Home > Prompts, Ready for Prime Time > Pantoum: Mass Transit

Pantoum: Mass Transit

The sun was starting to get a little low
when I parked the car in a parking deck
in Jacksonville where I took Southwest to Oakland
We stopped somewhere in Nevada

When I parked the car in a parking deck
I left everything but a suitcase behind
When we stopped somewhere in Nevada
I bought sunglasses to replace ones I forgot

I walked along rolling a suitcase behind me.
I boarded a bus to get to the rail line
I had bought earbuds to replace ones I forgot
I went down the stairs to the long tunnel

I boarded a bus because the rail line
only took me within a mile of my hotel
I’d walked down the stairs from the platform
The sun stung my eyes when it left the tunnel

I was less than a mile from my hotel
when I started walking along the sidewalk
The sun stung my eyes at the intersections
I checked in and changed to a tux

When I started walking along the sidewalk
to go to the banquet I’d come for
I checked the windows for the change a tux made
A San Franciscan with a Pentax took my picture

I’d arrived at the banquet I’d come for
All the miles behind me at last
The event photographer took my picture
I took a cigarette although I don’t smoke

All the miles behind me at last
I was seated with seven people who don’t know me.
I took a cigarette although I don’t smoke
and I waited at a bar when it was over

I was standing with four people who know me
I took a cigarette even though it didn’t fit the form
and we waited at a bar after it was over
talking about Jack Kerouac because it’s what we do

I smoked a cigarette and I talked about form
over substance at a party where no one gets along
and recited Allen Ginsberg until they took me home
in a cab which saved some tedious doubling back

I read a USA Today for four hours in the airport
in Oakland where I took Southwest to Jacksonville
by way of Love Field, Texas
The sun was starting to get a little low

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  1. April 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    haha this is brilliant…a traveling poem for sure…and love the ref to ginsberg and keroac as well…it fits and you play the form seemless as well…

  2. leahJlynn
    April 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I gather this is a business person beat, sort of on the road in that sort of class. nice
    http://leah-jamielynn.typepad.com/blog/2012/04/a-day-on-the-platform.html

    • April 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm

      Haha – for the sort of character I had in mind, think Don Draper but on a tighter budget. 🙂

  3. April 15, 2012 at 2:03 am

    haha..this is great…thanks for taking us with you on the trip…loved all the details and kerouac of course…nice

  4. April 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

    A man has to go down that his road! Good to see a form being used.

  5. April 15, 2012 at 11:11 am

    This is so well done! Really enjoyed it.

  6. hobgoblin2011
    April 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    love the way you penned this. Every line a virtual complete sentence, an action upon action. A true example of a traveling poem, and the two references to Kerouac and Ginsberg were very nice touches. Thanks

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