On the Bluebird to Rochester

The man next to me bummed a cigarette
outside, and right after, smoke
still strung between us, says
he can see my breasts
under my blouse.  I smile,
say that’s what bras are for
and that’s all he’ll get
out of me:  A Malrboro Light
and a show.  Everything else
has a pricetag he can’t match
since it’s measured
in books he’s read and what plays
he’ll sit through and I’m betting
not one.  He has a wife
in Medina, the stop in between
our two cities, and I can field him
by reading Queen of the Damned,
the miles flickering past
to when I will see you.

You, who told me last night
because I wasn’t there to stop it
you shaved off your beard
and clipped your hair
to a velour nap just this side of bald
after our fight; a gesture of penance
or defiance.  I will not know which
until our eyes meet
in another 25 miles.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
This entry was posted in New Free Verse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to On the Bluebird to Rochester

  1. brian miller says:

    smiles…used to love anne rice…
    and good on you for having your standards…books & plays
    def give a man a bit more depth & even if they dont like them
    a bit more commitment…yikes on shearing the head…
    hope you like it…smiles.

  2. claudia says:

    haha…love your reply to the man…i think i would’ve been speechless for a moment..smiles.. cool work on the details and felt anticipation

  3. Grace says:

    An interesting scene in the journey, the waiting and flicking off unwanted passes ~

    I haven’t read her book for the longest time ~

  4. Melanie says:

    Wow. I really really llike this poem. It’s so visual. It reads beautifully. I really like the naming of the book. It reads very real. X

  5. I like poems about journey and people traveling – and particularly this one.

  6. I could never imagine you at a loss for words ~ smiles ~ x

  7. Alice Keys says:

    Yow. Engaging narrative flow. Sometimes you can’t just get off the bus.

    • Alice–thanks. In the early 90s I bussed it every other weekend to Rochester to spend time with this guy. I had some interesting stories as a result 😉

  8. aka_andrea says:

    I like this. That anticipation of waiting to resolve whatever transpired between you.. And what better way to pass the time than with Queen Of The Damned, it inspired one of my poems last week.

  9. Mary says:

    I loved the telling of this anecdote. You had a great comeback to the guy’s inappropriate comments! And you ended up with a good poem, which is no small thing! Smiles.

  10. Rowan Taw says:

    It makes me wonder sometimes about the amount of time we have to spend with (inappropriate) strangers, when we could be with (penitent) loved ones.

  11. unfetteredbs says:

    Really enjoyed this one Susan. Your voice radiates throughout and I smiled because of it

  12. jeglatter says:

    breathless fun to be on the ride with you. oh how many rides i’ve taken like that and i’d almost forgotten the feeling…thanks for bringing me right there with you…Great!:) Cheers to the cigarette and the show.:) -Jennifer

  13. Kelvin S.M. says:

    …what a gesture to handle with… but oh you have a clever response & attitude… magnifique Susan… truly enjoyed… thanks… smiles…

  14. kelly says:

    Love the layers in this, the way the unspoken speaks as loudly as the spoken, much like both those conversations. 🙂

  15. Awesome story telling, Susan. Very vivid!

  16. My credentials in taking any man seriously in my single days were: He looks me in the eye, not the boobs! But your ballsy was of presenting it was great! And it helps knowing there is someone waiting for you on the other end of the trip, shorn though he may be. If you had had a fight before the trip, just remember… In Korea and some other cultures, cutting off one’s hair is a witness to mourning. I didn’t know this when I cut all my “bleach blonde” back to the dark roots after my mom died. Culture by osmosis?

    This is a rip-snorting poem that also has the basic truth that a person who never stops reading (and, therefore, never stops learning) will only be content with a partner who is the same type. Loved this. Thanks, Susan! Amy

    • Amy, thanks–this was a memory of a trip from a long time ago, and my, my, my–you nailed it with the hair cutting. I did the same thing after my sister died. Glad you liked this!

  17. Well very cool under pressure, and Queen of the Damned would be a good book to forget about him… nice

  18. Tino says:

    I saw Taming of the Shrew once and came away thinking, wtf was that all about? I hate Billy Shakespear and would watch Predator over Romeo and Juliet every single time.
    Oh well, I will just have to make do with a bummed smoke and a quick glance 😉

  19. You told a very rich story–from the man on the train to the one you were coming home to. Really excellent.

  20. nelle says:

    A window into a snippet of life, I like this lots, sort of in the tradition of America by Simon and Garfunkle and Me and Bobby McGee by Kristofferson/Joplin. Loved the journey and anticipation.

  21. MarinaSofia says:

    Nice transition from annoying guy (instantly recognizable type we’ve all encountered at some point, but I’ve certainly never handled quite so well) to the guy of our dreams – who often turns out not to be quite that, when it’s a long-distance relationship.

  22. Such vivid imagery in this. I could feel the stare between the two of you. Thanks for the journey!

  23. This is just fucking fantastic, every last word. I love not knowing which…LOVE.

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