Greenlink Poetry Project

The ability to access reliable transportation impacts lives. And the needs of individual passengers are unique, whether it's getting to work, to school or to visit family and friends.

Through a partnership with the City of Greenville's Poet Laureate Glenis Redmond, local poets conducted interviews with seven Greenlink bus riders. The poets used their stories to inspire a collection of poems around the theme "Why I Ride."

Ride with Pride and Drive by Glenis Redmond

Riding and Stopping Then Riding Again by Ashley Crout

Etrulia Tubbs
By Kimberly Simms

Shapeshift by Kathleen Nalley Moore

David Rides the Bus for John Pursley & Sarah Blackman

Greenlink by Amber Sherer

The Art of Riding the Bus: A Tribute to Jessica Majerus by Starry Walker

Follow the God Trail by Anna Castro Spratt

Greenlink Rider standing in Greenville

Ride with Pride and Drive

For Jeremiah Joseph Welch
By Glenis Redmond

Ride. With purpose. With pride. 
With drive to get where I am going.
Make connections to a greater whole––
like my father’s watch I wear 
on the inside of my wrist just like he did. 
He’s gone, but his watch still keeps good time. 
Keeps his memory alive and my heartbeats tick to them.

Why do I ride? To get to work. Yes.
Money is necessary, but also for duty.
I take care of family. My mother’s blind. 
My father had Stage 4 Lung Cancer. 
Still I give back. Catch the bus to donate 
plasma twice a week. jer-quote

Then, off to work I go on Woodruff Road. 
Take the 502 or the 506 to the 509 to the 602.
I got drive. Fueled by those who came before me: 
Grandfather, father, brother and cousin. 
They all fought in wars: Korea, Vietnam, 
Afghanistan and the Gulf.

I wear my dreams on my chest: 
Make. Everyday. Epic. And I am. I try.
North Greenville College, 
not just where I want to go,
but it’s about what I want to be, 
a Greenville City Police Officer.
Protect and Serve. Give back. 
I will. I’m already doing it. 
Look at the back of my hand. 
There’s a map of Greenville on it. 
Because I ride, I already know this city by heart.

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Riding and Stopping Then Riding Again

For Jan LeMay
By Ashley Crout

This is the story of a traveler, 
southward each time, until 
she led herself towards her 

This is the story of a traveler, 
southward each time, until 
she led herself towards her 
family—children of children 
who’ve just given birth to a boy,
her great-grandchild, her heart. 

When she moved to this place, 
she rode every bus line 
on every route to tour it, to learn 
it like the classes she travels 
towards, and back.


Boarding at the third-to-last stop, 
she fills herself with the outside 
to carry it home. She knows who 
in her building is hurting, is 
confined by illness, long
seasoned upon the earth. This 
woman and her eight decades 
of life brings the world to them, 
brings the good in herself, what 
she can carry, inside to them. 

Having reveled in the outdoors 
and given to it, loved those 
who gathered around her as if 
to give welcome. She knows 
love is movement towards 
each other. So she joined 
a community who volunteer to help 
those homeless and wandering, 
those who can’t afford to ride. 

She moves among caregivers 
for women who lived in violence, 
showing mercy to each human life. 

She lets the bus carry her 
into her city’s center, into joy, 
into the storied skyline—
towards it, always towards it.

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Etrulia Tubbs

For Etrulia Tubbs
By Kimberly Simms

etr-quoteShe never rode the bus
till after her spouse passed.
Born from a singing family,
from a “count your blessings
one by one to see what the Lord
has done” house. Knit inside
a devout mother, thundering
at the church organ to bear
blessings: Etrulia. Living a good
life in hard times, past toils 
& snares, through amazing grace 
prayer. From an unreachable star 
of loss to bouncing onto the bus 
with “Good morning, Everybody.” 
Riding on Poinsett Hwy, tuning 
into sermons on her earbuds.
Finding a community of passengers,
treating people as if they were 
what they ought to be.
Watching the Greenville skyline 
change, grow. Sending up prayers 
for blessings to flow.

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For Vanessa Rampey
By Kathleen Nalley Moorevan-quoteLately, I’ve been contemplating
the shape of things—how lavender 
grows from seed to stem 
to flower to elixir for the body. How lilies 
divided under the right conditions
yield twice the garden. Some cicadas 
await underground for 13 years before 
emerging to the air, relinquish their exoskeletons 
on the bark of a poplar or oak, become.
Can loss shapeshift? Become something other
than a car wreck? A needle? The inevitable
wilting of the stem from drought?
A greenhouse becomes a heart. A trailer 
forms a cocoon. An apartment befits 
the blossom. A bus becomes more than a way 
to traverse point A to point C. Bus routes pinned on a map 
pattern a constellation of time and space and need. 
Strangers morph into friends. Friends into lovers,
lovers like lavender stalks standing alongside 
one another, surging toward the sun. 
Cicadas tell us: swarming is a survival strategy.
In this life, love has been the gift.

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David Rides the Bus

For David Finley
By John Pursley & Sarah Blackman
david-quoteDavid rides the bus and Tasty stays home, her little c—seed?
cede?—of catholic interest 
framed in window glass. David 
rides the bus: Easley to San 
Francisco, Bozeman and back,
flirting quantum physics in the 
1840s, the Book of Exodus—a Tale 
of Two Cities. David rides 
the bus to get work done—David 
and the driver discussing local 
news, Dead Kennedys and Zappa, 
Hebraic poems, a certain cat’s 
scruff “redolent of a very tasty 
pastry,” Mozart, instruments 
with fretted strings. David 
rides the bus for balance, 
dignity, the freedom of his 
sisters — all grandmothers now 
to love him from a distance. 
David rides the bus in algebraic 
grids, an improvisation along 
the fretwork of routes. Fresh 
wood sorrel sprouts along the 
fence lines David passes, framed 
in window glass. 

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The Art of Riding the Bus: 
A Tribute to Jessica Majerus

For Jessica Majerus
By Starry Walker

Remember that you have a lot to be proud of. 
Buy an Extra ticket so that your pride can sit next to you. 
Never leave it behind. 
It has been a long journey in this life. 
It has not been easy.

You are Woman.  Mother. Grandmother. Survivor. 
You were born tired but not too tired to keep going. 
Not too tired to keep fighting for the freedom that you deserve.

Take out your headphones. Go to YouTube 
and play Kevin Gates “I Don’t Get Tired”
This song will be a mantra,
a reminder that we must speak things 
as we want them to be. Not as they are.
jess-quoteGo into your bookbag, pull out your mixed media art journal. 
A place where you keep the found things 
that most people would throw away.
It echoes the beauty within you 
and runs parallel to the legacy 
that you will leave behind for your granddaughter. 
It will show her that things may look ugly in the beginning 
but as long as you don’t give up on yourself 
they will always turn out beautiful in the end.

Just as you have had to fall in love with yourself.
Fall in love with the butterflies 
that you see flying outside of the bus window. 
Know that they are a part of your tribe.
Like the butterfly you have had 
one hell of a journey finding your wings.
Let go and let God take the steering wheel 
of this bus that’s on the road to redemption.

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Follow the God Trail

For Jan LeMay
By Anna Castro Spratt

God created light, & Connecticut,
& her great grandson in Carolina.

She is an observer, eyes wide open
on every ride back home— & a storyteller
since sixteen, when she’d grind her fantasies

into the meals on her father’s plate:
Food that she passed down the dinner table

to her father & her husband (her soulmate),
loved him so much she’d kiss him 
even when his lips bled.jan-quote2Followed the drip-trail around in circles
until they straightened out 
into one real pathway to heaven.

Let her tell you her rules, her commandments,
beginning with always keep your eyes open
so they can lock easily with the girl across from you,

sitting, sealed to her seat & the man next to her.
Parallel to each other, they are just two women.
Do you hear the divinity in that word?

Listen for it— always listen faithfully
and let the wheels of this divinity hold you.

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