Sunday Snippet, Red Line Scofflaw by Bill Chance

“My heart is warm with the friends I make,

And better friends I’ll not be knowing,

Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,

No matter where it’s going.”

― Edna St. Vincent Millay, The Selected Poetry

(click to enlarge)

Red Line Scofflaw

As I was standing at the kiosk

(I had had to walk back to the car to get four quarters from the little holder thing that folds down between the front bucket seats as I only had a single dollar bill plus two tens – and I didn’t want to shove a ten in the machine – who knows what would happen then)

with my dollar bill and four quarters

trying to figure which buttons to push

and where the coins slot was

the train pulled up.

It was Sunday and who knows when the next train will come

So I boarded quickly, without my ticket

I’m a scofflaw

They warn you never to ride the trains without a ticket

one hundred fifty dollar fine.

I clutched my dollar and my four quarters in my hand

So I would have an excuse for the

transit police

if they came down the aisle checking

for tickets

I’ve ridden the train a lot

and never seen the transit police

check for tickets

Though I’ve seen their cars

leaving donut shops

parked in the parking lots

sleeping man in the front

There is a kid

sitting across from me

working on his very short hair

with a big comb

looking at

his reflection in the window

above his head is a poster

bright purple with white letters

it says:

Poetry in Motion

The poem on the poster is:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

William Carlos Williams (1963)

4 responses to “Sunday Snippet, Red Line Scofflaw by Bill Chance

  1. Two of my favorite poets, and a very favorite poem (the plums). I looked and looked and can’t find the parody on the “this is just to say” that was done back in the day when Scaramucci was either still in the White House or newly gone, but it was hilarious.

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