the back of the bus


Take your place on the great Mandala. Take your place on the streetcar named Desiré. Sit at the back of the bus if you’ve got any dark clouds in the sky of your soul, or else the conductor will come along and bop you alongside the head with his change purse.

How will the conductor know, you ask? Why do you think he’s the conductor? He’s there to collect dues, and you’re not paying yours.

Whip out those pictures in your wallet of napalmed babies in the Nam, raped women in the Sudan, a million starving cousins across the continent of Africa, all that un-American activity.

The more you protest, the more worked up your fellow passengers become. Pretty soon they’re out of their seats and beating on you. You’re down in the aisle and they’re kicking you. The driver stops the bus and they throw you out the back door into the gutter.

A cop comes along and turns you face up with the toe of his boot. Calls in a wagon. Two days later you’re wearing orange and up before a judge. You’re a mess, the inmates, the real House un-American Activities Committee, have been having their way with you. The judge gives you five to ten and tells you you’re lucky you got a trial at all. He tells you that un-American activity is terrorist activity. They drag you back to your holding cell.

None of this was necessary. All you had to do was sit in your assigned seat.

Where is the Rosa Parks for this high-stakes transgression?

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