Bus Stop Conversations

Hey Readers

I wrote this poem after an interesting conversation I had with a young Lithuanian women at a city centre bus stop as we both wanted to avoid any unwanted attentions from drunks who were aimlessly wandering about in our vicinity. Though they were probably harmless enough we were not the type of girls who wanted to smell the midnight perfume of stale beer and sexism. During our chat we set about setting the world to rights and covered a range of issues from Patriotism to Putin and the politics of identity. I found this chat be both enjoyable and enlightening and as well as serving the purpose of keeping any drunks out of harm’s way or to be more accurate our way. I’ve given it the title Bus Stop Conversations I hope you enjoy the read.

Bus Stop Conversations

It was one of those bus stop conversations
woman have to deflect unwanted attention
ignore public displays of affection
or mindless drunken bawling
In the time between late night and early morning
we talk on anything and everything
with no limits to what we’ll discuss
in the chill of a  summer’s eve
the clear blue water of a generation between us
meant different experiences  made who we are
on that night as the stars
lit up the darkness
our contrasting accents
spoke of similar frustrations
we talked of Brexit and its implications
for Scotland and the UK
and a Lithuanian Scot
told me she hopes and prays
for the day Scotland the land she now calls home
will gain our independence
you are more European
than the other nations of Britain
she says
I told I her I voted yes in 2014
not for a dream but a vision
of a fairer tomorrow
where titled lords and ladies
no longer exist
we agree on this
she tells me she finds the idea
ridiculous
the product of another age
says Scotland and Lithuania
have much in common
Independence alone won’t solve
but it is a starting point
from which we can build
this is a girl who speaks
from a good place
a child of her country’s first independence generation
she only knows the stories
of her country’s past
though she fears Putin and what he might do
she believes her country is safe for now
but fears imperial Russia will one day strike again
it is not a country you want to get angry
it would not be wise to pick a fight
we talked on the rise of the right
this articulate young woman said she despaired
of Britain’s vote to leave
the EU
it is not wise
the people were fed lies
to suit the opinions
of those who fear tomorrow
and have a distrust of foreigners
she smiled when I said
that in my opinion foreigners
don’t exist
we are all global citizens
and it is insanity to claim
anything to the contrary
we both dislike privilege and the monarchy
realise it is because of hierarchy
and the unequal distribution of wealth
poverty and inequality
has a home in our nation
and others
I tell her we need to run for cover
from this kind of politics
the Scotland I want won’t do the mind thyself and no-one else approach to democracy
that has been tried in other nations
and women benefit least of all from that train of thought
on hearing this she told me
how she found a patriotism for the land of my birth
whilst on holiday in her own
and on leaving for the airport
she said to her mum
she had go home
to Scotland
her bus arrived before mine
we smiled as we parted
the bonds of womanhood
had crossed the generations
as women from different countries chatted
to avoid unwanted attentions
of strangers
and enjoyed a bus stop conversation
on the journey of a nation

@ Gayle Smith 2016

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