Sudden Rain on an Empty Bus

This week’s been  an interesting week. The comedy performance went quite well, and the hours of writing, re-writing and then reading it all to myself in front of a mirror really paid off.

I’ve been also setting myself some amibitious targets in writing, both in short stories and poetry, to the result that I have nothing new to present, again. However, we’re definitely getting progression, and I hope to have something to present by Mid Week. Amongst my projects are:

  • A Byron-esque poem for  a friend.
  • Much more poetry connected with my current life in Barcelona
  • A Fantasy short story
  • A short story about an old man starting a new life.
  • The “Enrage” poem I mentioned a while ago to go with “Disentangle”
  • The “Stairlift” poem.
  • A riddle poem called “Tease”.

For now, I’ll just post a poem from last year… it’s another poem about being on a bus in Barcelona, like this one.

I want to write more about life in Bareclona, but it’s a tricky business. Poetry works on the fine detail much better than on the bigger picture. It’s about density of expression, not density of subject. Also, when life is very day-to-day ordinary, and I’m not experiencing any strong emotion about teaching or biking to work, or cooking, then it’s hard to get into the spirit of a poem about it. However, I think this last point is more conquerable. Also, I plan on writing about specific people I know in Barcelona instead, as they’re more focussed. Hopefully in the end, bits of Barcelona will be relfected through disconnected poetry.

I also suspect it’ll be easier to write about once I’m somewhere else, and memory’s power of selectivity will tell me what to write about. Her’s the poem.

barcelona sun rain

Sudden Rain on an Empty Bus

Minutes earlier, the morning bus
was warm and heavy like the day,
windows open so the press of
hot breath and smells could escape.

Now, a rush of cold spirals in.
Travellers duck out into the clicks and spray –
umbrellas pop, hoods up, and some run.

Those unshowered who left their sweat-skin here
are showered now; hair glistens
with a new damp, a cleansing sheen.

The bus stands empty, still clinging
to the scent of its custom. Cloyed,
my nose catches a passing swirl of wet concrete.
I don’t close the window;

though I’m not cold, I shiver in shelter,
the taste of rain on my dry lips,
flecks of spray in my hair,
as my grey view blurs with water.

“Mauritius”

I expected setting up a blog to make me more creative, at the very least starting a little creative burst. But what I didn’t expect was for it to suddenly make me a much more vigorous critic of my old writings.

I didn’t want to start off with a half-finished half-baked poem, so I found a recently updated poem that I thought was a good “debut”, but I’ve been tinkering with it for a couple of hours now, finding small holes and imperfections. There are still a few problems with it, but it’s much closer to where it should be.

Mauritius from a bus
Mauritius from a bus

Mauritius

Same bus, same pre-dawn view,
Same seat in the back corner.
Barely awake, I slump forward
and nod at passing mopeds.

My heart-beat slows to near-sleep,
eyes glassed with lolling thoughts:
my life now, my life then,
my life to come.

My life now – A blue folder,
a pre-planned conversation,
leading to a discussion and
correction of minor grammar.

My life then – school, university,
friends, family, a summer holiday
in Mauritius: beaches, sugar canes,
green volcanic mountains in the sun –

and suddenly, the two lives coincide.
The bus flings right for a roundabout
and my seeing and unseeing eyes merge.
Ahead, the rising sun
lights up the waving cane.
A dust track winds through a
glowing field. Behind, a white wisp
clips a jagged mountain top,
A distant ramshackle town at its base,
and brilliant blinding sunlight
shakes me conscious.

We pull round the roundabout, and
glancing back, I see the reedy bush,
not sugar cane.
The road signs read in Spanish,
and my neighbours jabber in Catalan.
But for one, brief second,
I was not here, but then.

My life to come – every week,
I wake at that turn to gaze into
Mauritius.