Regular working guy has the heart of a poet


By Blake McCall, Hamilton bus driver

I wrote the following short verse poems and haikus during my shifts as a bus driver in December 2018. In 8 hours, my longest break was nine minutes, but the busy schedule meant I often didn’t even see that.

Playing around with words in my head while stopped at red lights or long stops, loading seemingly never-ending lines of holiday passengers helped keep me sane.

When I finished for the day I would try to scribble down what I had composed and then work on them little by little where I could, till I was happy with them.

The right to be a human

Neoliberalism has taught us that everything we do needs to be exceptional or it is not worth doing. It removes possible non-productive actions as superfluous and encourages us to only think about ways to make every moment productive to increase our value even when/if the job you have provides a decent life.

For me writing these poems was a way to resist that inclination. They are not exceptional, they do not increase profit, they do not make me a better worker. They express my feelings and keep me human in spite of my working conditions.

Blake McCall, Hamilton bus driver


My neck aches already
Spine compresses on every bump
Driving a Nova


Packing Sardines in
A tin can until coffee spills.
Sensational duty


What can you do on 5 minute break?
Go to Bathroom

3 mins (depending on location and number 1 or 2)

Eat Something

1 min

Remember to Chew before swallowing

Additional 2 mins


Look at phone/check messages/check facebook etc

Time not available

Take a moment to imagine biting into a brandy wine tomato grown by you and
breath feeling back into your body to feel like a real person not a robot.

Time not available

Fall into a pit of existential despair thinking about the impending doom brought on by extreme global inequality, rising and emboldening fascist movements and near certain apocalyptic devastation being / and to be wrought by climate change.

Have to think about something while driving


The Fash are rallying
At city hall, growing their hate
Still I came to work


Working mom pays fare
For her child. While a tax free
Tesla cuts in front


If I put my head in the sand
I can think we are all being
Rewarded for a spring like
December day. Because
We’re “going to build the pipeline
To open additional markets for
Tar/oil/sand/bitumen/toxic sludge.”
Carbon increases and
Indigenous people be damned.

The Added benefit of the location of my head in sand
Is that when the wind blows, carrying the cries of
The coral “I’m Dying”
The polar Bears “I’m drowning”
The Forest “I’m burning”
I can’t hear them


Art imitates life

Paterson is a 2016 movie about a fictional bus driver who drives a bus in Paterson, New Jersey and writes poetry in his head to get through the day.

IMDb rates it 7.4



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