10:20 to Wells

by Damon Moore

Following maintenance issues over the weekend
Everyone got a free ride to Wells.

Without a smidgen of effort on our part,
We are flung into an adventure more alluring
Than Betfair or long distance sailing.

Loud conversations start
From the midriff as our mechanical cataclysm
Like a political bandwagon
Teleports through a vortex of green corridors.

With an air of Captain Oates,
Wearing trouser clips, no sign of a bicycle,
One passenger, disembarking
At a centre of depopulation calls out ‘See you later!’
Leaving on-board, as we draw off again,
Non-doms stared at in mock offence
For the audacity of sitting where, by custom,
Regulars sit, smirking at late comers
Running like sperm, trying to catch the last ride into town.

It’s a miracle any bus arrives but when they do
You find them quiet as colts, trembling
Subcutaneously in the bus bay.
Most bus stations have mental health issues;
The ex-entrepreneur, ex-Eton janitor
In an odd-sized dinner jacket at the wrong time of day.
They lock themselves in lavatories, returning later,
Circling cubicles hungrily with rucksacks bulging
As if thinking ‘lucky buggers’.

Bus journeys salute how in Albion
There seems something in the design designers can’t alter:
That we must all sit in buses, experience
Like whipped spinach seen through a scratchy lens
Flashed English countryside, tips of corn in a twenty acre field
Which might make the germs of good poems
Before we eventually give up on that bucking book
So gamely held in our shaking hands.


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