While sitting in the silence of another homeward bus,
I cried – There’s something fucking wrong with this,
This silence, every one of us,
commuting to our homes alone,
estranged and nameless neighbours,
living near, but not together, in exactly the same time and place…
Evading one another’s gaze,
while searching for an empty seat,
how bittersweet that we’d prefer to people-watch than people-meet…
And if the blood that runs within our veins is just the same,
if we share our fears and hopes and tears and smiles and life from which we came…
Isn’t it a little strange we think each other strangers?
That we hide our eyes from contact,
safe from conversational attacks,
with laptops, phones and tablets,
as we poke at so-called ‘social apps’,
lest somebody speak, and show us things we don’t already know,
in case someone we’ve never met realise that we’re not perfect yet,
in case somebody might see through the mask that we’re just human too…
But we all feel lost and lonely,
and sometimes I think if only
someone on this bus would just stand up and have the guts
to yell out ‘Hello People, I’m a Person, Nice to Meet You, Lets Converse!’
that it might work…
and sure, at first, of course it would be awkward…
But then we’d all start talking…
…and then we’d laugh, and maybe cry, and say a nice goodbye…
And then as friends we’d go away and say to everyone we knew,
‘Talk on busses, talk in queues, just talk! And talk to strangers too!’
And all across the planet, on the busses, planes and trains and trams,
at coffee carts and paper stands,
we’d smile and greet each other,
knowing we all had a mother and a father and the farther
that we strayed into these social wilds we’d all be reminded
every one of us was once upon a time a tiny child,
and with every conversation made and each new friendly face,
we’d all stop placing so much salience on nations, creeds, and races…
And the more we talked and walked towards our common plans
with hands in hands and hearts in hearts,
we’d see how silly, simple little starts
could take us places never been,
and show us things we’ve never seen,
and we’d all stop, and really stare into this mirror of society,
and violently we’d vomit up each one of our anxieties, and biases,
and pious hatreds in a giant pile a mile high,
and humankind would finally be so reviled
that we’d burn the pile to embers and the day would be remembered
as the day we all connected…
The Day the People Smiled.
But no one smiled.
No one spoke.
No one said a single word.
They all just sat and stared away, as if they hadn’t even heard…
The silence burned.
The bus rolled on.
…and one by one they disembarked.
My stop arrived, and without words, I stepped into the dark.