“Bus Stop Night” by Kevin Shanahan


Slouched over
Drunk, tired, depressed
The head nods as he moves from dream to life.
This is life at the bus station.

Dressed down women hiding their bodies,
As they go to and from work.
A million destinations,
A million broken dreams,
One woman in heels
Showing off her amazing ass.

Cops dressed in black,
Electric green vests.
Watch us,
As we watch them back.

Bad teeth,
Bad smells,
Bad hair,
Bad life.

The life of the bus stop early,
The life of the bus stop late,
The same smell of sadness,
And the look of despair.

Teenagers dealing,
Adults buying
Old man sells cigarettes
50 cents apiece.

Seeing me give one off for free,
Pulled to the side
Given a lesson without the bus
"You gotta know how we do things down here."

The homeless enter and never leave
Except at noon for lunch,
And four for the shelter.
Breathing alcohol locks you out
Of a bed.

Tortured lost souls searching
On the prowl for something.
Food, shelter, warmth, humanity.
The needs of the day in order.
You can lose your self-respect
For a sandwich
And sleep well,
If you get indoors.

Last bus leaves
Hungry huddled homeless

Walk languishly out together
Looking for a place
Looking for a store
Looking for salvation
Anything that gets through the night
Just one more night
'Til the buses leave the next day
Looking for a place to sit,
Slouched over
Drunk, tired, depressed,
Not having reached any stars.