By Button Poetry
[Transcript provided by YouTube:
When you’re in your coffin, clanging down the river,
with all the other coffins in the water of the next world,
all of them bumping and jostling against one another,
the contents thrown about, like riding in a small plane,
you’ll peek your head up to see what the racket is.
You’ll see the other coffins.
Looking around, you’ll see nothing but coffins and river,
and two banks distantly flanking the river,
and the biggest, tallest dark stretching above.
So dark it feels like this place, big as it is,
must be inside some sort of bigger place.
♪ (slow music) ♪
There’s still stars, though.
Wherever this river is, you can still see stars.
And while looking around, you’ll see that there are other heads
peeking out of their coffins.
You yell across the dark, asking, “You know where we are?”
And someone will answer back,
“Nope,” you say back.
You ask someone else, “What about you?”
“No. I wonder where this is.”
And someone else will say,
“I don’t know, but it’s big.”
And someone else, “Yeah, it’s vast.”
And someone else, depending on what part of the river you’re in, may say,
“Yeah, vast like the backside of Sean Brown.”
And even though no one on the river knows who Sean Brown is,
everyone on the river will laugh.
The chuckles will subside until the quiet sets in over the laughter,
a quiet like you sat down in somebody else’s church.
And somebody will then ask somebody else, “Where are you from?”
And they will say, “Texas. What about you?”
“I know someone from Boston. Kate Leigh. You know her?”
“What about Stephen Ellis?”
“I’m actually in Somerville.”
And someone else will then yell out,
“Somerville? I know someone in Somerville.”
“Nick Kathkart. Know him?”
“I do! I do, actually! I do know him!”
– “Yeah?” – “Yeah!”
“Oh, man, small world. Yeah. Nicky is a great guy.”
“He is. I hadn’t seen him in five or ten years,
and when I did, he had a first edition of an E.E. Cummings book to give me.
And the first person probably won’t know who E.E. Cummings is
but will still agree that, yes, Nicky is a great guy.
And then it will get quiet again until someone else asks,
“Where is it that we are?”
And no one will answer.
A few people shrug.
All of you will look into the stars that are collecting overhead,
will try to think of someone you might know
that lives in Somerville or Texas, or Florida, or France,
just to have something to talk about with a person you never met before
just right now,
just to share something in the dark quiet,
even though all of you are already sharing the river
and the sound of the current bumping all of you into one another.
And you wonder where the water is taking you
and how long it will be before it brings you there
and what “there” will be like,
if it’ll be like here on the river, with all of us sitting in our boxes,
trying to split the dark by sharing our voice with others,
if it’ll be like how it was in the world before this one.
♪ (slow music) ♪
This post was previously published on YouTube.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, today.
All Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS.
Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video