The Martyred Saints of Peeing

A poem by Carl Nelson

“If God himself had not willed REPETITION, the world would never have come into existence. He would either have followed the light plans of hope; or he would have recalled it all and conserved it as a recollection. This he did not do, therefore the world endures, and it endures for the fact that it is a repetition.” – Kierkegaard

Bus drivers, like the Church, believe the world to be
a large rut filled with stray peoples,
who busses move through the crowds, circling like seagulls…
Perhaps Medieval Christian sects by the cart paths would have
hallowed our dumpy, lint-ridden figures,
as seraphim who appear occasionally.
Or impoverished Catholic peasants might still beatify us
within the hallowed glow of our vestibules,
as the Patron Saints of Soft Words and Worn Phrases;
as compulsive spirits in full regalia always spotted at the tock of 3…

For a bus travels like a clock’s hand across the city,
like the arc of the sun ‘cross the sky in Medieval murals
in which a farmer heads out to till his field, day after day.
‘It’s time to go to work. It’s time to go home.’
A bus driver retreads the diurnal
like the mystic plowing the habitual to its essence.
Like jays or crows, whose minds pause in raucous
dissension to think of where they’re going:
a bus driver’s panorama includes all individuals
for whom they issue small prayers
and recite volumes as they lean into urinals.
Like runoff from the Village green, we release a steaming
yellow stream and gush a lot of withheld sentiment…
as perhaps the Martyred Saints of Peeing… lining up, positioning;
the rigor of a small minion opening the valves of a great machine.

Our ample flesh feels awash as we’re losing volume
as the journey is long, and from where we stand,
we can neither see one end nor the other of it.
The here and now slosh in us heavily,
as we ship the world back and forth, forth and back, repeatedly.
We hardly know where we go, we’ve been there so frequently.
And what a fragrance!
While you wonder how much more can be gleaned from familiarity?
Ask bus drivers who command coaches in thoughtless extension,
as their minds float out windows to encourage a breeze.


Carl Nelson lives in a small town in Ohio and runs The Serenity Poetry Series across the river in Vienna, West Virginia.  He has a wife and a son and moseys about, as phrases come to mind, with his small yellow dachshund, Tater Tot.  He’s recently returned to writing poetry after working as a playwright and director in the theater for many years, out in Seattle.
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