Somewhere along the line (or A poem in which I exhaust the metaphor of life as a train trip)

Up late after hearing about the death of Muhammad Ali and watching old clips on YouTube.

Every day, the train makes its run along the line
at each stop, a few more people exit the car
At first, the train remains mostly full
it still has a long way to go

For the longest time, everything seems just fine
the train makes its stops—people stay where they are
Nobody’s worried about the lull
there’s plenty of time to get to the show

Before too long, people start watching for the platform sign
to make sure they haven’t gone too far
sleeping through the push and pull
waking up in some place they don’t know

Suddenly, the train looks kind of empty; the brakes screech and whine
The only folks left are the ones who came from the bar
The ones who haven’t passed out are engaged in conversation dull
or staring down at their toes

We’re fast approaching the end of the line
and that building in the distance, the one with the star
Meanwhile, folks are leaving at a rate that seems unbelievable
I feel this strange sense of trepidation grow and grow

I’ve actually no idea which stop is mine
this is the first time I’ve travelled this far
I don’t even know if this route is sustainable
I mean really, how far can it go?

And where do I go at the end of the line?
It’ll be late; there’ll be no one to ask where we are
I suppose I’ll have to keep looking for as long as possible
until I find someone who will let me know

(4 June 2016)