Shane Koyczan

Over the past week or so, I’ve run into spoken word poetry by Shane Koyczan (COY-zan) online three or four times. A friend posted a link on Facebook, I clicked one of the related videos suggested by YouTube, and there he is.

Shane is a 36-year-old Canadian poet, writer, and artist. I hadn’t heard about him until days ago, but I can’t turn him off. I don’t want to. It’s incredible.

Do yourself a favor and watch one of these all the way through.

The first is called “The Crickets Have Arthritis”. It’s about sharing a hospital room with a 9-year-old cancer patient.

Part of this reminded me a bit of one of my own posts (just much, much better). I can’t explain why, but Shane’s words hit me as perfectly…real.

And they visit every day and stay well past visiting hours because for them that term doesn’t apply. But when they do leave, Louis and I are left alone. And he says, “The worst part about being sick is that you get all the free ice cream you ask for.” And he says, “The worst part about that is realizing there is nothing more they can do for you.” He says, “Ice cream can’t make everything okay.”

And there is no easy way of asking, and I know what he’s going to say, but maybe he just needs to say it, so I ask him anyway. “Are you scared?”

Louis doesn’t even lower his voice when he says, “Fuck yeah.”

I listen to a 9 year old boy say the word ‘fuck’ like he was a 30-year-old man with a nose-bleed being lowered into a shark tank–he’s got a right to it. And if it takes this kid a curse word to help him get through it, then I want to teach him to swear like the devil’s sitting there taking notes with a pen and a pad. But before I can forget that Louis is 9 years old he says, “Please don’t tell my dad.”

The second is an animated project called “To This Day”, and it aims to confront bullying. It’s very good.