(Not actually on the) Bus Poetry v4


Piece by piece
I’m taken apart
The sum of my parts
Weighed. Measured. Found wanting.
Not enough
Never enough
The parts don’t matter
Until they add up to respect
The sum of the parts is a colleague, an equal.
The sum of the parts commands respect.
I’m being dismantled.
First go the desks and then the walls
The shelves and the drawers
The kettle
The tea towel
All taken apart
Because they were never enough
I am never enough
Before I am even dismantled.

Bus Poetry, Vol 3

I think I timed this wrong…

Comparisons on the Bus

Ankle trousers falling perfectly at the sandal strap.
Delicate fingers holding pistachios and a very literary novel.
Patterned blouse containing the hue of the trousers – exact match.
Hair pulled up in a messy bun that is far from.
Old Clark’s shoes.
Gray yoga trousers masquerading as business casual.
Too many beaded bracelets paired with a Fitbit the same color as the faded Clark’s – exact match.
Worn navy top, at least three inches shorter than when purchased.
Artificially straight hair, complete with a midlife red stripe.
Which is which?
She is awake and ready.
I am tired and ready for a nap.
She will take on the world today while I will sit…and compare.

Poems from the Bus, Vol. 2


There is a dancer in my brain.
She remembers all the random dance classes we have taken and a lot of the routines from flag line in high school.
She knows the names of all the moves and steps in Bellydance and can point them out when she sees them.
She sends gentle shocks to my hips when I’m sitting on the bus home and listening to my favourites from Beats Antique and Solace and Linkin Park. I shimmy and then remember I’m in public.
There is an actor in my heart.
She can recite the litany of productions I was in during school and uni. She remembers the songs from the musicals and the blocking from the number from Godspell. 
She laughs at the memory of the C clamp hitting my forehead or the reason that the platforms in The Shadowbox looked like landing strips at a dark airport.
She is in cahoots with the dancer when Here Comes the Sun, Layla, or a myriad of tracks from Cold Spring Harbor come on the radio, spurring me to find a staircase, an air guitar, and a tissue and join the manic dance number that preceded the bows.

There is a linguist in my hands.
She lives to turn a clever phrase from auditory to visual. 
She is magic. 
She is dance and art combined with elation and heartbreak. 
She speaks for me when I cannot stand a single auditory word more or I will shatter into a thousand letters and words and conjunctions. 
She sweeps in, wearing the opera cloak my brain and heart loaned her, and she makes sense of my nonsense, creating sentences and paragraphs out of stutters and false starts.
She is brave. She knows how to use language, not just speak it. Language is her weapon, her balm, her vehicle and her get-away.
There is a coward in my soul.
She looks at the gentle sway of the dancer and reminds me of how clumsy I am.
She applauds the soliloquy of the actor and reminds me that I’m too old and fat to be cast as anything but an afterthought.
She understands perfectly the message that the linguist delivers and reminds me that I am only a mediocre second language learner with no real claim to anything but my own remedial English.
There is a dancer in my brain, an actor in my heart, and a linguist in my hands – with a coward as a gatekeeper.

– N Dunne
19 February 2018

Poems from the Bus, Vol. 1

To A Woman on the Bus

You caught me looking at you
Your beautiful skin and demure eyes
Your lovely and bright headscarf covering your hair
Comparing my own unruly ginger locks and freckled skin and dingy raincoat

You caught me looking at you
Dark eyes uncertain
Dark glances from others on the bus
Dark feelings swirling in a vortex of discomfort
Comparing our own motives and agendas and beliefs.

 You caught me looking at you
You held my gaze a moment
Your expectations plain
Your daily experience of mistrust and unfounded fear
So I smiled at you and you smiled back and we both continued on our way

You caught me looking at you
But it was really me looking at me
Because we are the same.

-N Dunne
18 Nov 2015