Saturday, August 15, 2009

44A Charing cross.


It never arrives but when it does it's at the last minute. The innards smell of sweat and a faint hint of urine. We lodge beside two by two. Battalions dip heads into newspapers and scroll through the mobile locked in the screen. Everyone rudely brought to life by morning finding themselves here daily.

Passing by Queen's park, the sun spears through the trees, making a greenhouse of the bus; welcome in the morning. A baby startles the air with her primal cry. The bus moans and stretches as it takes a right corner. We sit in rows two by two and someone accidently brushes the leg of another, they flinch as though they had touched something cold and disgusting. They shift gingerly and settle back down again, no eye contact,settling down for a few more paragraphs of gibberish.

At the back of the bus a man and a woman talk nonsense to each other through long awkward pauses. Someone cringes and coughs. Two strangers admire the view from the window but one actaully only stares through the glass. The bus lurches and hisses down Victoria Road, passangers move and sway like audience memebers, the lights halt us, we each say a short prayer - red, orange, green. We play Monday morning solitaire in separate chairs. In ritual. And someone always sends out a thought or two for the angel left standing.

Centipedes crawl the road and moments run like cats under cars. Blurred flashes of headlines as pages turn. Everyone is generalising internal monologue and the brains creepy almanac informs us of a dangerous future. The bus pushes on through the streets. An aging crossword puzzler has dozed off. A lady is blabbering about a recent biopsy and a few of the men over hear and think of their testicles and the women their breasts, and some others, the rectal passage. The sun pours through the glass pure orange juice. Morning stretches and yawns and wedding bells are tolling somewhere for lovers in the universe of a quite perfect mortgage. And the spelling mistakes in the newspaper forgive themselves, a zebra crossing in sub-Saharan Glasgow halts us, a set of lights, again, betray us. Some are running late now.

The congregation shuffle their feet nervously. 'Better to be safe than sorry' says an aging widow wearing a long brown coat. The man beside her says nothing. She is afraid of her naked body. Heliotropic trees inhale their fix of the sun. Everyone is taxed and no one has anything to say and wishes to tell the world about it. And the ego is being fiddled with by signs and beta rays; no one can take themselves lightly, someone farts in divine silence, four wheels make 840 revolutions every mile, five passengers yawn in synchrony.

The arbiters of life sit neatly in their pews. Heads in papers soaking up the inky meaning. All waste and pine against the routine of work. Many hearts beat in time, but it's impossible to know exactly when this is happening. The engine roars. The noise fills the bus like colourless smoke. One rusher is tapping his feet desperate to urinate. Most are sullen and inconsiderate. A prayer it sent up: 'I must be joyful.' And now they enter the city, out of the mountains, down into the valley into the uterus of the business zone.

Someone makes a mental note to re-read the book of John - 'those who believe in the Son are not judged'; someone concludes that 'some things are under our control while others things are under the control of others'. A lady confesses to herself she must edit her diary to take out the truths she is ashamed of. And a man smiles, his face touched by the sun, thinks to himself 'take care of a thing as though it where not your own'. The bus comes to a halt, and the professionals, the marching band and the fingered administrators of practical reality queue off the bus, at Hope Street. They sink into the day, in swarms of fabric and wrist chains, clock in time together under the grey sky of the same nullifying office blocks throughout the city.

6 comments:

the broken down barman said...

big thumbs up!!!!

Titus said...

Yep, from me too.

Jim Murdoch said...

Now, if you hate the 44A you should try the 62 at rush hour. I wonder how many writers have tackled that subject, the train or bus journey to work. Strangely enough, although I've written about it in my head so many times I don't actually think any of it made its way onto the page. I have a story set on a bus but that's about it.

Some good lines here. I especially liked "Centipedes crawl…" followed shortly by "…creepy almanac" for some reason. As a piece of descriptive writing it's fine, a little long perhaps and some repetition: "We lodge beside two by two" and "We sit in rows two by two" in paragraph one, for example. It would be fine wrapped around a story but on its own it's like a slide show, well executed but one could tire of it quickly. It needs commentary or narrative or something more to animate the piece. But, for what it is, it's well done.

If I can illustrate my point. Take your sentence, "One rusher is tap tap tapping his feet desperate to urinate," as an example. How about:

One rusher is tap tap tapping his feet desperate to urinate. Christ, I wish he'd stop. Stop, for God's sake. Damn, now I want to pee too.

Titus said...

Help! Do things keep appearing and disappearing here? Was there one about a confessional or is that somewhere else?
Confused, Scotland.

McGuire said...

Yes, I've posted up a few poems and then takin' them down out of sheer frustration and the belief they make little sense.

Working in a few things so they should be up in a day or so.

Forgive the confusion, it's what I do best. Spreading it everywhere.

Titus said...

I'm mildly relieved. I thought it was me.