Monday, February 22, 2010

Beware the Big Red MuleBus

The poetry bus is back !
Or is it a mule train.
Some older busses, they’re hard to tell from mules except they’re a bit bigger.

Being a lazy girl, I’m taking the prompt. If I were dead, what would my pocket contents say about me?

A figure lies disjointed in the road
Victim of an unfortunate accident
Hilarious were it not so tragic
Blindsided by the strangest of vehicles; three old bus carcasses roped together
Limping through town in jerks and starts
Then suddenly bursting forth in a new direction

Her direction.
And now a woman lies bleeding on the asphalt
Too far gone for help
All we can do is say we are sorry, and we need somebody to be sorry to

In her front jeans pocket, 3 euros 40 centimes. A random collection of coins? Or change from a fiver, having bought the Sunday paper? Possibly the latter, because the sum is reached with the minimal four coins.
Other front pocket, a crumpled check stub, 66 euros 40 for the CJP. What could the local Cancer Center possibly sell for 66.40€? A mystery.
Coat pocket: an annual bus pass. We have her name now, and her face is much prettier. An annual pass means she’s a serious bus-taker. Forbidden to drive? Epileptic? Couldn’t pass the test? Or a Greenie who puts her words into action, and uses public transportation in a town where most people who can, drive?
Coat pocket: a cotton handkerchief, white, with pink trimming. Folded in 16ths, a compact square. Accumulated lint from the black coat makes it look dingy, but it is otherwise clean.
Purse: a yellow ballpoint pen with “Applied Biosystems” stamped on it is working its way through a hole in a corner. A wallet with modest cash, a single credit card, a short list of phone numbers, a driver’s license. A California license - a foreigner. An Air France card - somebody who flies often. The health insurance card is French, however. A resident.
Missing from the purse is a passport, with a visa, required to be carried at all times. In all her time in France she’s never been asked for these documents except at airports, and has fallen out of the habit of carrying them around. The gendarmes will not be pleased. She will not care.
Purse: a folded page of sudoku puzzles. Level: Diabolic. Three of the eight puzzles are worked, correctly and without notes. A smartass, then. Five are waiting, and will wait forever.
Purse: a folded plastic shopping bag. Must have been on her way to pick up catfood, and Nutella, and dish soap. No shopping list to be found.
Purse: keys, varied in shape and size and age. A long, bent skeleton. One with a battery that records her comings and goings at work. There are no non-keys on the ring, no fluffy character or plastic Tinkerbell or good-luck doo-dad. Purely a functional set: there are seven essential portals in this life.

We have looked at all these things, the signs of a life. A quiet life, uncomplicated, unencumbered. No phone. No magpie nest of cosmetics and clippings and whatever it is other women fill their purses with.
We dial the number labeled “Parents”.


Anonymous said...

I feel like I would miss you.
thanks for sharing
crazy field mouse

Totalfeckineejit said...

I think you detached yourself from yourself beautifully.

Titus said...

Few words needed, NanU.
That was simply stunning, so deft, so well-told.

Argent said...

This was fab! I was going to do a kind of forensic poem like this, but I won't now, cos this is way better than mine would have been. Love the dispassionate tone of it.

Tabor said...

Reducing a life to the contents of pockets and pictures. That is what we are of course, because life just rushes on.

Karen said...

Wow! That may not be very articulate, but it's my initial reaction! This is an interesting take on the prompt. I love the speculation mixed with artifacts.

Pure Fiction said...

I really enjoyed this - would it be called a prose poem? Whatever it is, it's beautifully written, with a forensic approach to detail that blew me away.

Ronda Laveen said...

This paints such an intriguing picture. I am haunted by the Saduko puzzles waiting forever.

the watercats said...

I found this an incredibly emotional read, intense and deeply sad.. you manage to convey a human's exsistance here, the fact we think we're so special, but in actual fact, we are just another species dwelling the planet and a snuffed out life is just a matter of fact....

and just to say, I don't have a mobile phone either! :-) there are at least two of us!

beautiful writing!

Bagman and Butler said...

Wow. What a great poem, painting a life through the small details. I love it...a bit sad...but I love it.

Poetikat said...

"A smartass, then" (That had me laughing.)
This was great! I feel I know you a bit and we'd get on fairly well - especially if you like cats and Nutella.

I liked the structure of this too. Nice work!


Barry said...

This was a very engrossing read. I really got involved with all the details and the speculation.

Domestic Oub said...

I liked it - CSI Poetry Bus!