Imagine this: talcum powder's delicate scent
on the surface, covering the rank sweaty smell
of food fried in year's old grease
burnt and salty, a black-brown smell like
putrefying fungus on the forest floor.
Picture this: black woman missing two front teeth
promising she'll be good this time, the ghosts
aren't riding with her today, demanding
that she be allowed to show her pass
even after the driver waved her by, knowing which pass
she possesses and not wanting to
hold up boarding as she digs to the
furthest reaches of her rolling suitcase.
Imagine this: 58 years old. Skirt so short
the veiny thighs show right through even
as the hemline is continually tugged down and down
again, the backs of thighs rubbing against the stained and
filthy polyester and polyvinyl of the
molded seat, a cushion that does not cushion.
high heels six inches - well maybe really just three,
strappy and cork soled like something from 1979
the straps maybe once sexy or seductive, now
just constricting, impleading
the ability to walk with comfort and ease and, really, who
wears something like that when the rain is falling
and autumn is here? Maybe a drag queen or a
woman of a certain age trying to recapture
the male gaze that feel upon her in youth?
Picture this: stained chinos and a hat emblazoned
with 4:20 - a canned rebellion.
Sweat shirt - hoodie two sizes too
big and reeking of cheap ditch weed,
I suppose it brings back memories of college,
memories of when chemical
alteration of the consciousness
was a fun weekday activity instead of the constant tight rope
balancing act between harmless fun and serious
addiction issues that its become.
Imagine this: 5:15 in the morning, every morning,
a scent like rotten eggs mixed with half digested
baked bean mixed with the smell of water
in which hot dogs have been boiled, left on the stove
overnight - the gaseous outpour of some
working-class stiff or the off-gassing of the swamp
that rests silent and beautiful between the highway and the sea?
Picture this: another day begun and ended
wrapped in a steel box hurdled down the road
at 70 miles an hour, an act of faith, of trust that
the operator is awake at the wheel. We try to clear our minds
of thoughts of mass suicide and icy patches
and large herbivores on the roadway, drunk drivers
and insane gunmen and sink into dreams or our
twisted thoughts - processing the day to come or
the day just ended - a family road trip minus the bickering
of the two youngest siblings. And is it worth it? Is it worth it
each of our eyes seem to ask - this getting up
so damned early in the morning and being away from
our homes for so long through the day just so
we can save a bit of gas money at the expense of our time.
Is it worth is and is it worth it? The questions hide
just under each word we say and the answers
change by the day, change on the mood and whim
of the weather and circumstance. But yes, it must be worth
it, that time spent watching each other watch each other,
that time spent in fitful dream. That time spent reading or
working or just staring into the black expanse of forest that
speed by and we are free to reside in
a thoughtless world for forty minutes twice a day
letting someone else worry about our safety for a change.