On that day when the real fish stop rising in the pool
of my mind–so any flash is only the reflection
of a fish-shaped cloud, and any splash is only rapids
flicking like a silver tail– when all is so still that any kind of fly
can rest on the surface and nothing hungry comes to meet it–
even then when every other tie has been broken, the barbwire of duty
will be bound tight around my chest, will still dig down into the familiar
bloody interstices, and I’ll think I’m a little girl
who needs to get back to her mama, or a mama who needs to get back
to her little girl, and I’ll be so sure I’m late and needed that nothing
nothing can keep me from her. Then who will build a bus stop to nowhere
outside the memory care center, so that when I escape I’ll have a place
to wait while believing I am on my way back home?
If it’s you, come sit beside me now.
Note: These poems were inspired by a Radiolab podcast episode called A Bus To Nowhere [https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/radiolab/segments/121385-bus-nowhere]
Review by Massimo Fantuzzi
What are we doing here, that is the question.
And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come or for the night to fall. [Pause.] We have kept our appointment, and that’s an end to that. We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much? (Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot.)
So much food for thought in these touching compositions (and the podcast that accompanies them, which I invite you to find), so pertinent with the times we are living, so personal to everybody… Because it’s not just the elderly that suffer from memory’s broken ties and from that unnerving foggy feeling of something missing, as escaped from an untrustworthy perception…
How many times have we felt strangers in our home, town and workplace? What do we do at that point? Lash out? Cheat or hurt? Start wondering? Lose ourselves?
Let’s just sit down and wait at the bus stop to nowhere.
These poems offer confirmation of something of incalculable worth: an alternative, a safe solution, a hope, a different ending. As we sit and wait for the bus that will finally take us home, we find in these verses a more than dignified way out of trouble.
We are probably poets but we are not that naïve: we know that a certain degree of illusion is indispensable in this trade of ours, a little lie that we must on occasion tell ourselves has to be told in order to keep the circus going and the sea at peace: that lie is our bus stop, the idea that, no matter what, we are in the right place at the right time: we have kept our appointment and we are ready to get where we were always meant to be.
So: let’s take it further: why not share that innocent lie with others?
Like in a virtual corridor that travels from one reality that needs dimming to another that we perceive as rightfully deserved, let’s sit at our bus stop to nowhere – a waiting room to share with perfect strangers from all over the world. Strangers to whom narrate our deepest secrets, ambitions and fears and with whom exchange impressions and largely encouraging reviews on each other’s crochet work. Sound familiar anyone?