Two Poems by Mickey “The Flying Busman” Mahan

Walking Through the Bus Garage

walking through the guts of the bus garage at 5:00 a.m.
stray sparrows swoop between fluorescent lights
oil spills salt from the streets melted snow puddles
the clang and clash of mechanics at work
radios horns huge overhead doors opening
the smell of new tires stacked like rubbery vertebrae
mixes with the wafting exhaust of idling buses
rumbling and purring in excited vibrations

Francine toes the line along the guardrail
Ralph sidesteps a passing bus
Joe steers his forklift into a pallet of engine parts
Marva shouts above the din her battery’s dead
I’m walking ten yards behind Roy
ambling like his hemorrhoids are up for reelection
his pants halfway down his backside
cuffs scuffling behind his work boots
unzipped bomber jacket flapping
the heft of his driver’s bag curving his backbone

Franklin Roosevelt and Helen Keller
General George Custer and Geronimo
Hiawatha and John Brown
pass through my mind as I watch Roy lumber
some high-strung guy with a clipboard
asks me where bus #9959 is
I shrug and think “how the hell should I know”
a newspaper changes hands
an empty coffee cup takes flight in the draft of an exiting bus
I make it to row 19 after dodging a couple of buses
hop up into bus #2514
and feel like jumping for joy
so I do

Blue Work Shirts

as if a battalion of Roman soldiers
had tossed their armor into a pile
stained with the blood of battle
and victory’s rank aroma
those blue work shirts heaped up
beside lockers in the bus garage
for the industrial laundry truck pickup
wear their history on their sleeves
inscribed in oil and dirt
spilled coffee and smeared paint
hours waged against wear and tear
accident neglect and oversight
with hammers drills screwdrivers sockets
wrenches wire snips and rags
WD-40 lube guns goop gunk and grease
the buttons collars pockets and cuffs
lying lazily disheveled and stinky
high enough for kids to play
King of the Hill

Mickey “The Flying Busman” Mahan has been driving a transit bus for close to three decades. All of his poems are composed en route on a pocket-size memo pad (he calls his writing process “Writing On The Edge Of My Seat”). A pogo stick master and hula hoop enthusiast, he waxes his mustache in concentric curlicues, and romps the floors of his boathouse with two gorgeous redheads: wife Deb “Red Lily” Thorna, and Pomahuahua princess Phoebe du Soleil. His sobriquet, “The Flying Busman,” he’s inherited from his great, great, really great uncle “The Flying Dutchman.”

Appears In

Issue 5

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