Homage to Public Transport

For I’ll consider public hell with red buses and an incessantly ringing bell.
For I won’t escape the angry shouts, the rage-filled screams, the duck-faced pouts.
For I’ll consider how I ran to reach the idle standing bus,
with the driver pulling away, looking for pay, leaving me by the pavement to wait another day,
the amber light flickers between passion and jealousy.
Damn! Do I have the £2:35 or is it £2:40?
For I’ll consider the window seat to enjoy the view. I sure hope you don’t consider it too.
Or worse, I hope you don’t join me and inflict a curse, by speaking in unwanted verse, if that’s the case, I’d rather take a hearse,
For I’ll never escape the modern-day Rousseau staring out of the glass,
or the bus driver screaming “fuck out the way or I’ll tan your…behind.”
For I’ll consider the angry young man speaking his mind or the philosopher trying to think, the middle-aged drunk with his open can of drink or the chatty passenger thinking he’s a shrink.

For I’ll consider the tube accessed only by ticket or card.
Got no money mate? Sorry man, you’re barred!
For there’ll always be windows carved with names
Dan, Tom, Michael, James
For there’ll always be that one man staring at me from Uxbridge to Aldgate, from zone 1 to zone 8, from Epping to Ealing Broadway.
They never stop, do they?
For there’ll always be me squished between two men, like a battery-reared hen, reading the Metro over someone’s shoulder, trying to pretending I’m not getting older, as I hear
patronising people saying public transport causes less pollution, congestion, aggravation.
Do they not hear the moans, the shouts, the frustration?
For there’ll be always be that one selfish bastard throwing himself under the tracks, making us all late.
It’s not our problem. Why do we have to wait?
For we are Londoners with our stiff upper lip, letting nowt affect us, unless our transport cocks up, which is when we jump ship.
For there’ll always be rescheduling and delays and a busker singing “bout your plans to make me blue.”
But I wanna know if the trains run for 24 hours on weekends, will the rail replacement bus service run for all that time too?

For there’ll always be a taxi painted black, with a driver nattering away
“the other day, my little girl said the metre’s running,
I think she’ll grow up to become a cabbie, just like her daddy.”
I wasn’t so sure.
For I’ll never escape the driver asking “where to mate?”
Oh just down the street? That’ll be £9:28.”
For there’ll always be middle finger salutes, cunts calling each other cunts.
For I’ll never escape the seatbelt getting jammed or my body being crammed or my suitcase getting slammed.
For there’ll always be the demon ghosting into the taxi rank, playing a prank,
But he doesn’t fool me.
For there’ll always be that mug, stealing innocence, numb to their screams, while the concrete walls look on. They’re used to it.
For I’ll never escape the inevitable Atmos sticker or the CO2 fumes becoming thicker and thicker or the split oil making the road slicker and slicker.
For I’ll never escape London’s leading attraction,
the one you should always book for.
For I’ll never escape the taxi filled with Saharan desert air,
For there’ll always be apple and pear, or a chocolate eclair or a steak done rare fighting in my stomach to be the first to make the return journey.
For I will never escape public transport, as I live in London and the congestion charge makes it freaking expensive to drive there.

*Author’s Notes*

So this is a poem I originally started writing in a Creative Writing lecture months ago and I left it untouched, until a few weeks ago, when I thought I would end it. This poem may seem a little different from my others, as I’ve tried to make this one a ‘performance/slam poem’ and I’m not sure how successful I was. Compared to my other poetry, there is much greater emphasis on rhyme and rhythm. If you’re from London, then you know my troubles.

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