Roger Dean / Greg White / Hazel Smith

Lit-Mag #46 – Madrigalesque

The Blue Bus

(written for The Blue Bus experimental poetry reading series in London)

there are days when no one knows where the blue bus is
but there are always times when you know it will arrive out of the blue
then you are riding amongst colours only, gone with the winding
saluting the destinations as they pass you by, making passing your destiny
the blue bus doesn’t give you the blues, but the blues was banished by segregated bussing
the blue bus is neither bone nor skin, neither fever nor shivers
you remember other buses, the bus to school, the fears of being late
daydreams scribbled like automatic writing on muggy windows
the moment they lock the doors I want to jump off
it seems (though no statistical data can nail it) that more people claim blue as their favourite colour than any other
while The Big Blue Bus is a municipal bus operator in the Westside region of Los Angeles
today I decide to pretend that everything is what it is and is no other
it’s odd the way we relish titles even though like people they are divorced from what they hope they are conveying
you remember all the buses that came and went, the ones you nearly missed, or deliberately let slip, but most of all the buses that though appointed never appeared
it says on the blue website that blue symbolism runs the gamut of emotionally-packed meanings
some of us have to write at speed to turn our recalcitrant wheels
the blue bus is what you imagine it to be, what you paint it to be, what you desire it to be
or so they say and as we know the saying is not the said, especially where performance is in the playground
sometimes the blue bus is just itself, pure blue, open to the seductions of sound, ploughing through the traffic jam of reason
sometimes it falters and becomes bus-like, reigned in by timetables and bus-stops, borders and controls
Rosa Parks stood up for sitting down anywhere on a bus and for the rights of all African Americans
but there are those who say she appealed easily to whites and could be smoothly assimilated by them without any shifting of position
to write is to move, to think is to mutate
it’s even a film, Blue, Kieslowsi,  about a musician
the blue bus is sometimes made of clay, sometimes made of silk, sometime made of feathers, but it always erects itself like a genie from a transmutable yet sustainable bottle
run by an invisible collective who have hidden histories of bizarre steering techniques, unorthodox gear changes, and tyre-kicking
usually when I ask where I can catch it I am greeted by incomprehension bordering on suspicion
but it is the blue bus which takes me everywhere, even to locations I will never reach
and even into this excuse for an improvisation which is not improvised but draws on an improvisatory aesthetic
the blue bus, the horse and carriage of sparring avant-gardes, whipping with abandon through the galloping streets of black Britain
it’s a funny thing, you know, but I can’t remember what the colour of the buses in Australia is

Hazel Smith (text, text performance)
Roger Dean (piano)
Greg White (electronics)

The Blue Bus was written for the Blue Bus experimental poetry reading series in London: I often like to write poems for specific occasions.  Originally it was conceived in a words-only form. This version employs an acoustic piano improvisation by Roger Dean and electronics by Greg White, including trumpet sounds by Phil Slater.
This recording was mixed and mastered by Greg White.

Note by Hazel Smith 

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