Teen Poetry Contest Winner for 2000
Ben Guezentsvey
Niles North High School, Grade 12

El Bus

(Near Orlando, Day 1)

The guy from Salvador is gone,
His seat is empty of everything,
Yet somehow his Latin presence remains.
He was deported thrice,
Then again twice - for causing trouble
In a country which did not want him.
He said he lived alone, had no friends,
Trusted no one.
He drank a nasty beer from a nasty can,
Breathing, sleeping loudly, making me
Happy.
The boy infront was alone, unhappy in his thoughts.
I lied my way out of middle class,
Unsecure with the comfortable Jew that I was.
After all -
The man thought at first that I'm
A Latin King. Ft. Pierce gave us a break,
I ate a sandwich of bass -
He smoke a joint of grass.
We hit fist to fist - he told me of his first kiss - in Quebec
With an Irish girl
I told him I liked Argentinean girls he told me he loved
French.
He got off, the redneck toddler in the front was still crying
And Chicago was still 26 hours away.

(Near Nashville, Day 2)

My sunny Florida days are not long gone,
Only the bus ride remains to be done.
Thoughts of Colombian friends flow by
Digesting the moments, the sayings good bye.
The Argentine girls, Haitian women and
Russian Mafia men return in a shaky dream,
Waking up I hope for them again to be seen.
Tennessee mountains, the fat woman behind me
Brings a small longing for home and to pee...
My bike - like at unwanted corpse
Lies below, sending a code of Morse
Through the thick floor of the bus,
Cual es tu nombre? I ask with
My eyes the small Mexican girl infront.

Her back never answers mine eyes. Ten hours left,
Many thoughts - no tears - not me.

(The last stretch. Louisville)

After pretzels and juice we crossed
The Ohio River with mirth.
With the clock evenly killing the time,
The trip that I've made was eventually
Only a personal triumph.
With all class and social status diminished,
I ride with the rest -
Some envying those above us - who fly,
Some staring blankly at the rapidly passing view.
A baby is giggling,
My heart also. Already I plan
On another trip - to Alaska or Mexico,
No only the first.
I monitor my reflection in the window
And hope I am hot enough for
A chick. Home; oh so soon!

There's a hot South American lady in back,
Her hair is long, fat and black.
When Indianapolis comes I will talk to her,
Perhaps I will say De donde eres?

I ride, scenery changes from mountains
To flats, drivers change, passengers,
States,
Towns change.
Something inside me changes.
Only the bus remains the same.

After all that; the Mexican girl in front is
Dominican, Puerto Rican and American.
Aren't we all...