Thanks for Riding Greyhound by Richard D. Houff



I never liked riding

on Greyhound or Jefferson Line buses,

because of layovers and the compacted sardines

taking up valuable airspace


All seated and going in for the long haul,

they are quite ready to make your acquaintance

by keeping you in agony with their company


The strange and unusual would always

take place in regards to the passengers:


“The sudden death scream at 3:45 A.M.

when you are finally going down

for the count, and can no longer see

the cracks behind your eyelids

because sleep finally took over

—albeit for a whole ten minutes”


“All hell breaks loose at 4:15 A.M.;

some guy’s shoes were stolen off

his feet while he slept, and the next stop

is a mere 150 miles away as we listen to his

homicidal threats of revenge”


And of course there’s always that one guy

who stands apart from the rest; we are sitting

in opposite aisles from each other, and he

has no timeclock


This is the pear-shaped gentleman

eating those radioactive orange “Circus Peanuts,”

that would appear in your “trick or treat,” Halloween

sack; the same confectionaries that you’d feed

to the dog—causing asshole explosions,

with the poor bastard shitting orange

for several days after the fact.


I’m sitting right next to the restroom

at the far back that he uses quite frequently;

I can’t help but think of the poor dog


A number of years ago, I had to take a Greyhound

from Los Angeles to Minneapolis

I couldn’t afford an airline ticket,

and it ended up being a lengthy horror show


Taking a vow never to set foot on a bus again;

I am still batting at 500






Richard D. Houff is the former editor of Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press Books. He is also a journalist that has received many hate letters and multiple death threats with his columns over a two decade run. Comfortable in writing both poetry and prose, his work has appeared in: Aldebaran, Brooklyn Review, Conduit, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Rattle, Sutter Town Review, and many other fine magazines.



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