with a mullet and a baseball cap walks by swinging a liter container of Coke and a boombox blasting “Twist of Cain.” I ask Toni if she has heard of Danzig. She hasn’t. “It has meaning for me,” I tell her.

# 32 Eastbound

The veins in the foot of the blonde woman
in grey slacks, black sweater over white-collared shirt,
rhinestoned sunglasses, and hair clip
pulsate as she studies the traffic signs
on the inside of her driver’s license handbook.



Bumper sticker:

Don’t let some scumbag

Walkin’ North toward Clark College on E. Reserve
I see a car parked in the gravel lot
next to the field across from Hudson’s Bay High
with its back windshield busted in.
Turning my head I notice half-a-dozen cops
doing training exercises in the rain.

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