On the bus, January 1st, 2012

It is just after midnight,
we are stuck in traffic,
and some are calling this
the year that civilization will finally leave us

for love. Drunk people shout
from their cars, we have
no idea what they’re saying
but shout back “Happy New Year” anyway.

The bus is warm and I’ve
had a little champagne
so I don’t want to leave it
for that sickening porridge of rot and rage

served nightly at my stop.
Right now we’re stalled
in time and exuberance.
Stalled with your hands wrapped warmly

around mine. All of us
temporarily stalled in hope,
big decisions are to be made
beyond the steel, glass, and cheap lighting.

An extended sojourn
before the bitter skins.
Holding you here I feel
that this bus is an independent foreign entity

traveling to and fro,
a caravan of homeless
dignitaries behind schedule.
Only when the traffic lifts do you kiss me.

Benjamin Schmitt