Houston, TX / Gillian Conoley

Reading in Austin was at Big Red Sun, landscaping company with a beautiful outdoor space, white gravel spread, succulent plants, large stage. Readings including many Austin poets, great magazine Skanky Possum editors Hoa Nguyen and Dale Smith, with bus poets Matthew Zapruder, Joshua Beckman, Dara Wier, Joshua Clover, Sierra Nelson, Travis Nichols, Liz Hughey, Valzhyna Mort, Gillian Conoley under big Texas sky. Sounds of the night accompanying the words—sirens, dogs howling, car radios, Mexican polka music every time someone opened the door of the bar across the street. Keg of beer, bottles of wine, a good time, with Bill Wesley affable fearless bus driver picking up the guitar and singing his fabulous country repertoire long into the night.

Last day of the bus for me, until we meet again, in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

The bus is a good place. Stay on the bus long enough, and it becomes the center, the town, the city, the home, and the stops become the guests. Something deeply American/ democratic/enterprising about the bus. The bus was a big, big dream that took hold. It gave me faith again that something this good and generous could happen in our country. Thank you Joshua Beckman, Matthew Zapruder, Travis Nichols for making it work. They worked while we rode. Perhaps the bus is a bit of miracle. If it’s made it through more than 2/3 of the trip, it can make it through the Andes, Tierra del Fuego, Cuba, Pluto. Fly on, big bad bus. Thanks for holding all the words. And for providing such large windows out into the world.

Originally Published: October 13th, 2006