Bus Ride through Suburbia

The-park-and-ride, flanked by fields and trees,
sits on the outskirts,
cheap and convenient for the city.

I guide my ageing car between parallel rows
of shiny four-by-fours and hatchbacks,
following the one-way arrows.

A patient elderly queue is waiting at the bus stop,
checking timetable and watches,
anxious to get to the shops.

The bus smells of dust and diesel,  and its windows
reflect compliant rows of  brass-furnished
doors and sparkling windows.

Cats stroll and strut along tidy-edged front paths,
daffodils gild gardens
and sparrows splash in birdbaths.

Only mothers with babies and toddlers seem to be at home,
pegging laundry on the washing line
while chatting on the phone.

The closer we get to the city, the dirtier the streets,
littered with  wrappers from restaurants
offering fast food to eat.

The city crawls with vehicles in the road and up the kerbs,
busy people with busy lives
and the flotsam of the suburbs.

Kim M. Russell, 2017


Image found on Wikipedia

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics – Suburb Poetry

Oloriel is our guest host tending Poetics and the bar today. She says that she was born, bred, raised and still lives in the suburbs, where she has noticed things and emotions that differ when she travels from her place to another and, over the years, images have etched themselves in her head as ‘suburban things’. She says it’s very similar in poetry and she has discovered poems characterized as Suburban poetry.

What makes a poem a suburban poem? She says it is the feeling that the poem leaves, the difference in scenery, the constant physical and metaphysical presence of animals, wilderness, gardens, curtains. Combinations that seem esoteric. She has shared an example with us: ‘Suburban’ by Michael Blumenthal.

How does one go about writing a suburban poem? She says we should keep ourselves emotionally in the suburbs, shed the characteristics of a modern environment. Be free, be strange, as well as including: flora and fauna; rhyming and repetition, which do a great job of depicting the haziness of the suburbs; motives of longing, melancholy and repeated cycles.


36 thoughts on “Bus Ride through Suburbia

  1. I must agree with Bjorn, I think it is wonderful a bus ride is a representation in your poem. I also like learning about little differences. My suburbs for example has fast food, a lot of it, we take pride in it tasting better than the city one and our joints being always open.
    I really loved the ending, it felt like music, it really makes one think and fumble through memories.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If public transit was more convenient here, & I wasn’t so impatient–I’d park my SUV. But as a child of the 50’s, a car is like a second skin–I’d be naked without it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s many years since I’ve ridden a bus, but I well remember looking out the window and contemplating the variances of humanity along the way. I very much liked your use of the bus as introduction to your suburb. Well chosen words as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this – you invite with a sense of self and depict vividly the scenery that paints the suburbs 🙂 I too have lived off travelling in buses while lost in thought pondering upon the realities of life so I can relate to this. Beautifully penned.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the contrast of the views, from the ageing cars to the bus rides, and then to the dirty city streets ~ I must say though that my city is clean, no trash around. I guess it depends on the maintenance of the city ~ Really enjoyed your take Kim ~

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice description: “flotsam of the suburbs” It reminds me of when I lived in a suburb and had to go to a parking lot (park and ride) to catch the train downtown to become part of that flotsam. The suburban population during the weekday I imagined to be mainly mothers and children and the elderly although each house had its own washer and dryer for laundry.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cats stroll and strut along tidy-edged front paths,
    daffodils gild gardens
    and sparrows splash in birdbaths. I think even the cats had to get tired of seeing the endless rows of houses, all looking almost the same. But you’re right, i never considered the alternative, having been raised in the burbs. City life was worse in some ways. Thanks Kim

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You have described my life …(smiles)…we are always waiting for a bus to get somewhere unless you have a vehicle and many of those people live in different neighborhoods with houses that are twins, and triplets with garages as big as the house:) I often think of moving to the city, especially when I retire to be close to museums etc and not have to bus around so much but I do like the cleaner air.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There’s something observational about suburbia which you annotate nicely here on this bus ride, the view of suburbia is like watching TV, we are tourists in fake paradise never quite finding our way home … interesting addition at the end, where what is downtown is the flotsom of suburbia.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You’ve taken me on a ride with you, Kim. Well done. Especially love the idea of the “flotsam” of suburbs! This was a tough one for me to wrap my head around (the prompt….not your post!)…so I am very late to the posting and reading. We leave Bermuda on the 28th and I’m trying to imbibe all this beautiful island-country I can before we return home 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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