An Ode to the Asian Night Bus

An Ode to the Asian Night Bus

There’s nothing like an Asian night bus to make you think of your own mortality,

The stained curtains swing side to side in tune to the curves as we go around again.

I have The xx on repeat, thinking about all of life’s little defeats and how I got here.

The driver is going 80 on a hairpin turn, the wheels hugging the road just slightly so,

Will this be the last thing I see before I go?

This is a night bus in Asia, there’s no getting off, just more destinations to see.

The journey will be worth if for where I go, it’s all part of the adventure we seek.

Since I don’t sleep, I get lost in my music, my thoughts, my lucid dreams,

Ignoring the screech of the brakes that are begging for release.

It has become a ritual of rinse and repeat.

As soon as I step off, I’m clean.

You never know what you’ll get with a night bus in Asia.

Will it be standard seats? recliners? Or flats beds in which you have to curl up to sleep.

Will there be a bathroom? Probably not, but hey, it was cheap.

This bus was not made for lanky legs, limbs cramp up within the first hour,

And I have 12 more through which to power.

The Asian night bus makes dangerous fun, exhilaration a new drug.

Sometimes the three drivers up front honk and yell into the night

Turning on the lights when you’ve finally tucked yourself in just right.

Sometimes they put on a movie series that never ends,

The volume turned up to the top, your eardrums splitting from the static pop.

You’re left fending for yourself when the air conditioning goes on blast

The heat from the long day replaced with a shivering mass, at last.

Covering yourself up like you’re in the middle of the Great White North,

Why am I always under the broken vent blasting freezing air forth?

The night bus in Asia is all a part of the ride.

A metaphor for the bumps, rattles, and curves that is life.

An excuse to indulge in your past and present humilities,

Everything that made you step into that vehicle of wavering possibilities.

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Mimi McFadden
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