'As Though It Was Meant to Happen'

More
This is Cornelius Eady's lovely reimagining of the old Leadbelly song, in which Jack Johnson is refused a ticket on the Titanic:

Jack Johnson Does The Eagle Rock

Perhaps he left the newspaper stand that morning
         dazed, a few pennies lighter,
The illustration of the crippled ocean liner
       with the berth he had the money
But not the skin to buy
Engraving itself
On that portion of the mind reserved for
       lucky breaks.
Perhaps the newsboy, a figure too small to
       bring back,
Actually heard his laugh,
As the S.S. Titanic, sans one prize fighter,
Goes down again all over New York,
Watched his body dance
As his arms lift the ship, now a simple millimeter thick,
       above his head
In the bustling air, lift it up
As though it was meant to happen,

For the literal-minded, there's no evidence that Jack Johnson was refused a ticket. I hate having to add that, but comedy and poetry posts seem to attract the world's most narrow- and literal-minded people. The poem is from Eady's great book, Victims of the Latest Dance Craze.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Time JFK Called the Air Force to Complain About a 'Silly Bastard'

51 years ago, President John F. Kennedy made a very angry phone call.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In