Rake the Sentiment: Three Poems by Joe Linker

Gueorgui Pinkhassov, Paris, 1996. Source: magnumphotos.com

On the Bus

Caught up short on the express bus and those drivers don’t stop for shit. I avoid the express because of my affliction but it was filthy out, brown cold rain, and here come the bus, and jostling, and I don’t notice, and it’s an express, and it won’t stop.

I’m good at first, plop down in a seat, bag under my feet, floor wet but seat warm.

Claude said it come from eating out of trashcans and such. They fixed us so we could not ever have kids and road us on a rail out of Utah.

I like to look into the houses, warm glows of lights, the bus passes.

I consider my options.

Bad to give us a bad name. And I do not call myself that. I’m a traveler. A time traveler. I travel all the time. Round and round the city I go.

But I can’t hold it any longer, and this an express bus, so here we go.

Need a boat to paddle out of here. Gives a whole new meaning to disembark.


Suggestions Enabled

Open to suggestions,

I put out my sign –

“Poems: penny each.”

“You can’t do that,”

the barista says the

proprietor of this café

said, serving my espresso,

fingernails bougainvillea.


Road work ahead, wanton,

careless within boundaries,

maps of books, letters,

history’s horizontal bridges

connecting vertical

cafes along boulevards,

sitting out under a tree

a dappled umbrella.


Now word wet wort pint

worth sitting sipping hour

pocket note doodles

watching the barista

come and go in and out

ignoring me she knows

too much already about

sorrow and my kindnesses.



Needless to say this

demurrer protests

this wants said

wearing the trousers

bottom rolled

and they were rolled

up in the park

in the alley

in the parking lot

behind the motel

walking the beach

sitting in a church pew

waiting in the ER

on the job


in line at the DMV

on the bus

in class

hopping trains



Why won’t they just

leave alone all need

help some where

rake the sentiment

road rail sea

ink you bait

sleeping under plants.