November 14, 2010


H is for almost home!
Down three flights of stairs to the NCS Light Rail.
A car is pulling in. I grab a seat and then see him.
“Brudders and sisters,” the Preacher Man says,
“I am here to tell you the news about heaven …”
He always waits until the car pulls
out of the station before he begins.
“I used to smoke, cheat, steal … Jesus gave me a new …”
You figure it isn’t easy to preach
the word to these bones,
these bones that ride these rails.
The ones who hear him won’t give him
the time of day, so to speak.
The heavenly choir riding
that peace train home
is tuning out the song.
“Jesus came into this world to seek
and to save that which was lost …”
On my fractured CD player,
Marty Robbins sings in my ear.
Yes. El Paso. One of the songs I can’t hear
is about the bad cowboy saved while rustling cattle.
In the song lightning stampedes the herd
and a strike splits a tree into the shape of a cross
and the bad cowboy sees it and is saved from his evil ways.
Kind of reminds me of that Sgt. York movie
when lightning shatters the rifle Alvin is carrying.
Norfolk Street and the Preacher Man’s still going.
I’ve been running in to him for about four years.
A lot of good it did me, eh?
The walking dead are trying to tune him out.

In desperation to get his baritone droning
out of their heads they read the ads posted overhead.
It doesn’t matter that they are written in Spanish
“Su Dinero Cuando Usted Lo Necesita” – make
funny sentences by mixing up the the foreign words.
This must be the 20th time
“from out of nowhere Felina has found me.”
You remember, of course, that I got the CD player to play
more or less – in one ear, depending
on a jostle here and there.
But it’s only playing one song over and over
and I can’t reach down to get it out of my pocket to re-set it.
Here goes the “handsome young
stranger lay dead on the floor.”
My fingers have given up and I’m writing in a fist.
You could wonder – but my hand is asleep
when I need it most.
Preacher Man got off at Bloomfield Avenue.
I hear a lot of buses pass that way.
Our car rattles on to Davenport Avenue
and Branch Brook Station.
Two more modes of transportation,
“then Felina good-bye.”

-- Copyright © 2010 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Photos and content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.

From Voices On The Bus, train subway, sidewalk and in my head

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