The Bus Ride
Damn, I need a drink.
Sticky-hot tongue pressed against
the dry roof of my mouth.
Cold plastic bus chair adhering to
bare flesh on my arms and back.
I’m thinking of the communist in my postmodern literature class.
He sips iced gin nonchalantly through a straw
in a plastic water bottle
beneath the naive eyes of an unsuspecting professor.
Long, black, sinuous limbs spring from a vibrant,
sturdy trunk, terminating in capable looking fingers.
They press around his frosted gin/water bottle.
A gentle, firm grip…
Damn, I need a drink.
Last night, saw him in a seedy bar.
A long, chestnut colored wig:
the curls ripple electrically around his shoulders.
His lips are shining robustly,
red and sumptuous.
I smelled perfume rising from his glitter-powdered breasts
and I was drawn face first
into the silk dunes whispering across his skin.
His pointed shoes cause every leg muscle to self-proclaim
she danced for me.
And there he was in my memory
taking notes on Derrida
sipping gin in postmodern literature class
holding the bottle like a large, straining member…
…and damn, I need a drink,
a drink from a bottle of gin.
Dive head first among the ice and spirit
evaporate into the muggy atmosphere and rush,
return to cling again to the cool plastic bottle
sweating down till I am a melted puddle at its base,
the communist’s ebony fingers tracing circles through my flesh.
His/her fingers tracing circles through my flesh…
The windows on the bus are plastic and do not open.
But I see the shadow of my face
blend with the shapes outside—
the buildings and cars, strangers’ faces—
we drive by.
A gust of hot breeze through the opening doors
peppered with the fragrances of hot metal and exhaust,
of concrete and newspaper and sweaty bodies,
hot, burnished hair crowning their heads.
The soap and rose water smell
of the Sunday school lady stepping onto the bus.
Her hair is twisted cleanly
off her cleanly pressed, white blouse.
She is a pale china doll with a demure brown skirt;
sensible brown pumps full of neat nyloned feet.
Her humbly manicured nails wink
from pink, curling fingers around
a metal ring swinging from the ceiling.
She points her chin out the front window.
She half-hoods her lids over her eyes.
Damn, I need…
I let out a husky breath full of the communist
will it up through her nostrils.
There he will dangle in her olfactory
I inhaling myself up her nylons
and pooling in the soggy apex where her legs meet.
Dirty, salty sweet.
I trickle down her leg and re-solidify in my seat.
I’m thinking of the communist and the Sunday school lady
twisting, swirling together in my brain,
dancing metallically on my tongue.
I push them out into a fog on the window
suck them back in and gulp them down, warming
my already burning stomach.
She has gotten off the bus.
He was never on the bus.
I am on the bus.
The seedy bar where I watch the strange girls—
the strange communists—dance
creeps stoically up on the left.
Heat from the bus engine radiates
pushing my skirt against my thigh:
I am crossing in front,
got to get across the street.
The noise, the grey and white swallow the bus
the people outside.
“You look like you need a drink.”
I look up at the bartender who is leaning
against my low wooden table at the corner of the stage.
His mouth is moving, chewing, chewing.
Saliva rolling, bubbling, chewing nicotine gum.
A smirking, chapped-lipped mouth.
Freckles on his nose.
I need a cigarette.
Breathe in the smoke of the place.