Emo Poetry Slam: "Stranger Ride"

Our crowded knees pressed together on a bus to the downtown.
The steady, solid weight of his leg against mine.
He has to notice
That tension.

He would move if he wanted--
With just enough space to shift to the right--
To pull away
And replace the wall that is
Not touching.

I cannot turn to see his face.
I glimpse what I can, as my eyes strain
And my face remains forward.
To look would acknowledge him
And me
And break the spell.

He seems shy, and that makes it better.
He doesn't do this everyday.
His hair is mussed
And his smell is plain and clean.
His shoulders are hunched over a monograph.

But he has to notice and like it--
The furling, coiling heat of
Physical contact
With an unknown human body.
My imagination flies around the confines of the bus
And rouses every nerve.

This will not happen again--
Not the steady, warm awareness of a stranger
Over several miles.

Our intimacy renders subways cold
Where stops and starts create
Erotic accidents that we ignore.
Shoulders press at high speed.
A hand brushes a thigh, struggling for balance--
Then apologies and embarrassment follow
Like guilty trespassers--
Like the fumbling plainness that scars a day.

But he and I will trespass without regret:
Our crowded knees pressed together on a bus to the downtown.
June 3, 2001

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