On the Buses

It’s said buses always come in threes. If you’re stuck waiting for one without anything in sight or are maybe on one and not particularly enjoying the ambience, here’s three poems about them to help pass the time at least.

Bus 1

There is no I in team
Or bus
Though I am
After running for it
When no need
Given the fuss
Of the person
Looking for change
Ahead of me

There is no I in team
Or sense of similar
On the bus
Everyone going
Their own way
With hurried faces
The driver in no rush

There is no I in team
Or team on the bus
Though lots of shiny
Black stuff
Once chewed noisily
Now long forgotten
Unless sat on
So putting plenty
Of I in irritation

Bus 2

Sunset blood red
A sight to see
Topped grapefruit pink
Could gaze all night
But for nature demanding
Night falls

Not to mention
Oh, da cologne!
Smell like a tiger
A stinking roar
Grossly overpowering
To all but insecure

Body odour
Still seeps through
Nasal tarnish on the beautiful
Blood red view

Then some young dude
Delves in a backpack
Rummages . . .
Catches a salad
Fine looking at that

But once the lid’s off
Oh sweet Lord
Vinegar blooms
Stabs nose as thorns

Cranberries on a bed
Of sharp lettuce roses
Popping like diamonds
Pink dusk reflecting

Alas, visually only
For nasal senses
Bitter tears
Of Satan flowing

The bus lets
More stinkers on
Its wheels don’t always go
Whereas the smells
Never stop

Someone asks
Is the seat between salad-man and me


(No, they’ve gone to the lavatory
Or was it the bar?)

Sarcasm, sweet sarcasm
The smell’s an assault
AK-40 Smellin’
Nothing free ’bout getting
Shot by that

As I come to fondly
For the Beelzebub rank
Was the sweetest of posies
When compared
To the new evil bouquets

Onion and garlic
Strongly reeking
Like a manic
Kitchen hand
At some real busy
Garlic and onion land

But wait!
Like those late night
T.V. ads
There’s more!
Something else still
Oil, grease, water dispenser

Someone from
One of those tyre changing places
Always finding worn brakes
Faulty shocks if not

How it didn’t come sooner
A whiff
Of just stubbed cigarette
The obligatory smoker

Flaring bright orange
Sucking away
Dragging hard
While the bus pauses
For others alighting
Boards last
Brings a final lungful
As memento
Or some kinda luck

Beautiful grapefruit pink view
Perfect refrain to a day
Hot and clammy
Close and balmy
You might stink
To the highest of Heaven
But if driving the self
Would’ve gone
A different direction

Bus 3

Buses not in service
I wish a pox on you

You’re on the route
Not taking back streets
To keep yourself from view

Are therefore obviously going
At least
Some stops my way

Maybe all
Who can say?

If anything
You should be giving
Rides for free

Stop rushing by
Die horribly


A 68 bus as I remember them; when the newer conductor-less model was introduced (there’s one right behind it) they were late coming to the 68 route, and to me always looked completely out of place when they did. If the image-search results are anything to by, today even the ‘newer model’ is sometime out of date!

Despite the length of time and various places lived in London, I only ever used a couple of bus routes.

While a lot of that’s due to my general dislike of buses, preferring the Underground, it also has to do with only a few being needed for everywhere I ever needed to go on one.

In particular the 68 route, which according to its Wikipedia Page has changed a bit since I last used it, being shortened from its once Croydon to Chalk Farm (though still remains one of the longest routes in the Capital).

When living in Holmesdale Road it passed the end of the street – my first introduction, being taken to Croydon shopping on it by my mum.

The buses home would say Chalk Farm on the front – it sounded magical. As though the omnibus perambulated itself leisurely across London before exiting into picturesque fields and pleasant pasture.

When asking why we never stayed on the bus to go there, I was told it was nothing but a big dirty soot covered garage just for buses to be kept in when not used.

It made North London sound a cold, harsh, loveless place full on unused busses; one could only wonder what further horrors lay in the wastelands beyond it.

In being right next to Camden, its reality is hip n’ groovy.

I used to the 68 for secondary school; to go to my dad’s when he moved to Kennington; it passed the end of the street where an uncle, aunt and cousins lived in Tulse Hill.

When I lived in Kennington, it got me to and from jobs, pubs, friends.

This from the above link (I lived bang, smack in the middle of the two places named):

‘Travelling on this bus route has been suggested as a cure for agoraphobia. Travelling for 2-5 stops during the day was considered a medium level exercise while travelling from Camberwell Green to the Elephant & Castle alone during the rush hour, was considered the most challenging exercise – more terrifying than walking down the high street or shopping in a supermarket.’

I once applied for a job and during the interview was invited to undertake a day’s on-job ‘training’; it transpired we were no more than unsolicited door-knockers and felt more like an induction into a weird cult than any respectful profession.

It wasn’t for me. I left the situation by randomly jumping on a bus that was pulling away from a stop as we walked by (something that could only be done on that style of bus – constantly open at the rear with a handy pole to grab onto too).

It happened to be a 68.

‘But you could be really good at this,’ a desperate voice called after me, like a jilted lover shocked to realise their replacement is big, angry-red and puffing tons of diesel fumes into the atmosphere.

Despite my love/hate relationship with the 68, none of the above poetry was inspired by travelling on one. Instead, all credit as muse must go to the buses and riders of the T.T.C. (Toronto Transit Commission).

Next in vs. Poetry: Vegan Hand Job
Last in vs. Poetry: God Save the Queen

Other posts about London:

Thanks for reading 🙂

N. P. Ryan.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.