is his
the need is not an impulse the fare is not to talk about myself. what is the motive of a yellow fog that lies on a cold night in San Francisco? what is the message, premeditated on the green walls of the bus depot? and the neon lights what do they reveal of the deposit of time and traffic? who does the shoeshine man think he’s calling? —shine ’em up shine ’em up, shoe shine here— every plastic fabrication makes its obdurate obtrusion, every intent and adjustment creates an absence anybody could do without, like in a stagnant pond one sees that everything is dry #ding# May I have your attention please? The calestoga, local bus is now receiving passengers at gate number, forty-four what is
not overheard
LA? 15.14 How long does it take to get there? You taking the valley route? Yeah, I want the express. 9½ hours. The express leaves at 1 o’clock at gate number 36. 15.14? Out of 20? That makes 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20. Thank you. San Rafael? We don’t go to San Rafael. You don’t go to San Rafael? comically
round &
the dice are loaded like the mute lines of passified passengers, foreigners and they are not tossed aside. what’s the advantage of sevens and fives? what goes on behind the eyes where are my suitcases, will I make my connection, does this bus go to Fortuna? what goes on behind the walls does Oakland go on the 8:15, take the flowers under the gate, Camp Evers is Scotts Valley? they assume their seats. and among the greasy entrails in the bins of the bus who consumes the dirt and exhaust working the baggage who has the strength to resist, the irony
of differences
a sense of urgency wilts like a potted lily in the desert near Bishop, an imagination disowned that sits like three boxes of live fish waiting to be bused to Livermore. wonder means when is the next bus to Modesto? fancy if suppressed in precedence established by the public lobby— peace
what fantasy? silence is prostituted with a three-radio chorus and all the alarms and bells of pinball machines in a corner, intervalled announcements of departures, and anxious and anonymous inquiries of appointments and possessions, directions. apathy assumes the final veil of concern and the object talk about the weather. involvement tries to discover a sense of humor and aborts itself upon its failure. no one is responsible. there can not be enough incompetence to worry the initiated. You better hurry; your bus left a minute ago. there can not be enough distress not to disregard private and isolated exceptions. what do you give the passenger who’s got everything? What do you mean, my suitcases aren’t here? 85¢ for a ticket to the international heaven the next coffin leaves at gate number nine in 20 minutes Go to the information booth at the rear of the platform, The baggage counter is through the main glass doors to your left as you go out on the platform, Go to gate number eleven at eleven o’clock, The terminal manager’s office is under the women’s room, Go to the ticket office— You can’t get on the bus without a ticket, repeat
Go out, half-way down on your right. it comes out in the fog this cold gray city block appears meaning nothing although who understands it?— an investment of what surmise Have a nice trip! a warehouse of what worries and what effects accumulates like gum under the seats, what simple honesty everything
with nothing more to hide, what advantage lying on the cement like a drunken man waiting to be taken in. Do you want to go to Merced? Do you know how you will get there? They will show you no mercy. what is the destination of penury? where do all the flowers go?— Crescent City, Coos Bay, Eugene. Here, you see, it ain’t all easy. It ain’t all even understandable. You are a coward here, anxious and unaware, or you are strong. the whole and abject ridged mass attempts to move around the clock in quick and concerted adherence to schedule, while rooms of painted brick, mere object and location, constitute the resistance. They lie, disguised quicksands like error and doubts that slowly sink the suffering travelers into a mire of withdrawal, like the dumb and transients who live in their shoes in the depot, waiting, obey with paranoid gestures the signs of authority ticket agent, driver, supervisor, but no answer is given or what are we supposed to do and nobody cares. not those who wait for the coalescence of fortune, a ticket or bus to manifest and show them where they want to go. the hidden
but they do not force a conclusion which would not come with effort, not with the intercourse of blackmail or demand, not with the climax of deception, which has no climax or the disguise of the disgust, and not with the abuse of privilege which only familiarity provides. not that, anything but that. Either this bus ain’t going anywhere, or you haven’t got the ticket.

30 June 1973