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On the Bus

By Mollie Player

Copyright © 2011 by Mollie Player

Smashwords edition

ISBN: 9781370080946

All rights reserved

To contact the author, subscribe to her blog or discover your next great read, visit mollieplayer.com.

Also by Mollie Player:

You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends

The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation

The Emergency Diet: The Somewhat Hard, Very Controversial, Totally Unheard Of and Fastest Possible Way to Lose Weight

The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home

What I Learned from Jane


Being Good

Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby

For me, ten years ago



On the Bus



Oxygen Haiku

Feet in the Doorway

Maybe You Are Convinced Without Words

A Promise


(Next to God and of Course America I)


A Love Poem


To You

The Guest



Man at the Opera

I Don’t Know What We Said

The Queen


Attempted Love Poem

A Kitchen Floor

That Night


Just One Bite

Not for Me


Waking Up


It was a lot of hard work writing these poems, and it took a long time.

I am glad that it happened before I was around.

Most of the poems in this collection are about love, the hardest thing in the world to get right, and, with a few exceptions (Not for Me and Night), they weren’t written by me. They were written over the past ten or more years by a very young woman that people might still consider to be me. They may even have been written, a little, by the twelve-year-old Mollie Player who hid on the steps around the corner from the playground every day during recess. Anyway, she definitely would have written them if she had yet done any of the things they describe.

But I don’t know if I would have.

And now, since I’m not her, and since people think I am, they embarrass me, a little.

Still, though. Reading over them has made me want to talk to that young Mollie Player again sometime. I think her poems are good.

And I miss her a lot.

Mollie Player

September 2011

On the Bus

They told me you did nothing

unusual the day that I

left. You moved like you

always do through the

long slow heat of a

summer afternoon.

But that day I waited for the

bus, watching the

cars pass by, and I waited for a

discarded Styrofoam cup to finally

crush under a passing wheel or

blow away


Will anything ever again smell

like the wet sweet smell of the

grass in that big empty football

field during a certain autumn



He is my son, too, and I am his mother. The last summer we were together, it did not feel like summer because we did not go anywhere at all. We slept and we lived and that is


We were alone.

He was my favorite thing and my

lover, and living there was just a

convenience. And no one will

ever know what we did together

all those hours we were there, even


Even me.

Oxygen Haiku

Music builds a whole eating living breathing

world out of the thin oxygen-deprived home


Feet in the Doorway

You know how sometimes you can

feel it in your feet, because your feet

have blood and your

blood is in your heart—



point . . .


Both of my feet can feel the waiting when I’m

watching you before you go to

bed, when you can’t see me in the


(my feet are tingling

in the doorway)

Maybe You Are Convinced Without Words

Maybe you are not convinced.

How to convince someone who is so



(Maybe you are convinced without words.)

One paragraph is not enough for you

to know your

true effect

(you affect me habitually).

Maybe you will never know

(Maybe you are convinced without words.)

A Promise


my poems to you

shall be like

raindrops on a

tin roof: not always

pleasant like

rain can be, but

certainly incessant

and, ideally,



I could write about the way I see your long blond body and your

strong standing pitchfork way of

standing and your

loud-like-a-metal-crate-scraping-on-a-tile-floor vocal

expression kind of

expression, and maybe you would


But how do I write about your

hands, and the way they

obtain me like an


(your first major accomplishment)

(you are a boy)

and the way that the sun winks pink through the slanted window shades

in the morning

at this screaming baby manhood

(they are accomplished—)

(Next to God and of Course America I)

I of course do not expect


You, however,

are like the Milky Way,

in its way

perfect, and scientific.

(I do not want perfection.

I only want the boy on a

platform waiting for the

subway in a city he

does not understand—)



it is always there, love,

even in the teeniest tiniest most

infinitesimal hour of the

morning so small you think its

almost not even an

hour at all—

A Love Poem

When I woke up this

morning I realized you are the

festering red-orange


that is the


on the pink bloody

landscape that did not

ask for light—


For me it’s like a

canvas, perfect and

complete, falling on my

body with a sudden color

palate and a readied

pain: It's for me to paint the

picture but first to

rid myself of the


To You

The dry spot on the pavement is still

there from where your car was

parked this morning during a light


The Guest

Another lazy night and the car door

Announces the arrival. The fifth-floor

Bedroom window is filled with a grayish

Silhouette whispering, “Stop time.” This is

The best part. The anticipation, snow-

Streaked streets lit and quiet like they know

And are also ashamed. They hear the blinds

Slide shut and they know that as the clock


Speaking of four a.m., the sun will rise

And so will she. The morning will cover the




ask me to love

your toenail


and your Being-John-Malkovich head of

blond curly


I will not

ask you to love

my pink neon

plastic shoes

or my

Pulp Fiction all-night dancing


Love me;

disregard these




Here I am a joke; but I turn the joke

Around; I spin it like a nickel on

A counter at a penny candy store.

A shivering shiny menace in a

Penny candy world. Spins past the almond

Roca apple fritter fatter farther

Till it too gives up. Stops and falls to its

Stomach on the marble surface of an

Undefeated front. It lies, it lies,

And refuses this frivolous revolt.

So in the end, my protest made no change at

All; it was only a distraction.

Man at the Opera

Man is arm

stretched flat on opera chair

back curled fingers hiding agendas and rough

skin dress shirt sleeve folded up at




I Don’t Know What We Said

I don’t know what we said,

but the time

stopped and the ache in my chest turned to

flesh-marring shivering dull exultation.

(I stole ‘exultation’ from Dickens—)

It doesn’t matter.

He set me on a table, took my shirt and ripped

it open and saw my chest

and removed the lonely cancer like a surgeon.

There was no one after

to replace him for his skill.

Does he miss me, still?

This bleeding will stop—

(where to go?)

The Queen

The queen sits in her castle



The boy stands near her door




The only

one who ever

touched me never

did again;

he saw the


throbbing for a


underneath my clothes,

turned around and never

looked again.

But I like my black

soot-bathed heart;

better than the pink ripe

flesh of youth,

it is the


Attempted Love Poem

I don’t know how to write a

love poem. I never have before.

There is no poetry for the

pain in my chest under the

breast that just

breathes and won’t


and there is no poetry for


A Kitchen Floor

They still debate Hemingway.

If they can still debate Hemingway,

I may never be found.

I may never be found.

Only gods can find things because

only gods can see.

Only gods can see.

The rest of us are still searching for

very large inventions like a

black-and-white tile kitchen floor and


That Night

That night, he was like

perfection, almost. His eyes were so

kind. His neck was so slim and


As I stared at him he

laughed at me and we

stayed awake for a

very long time.

After that, though, he was

gone. And that is how he

will always be to

me now. He will be

apart from it all, like

something from outside this

plain earth, with

half-misty sun-scraped

eyes, for whom life

will always be a

bowl of cherries that

he doesn't even

really want to eat.


Right now,

the whole world is

moving, very slowly,

but moving, and I’m just

closing my eyes, trying

not to be


Just One Bite

He does not love me. He will

never love me. He will never

bake a cake for my birthday with

orange frosting and little yellow

roses on the top like the one we

saw in a store window that I

told him I thought was so


Not even once.

And even if he did, I wouldn't eat it.

But I would have a bite.


The only thing left to do at

one o'clock in the morning is to

wait for you to turn

over in your sleep so that I can

see your face and

make sure all this is not my


The only thing left to do at

one o'clock in the morning after you've

fallen asleep is to

look out of the window and wonder if the

whole entire world is telling me a

story, and, if so, what is it

saying about


Waking Up

It wasn’t even three o’clock

this morning when

you like a monster

woke me from my

dreams. I opened my

eyes and scraped a

shin escaping from

you and the repetition of

waiting and finding and

throwing away, like a

kid with a toy he

asked for but never really


And yet, there were

hours. Hours from two to

twelve, but that’s

thirty-six thousand

seconds and all those

minutes as well.

Besides, it was profound.

Everything was profound.

Even the salt and pepper

shakers were profound.

Somehow to me they

seemed like more than just

salt and pepper shakers and

I don’t think that I am the

only one who’s ever

thought that. They sat on the

table at the restaurant not doing

anything, just thinking, and

they were profoundly obedient and

profoundly coupled and

profoundly, beautifully,


This morning, though,

I woke up. Morning is for

waking up. I saw you

next to me and I

breathed you in and

after a moment I

coughed. And I

remembered what

there was to remember,

and even just that was


Later, at home, the

bathtub faucet dripped

very slowly into the tub,

and each drip, drip, drip into the

tub melted me like ice and I, too, was


So, What Did You Think?

Mollie Player gratefully welcomes all reader reviews on Amazon.com.

Also by Mollie Player

You’re Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends

The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation

The Emergency Diet: The Somewhat Hard, Very Controversial, Totally Unheard Of and Fastest Possible Way to Lose Weight

The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home

What I Learned from Jane


Being Good

Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby

About the Author

Mollie Player is just a regular person. But that doesn't mean she can't at least attempt feats of great strength. Like overcoming depression. Getting skinny. Never arguing again. And, of course, finding inner peace.

Her spiritual memoirs include You're Getting Closer: One Year of Finding God and a Few Good Friends, The Power of Acceptance: One Year of Mindfulness and Meditation, and What I Learned from Jane.

Her self-help books include The Emergency Diet: The Somewhat Hard, Very Controversial, Totally Unheard of and Fastest Possible Way to Lose Weight and The Naked House: Five Principles for a More Peaceful Home.

In her blog, The Ordinary Mystic, Player writes about the best spiritual practices to overcome depression. Subscribe at mollieplayer.com.

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