Tag Archives: death

The Death of My Mother as a Movie in Post-Production

The camera pans slowly, no
more quick cuts because
by now the
director’s used to
directing, the producer’s
used to producing, the dead
are used to being
shoved into a little porcelain
cup in the dirt, coupled with
those little porcelain
pythos at the back of our
mental shelving units.

The take is edited so that good
parts come first, and bad
parts are hidden behind
them. The take is edited so that
we aren’t looking at the camera (by
accident) or drowned in
the British Columbian
rain-showers. The take is edited so
that the year is summed up in a
neat little montage, played against
a backdrop of David Guetta:
Titanium and Nine Inch Nails:
La Mer.

Can we please get a mic over
here to catch this important
moment before it degenerates into
something so profoundly unscripted
that we can’t use it in the
finished film? Thanks
very much.

The cast is set, with
lines memorized
and makeup applied, which is
kinda funny because the audience
won’t see the reality of
weeks spent rehearsing dance
numbers and musical
arrangements. Instead, all they
see is the finished product, sparkling
and a little too perfect, a full
year after the actual
event has occurred.

Post-production is always like a
unicycle trying to tap
dance: the question lies in how
to balance budget and performance
quality while trying to make a lot
of noise in time to the music and
also not fall down. They do get it right
eventually (it’s all about finding the
right person to head the team) and
there’s a few thousand dollars left
for graveyard flowers and college
tuition deposits.

I imagine it
now. The premiere. The theater
fills with anticipatory
remarks. The hush falls suddenly with
the rising curtain, and legal
guardians quiet their adoptive children:
the show has begun.

The fateful year of
production, now condensed
into two hours of select highlights
and all the important bits, plays
out in front of a sold-out
crowd. The end is
heartbreaking. The screen turns
black like six p.m. The credits roll
to thundering applause. A standing

April 25/17


Close your eyes
and think

Does it almost feel
like nothing
changed at all?

Try to let that
sink in
and open those
little eyes again

Go soulcrushing
with the best of them
Like when I’m
crying on the floor
at midnight,
wishing I had muscles
strong enough
to heave up dinner

Holding my own
fingers, cause
no one’s there to
hold my hand
as if it mattered

Screaming dead-aired
Weeping without tears
as I –
Or as you, rather –
wait for the melancholy
to pass

Snot dripping down
your chin and into
your eyes
Mingling with your
shaking breath
and shaking limbs

Close your eyes
and think

Think about anything
but think about it
before you die

Feb 20/17

The Year We Die

When I finished this poem in the early hours of Jan 2/16 I looked back at the title… and thought shoot, that sounds more morbid than  I intended… especially around New Year’s Day.
It’s not really a poem about this year or last year. It’s a poem about about North American life and how strange just going through the motions can be. It’s a poem asking what if? What if you die soon? Will anything change about your life? Will anything about you be different?

The Year We Die

The year we die
is hardly different
We still fulfill
endless dreams
and hunger for
something more
than mundanity

And the month we die
is still as cold
as December
or as hot as July
It never sinks
when everything swims
We’re still the same
– still insane –
We’re still spent dry

And the week we die
doesn’t hold us
like a song
or cradle us
in mothering arms
We go to work
We take our medication
– maybe vitamins –
and hope that
our bodies will
improve with age

And the day we die
is just a day
Maybe we see it coming
because our bones
have turned rotten
or our skin’s melted away
But it’s likely that
we don’t see it coming
at all

The hour we die
is just a rush
of getting there
and being on time
Of having that second drink
or second portion
of overrated boredom
And those sick treats
we pretend are vegetables
curdle our tongues
with salt and vinegar
They make us wonder why
we even brush our teeth

The minute we die
is just a long minute
in a long line of
adrenaline-beating minutes
that make hearts race
into our heads
We see lives
flash before our eyes
and then suddenly know
that there aren’t any
tomorrows left

Yet the second we die
is eternity
An eternity
of waiting for light
hoping that God still loves us
and that our life
maybe even
stood for something
An eternity of
wishing we could’ve died
somewhere else
– among loved ones maybe –
or for someone else
– someone who
hasn’t seen the truth yet
And the lie we all tell ourselves
is that the eternity won’t end
but that we’ll stay
and hold that second
that we’ll be surrounded
by everyone
that our last words
will be as deep as
the Mariana Trench
that we’ll see
some sort of light

and that the real corpses
somehow aren’t the people
we leave behind

Jan 2/15