For years, my default depiction of Hell,
at least Purgatory,
was Port Authority,
where buses slump, after a schlep
through the tunnel, into
unwalled stalls, exhaling exhaust
and the exhausted
like someone who has no business having hair,
letting their hair

But, of late
I can no longer think of the place
as quite so damned.
This is not because
buses are now banned
from idling as they park
but because I am old enough to carry
more than a spark
of my death,

and long
for this tired flesh
to wheel through a life
more wholly my own,

which stretches one’s envelope
of the acceptable;
which allows even
for the possible enjoyment of corners careened (please, gently)
with gasoline, the funk
of Lucifer, as long as one is un-
deterred, detoured
without chore (and breathing
through the mouth–)

oh then I’d stop
with the idling (so,
I tell myself),
oh then (my short hair
on end), I could abide
quite a bit–

Very much of a draft and strange poem that (believe or not) has gone through several iterations; posted belated to Real Toads Open Platform. The Port Authority I refer to is the NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue.  (Thankfully, I normally travel by train!) 

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12 Comments on “Terminal”

  1. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I like the way this reads on a literal and figurative level. It’s q poem conscious of place but also of one’s place in it.

  2. I agree, the fumes and noises of buses can seem chthonic enough… I used to be afraid of train-stations as a kid…

  3. gillena Says:

    guess that time of tiredness comes, encouraged by environmental vignettes; interestingly crafted poem

    much love…

  4. Mama Zen Says:

    I adore this. Great line breaks. Really inventive piece, K.

  5. Breathing smog and noise….I was once a Southern Baptist. There was a lot of talk about hell. When I see what is going on in the world, such suffering, such horror I have no use for the brethren herding the lost into heaven by the cattle prod of fear.

  6. hedgewitch Says:

    I had a very bad experience at the Port Authority Bus Terminal once, back when buses were still allowed to idle, in a cold that seemed so deep it had penetrated down into people’s eyes…this seems a bit more forgiving, an d also makes me think of long journeys that have moments of tedium or alienation from one’s surroundings, but that also open so many inner doors, taking us, at least partially, where we want to go. Beautiful poem, k–and sorry to be so late to it.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      It is a rather horrible place. I am not sure about the poem–can’t really look at it–the first version was much more quirky and more about being a writer, and I felt it seemed a little solipsistic to write about being a writer, so tried to make it more general, and generally about expanding envelopes, but not sure it works. k.

      On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:14 AM, ManicDDaily wrote:


  7. There’s a nice level of self-consciousness runnign through your poem. I really appreciated it that. Thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  8. Strange! 🙂 My comments are not coming up. Has blogger changed my settings again? 🙂

    Greetings from London.

  9. M Says:

    public transit is anathema to the socal ethos. unfortunately. still, from days traveling the SF systems – the Muni, BART, and the Berkeley line, as well as Greyhound to get home – I recall that odor…

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks. I should honestly take this poem down as rewrote it enough to take it too far from original intent and I think lost the meaning completely. I honestly can’t even look at this version so should really just delete the posting! At some point need to go back and look at original. But can’t right now. K.

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