More Died Here
For Wil Conley, 1971-2006
The damn thing is,
He probably didn't see it coming.
Man, 35, beaten to death on a city bus
Four punk brawlers to blame
And me, a fellow bus rider,
trying to figure it out.
Four to one,
Those are deadman's odds no matter how the chips fall
And it’s a good thing that that were ten witnesses
Ten people who didn't do a damn thing as a man got
His head boot smashed into a platform.
Four young jockstraps
with less hair on their pubes
than I have on my face
Jacked up on the bottle and whatever else
Eight bootheels for a lifetime
And one day each of 'em will have to tell their wives the story
Tell their kids the story
Tell them the story again and again.
And this isn't about how
the city is going to hell in a hand basket
this shittown needs a good wash and a flush
"The kids are out of control"
"Things are worse now than when I was young"
No, It's about men and muscle and weakness and fear
and how sometimes this world seems hard for no reason,
Like it has to be that way or it isn't real,
Like the fists and the knives and the guns
Are better weapons than the mind, the pen, the heart?
Its about the misunderstood loner geeks
just trying to push through another day like the rest of us
it's about the man-boys and their tats, their blades,
Their shitty directions, trying to find their place in this muddled world.
It's about the comfort we have because the criminals are never us.
How we move to the burbs out of fear only to realize
That human savagery does not know geography.
The truth is,
We all murdered that man on the bus.
And it was all of us who died alone on that platform.
And it was all of us who watched.
And it is all of us who'll pass judgment on our own coward's killing.
I raise a glass to you, fellow bus rider,
You never thought that that trip would be your last.
And I hate to think about you laying there waiting to die,
Your fading thoughts your only company.
You suffered the bad end
So this prayer is for you,
And it's for the four miscreants that did the deed
And for the others who watched in shock
And it's for the rest of us,
The bleeding stumbling masses,
just trying to figure it out.
© Michael Gravel