The Yellow Pole Theater

March 2, 2018

Orange Line MAXRecently I have been using the TriMet MAX (light rail) to take me downtown and elsewhere. Public mass transit brings you face to face with the public you so long avoided by driving everywhere. MAX Interior (2)On the MAX there are yellow bars and poles on which to cling and hang. They make an interesting proscenium for an ever changing theater. Here is is a poem I wrote using some images from recent journeys. I may add more episodes. Listen at this LINK or read below…

Yellow Pole Theater 

Episode One

I smiled at them
And their small child in his stroller
Only the man smiled back
Climbing aboard the southbound MAX
Clinging to the yellow poles
Framed by the yellow poles
In a transit theater.
She did not smile
Wearing the basic scarf of her faith
A blue hijab
She would not smile
And my smile
Meant to acknowledge
Our short common journey,
And something warmer
Appears a threat.
She could not smile
At a stranger.
Only a fixed grimace
Anxiety or fear
Lay on her face
Eyes flicking left and right
And to her child
Obliviously squirming.
Our cultures lay between us
Surely not an impervious barrier

Episode Two

I did not smile at them
Climbing aboard the southbound MAX
Clinging to the yellow poles
Framed by the yellow poles
In a transit theater.
They did not smile at me.
Scruffy, disheveled
Hauling a loaded four-wheel trailer
Presumably their lives
And for ten minutes
I guessed the content of those lives
The sad decline
The erosion of resources
The flight of friends
The flight of hope
But when she
Bulky, purple hair, pushed in face
Pulled out an IPad
And then he
A scarecrow in near rags
Pulled out an IPhone
I had to guess again.
Modern poverty
No less humiliating.
Our economies lay between us
Surely not an impervious barrier.

The Yellow Pole Theater
Never fails to play
Never fails to jolt me out of
My assumptions and my complacency.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “The Yellow Pole Theater”

  1. Mary Walsh said

    Loved this, Bob. So often I have experienced the high end tech possessions where they are such a surprise!!!! So glad A-M is recovering! Both my daughters have had double mastectomies! Enjoy the sun today!

    • bobsterry said

      Thank you, Mary. I will be publishing a book of poems and essays later this year. I am running a ‘crowdfunding’ to pay costs etc. Stay tuned.

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 )

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: