Ruth Forman's "Poetry Should Ride the Bus" is metafictional and humorous. The poem is also didactic, meaning that it aims to teach or instruct: it explains what poetry "should" do. It also achieves a comic effect by juxtaposing the conventional "high art" of poetry with everyday and entertaining things like "wear[ing] a polka dot dress," "play[ing] hopscotch," and "wear[ing] bright red lipstick." The metafictional aspect results from the poem's being about poetry itself.
It is worth noting that the poem exhibits several types of figurative language. The first is anaphora, the repetition of the first part of a sentence. Here, the repetition is at the beginning of each stanza: "poetry should . . ." The poem also personifies poetry throughout the poem by ascribing human actions to the abstract idea of poetry (e.g., "poetry should wear bright red lipstick").
The final two stanzas maintain this personification, but they also add more gravity to the actions recommended, as these actions demonstrate emotions rather than just portraying behaviors. The second half of the poem insists that poetry should "drop by a sweet potato pie / ask about the grandchildren," "sing red revolution love songs," and "whisper electric blue magic . . . never forgettin (sic) to look you in the soul." Poetry should not only be outrageous; it should be accessible in everyday affairs and also emotionally provocative.
Forman's poem also employs descriptive but simple language to portray everyday events, such as "poetry should ride the bus / in a fat woman's Safeway bag / between the greens n chicken wings." Her message is that real poetry is not high-brow or abstruse; it is to be found in the beauty of common events.
Poetry is an art, and so its interpretation and appreciation will naturally be subjective. Regardless of interpretation, however, one can certainly appreciate Forman's departure from an understanding of poetry as something that necessarily exhibits complicated conceits and esoteric allusions.