Another Bulb Blown

I haven’t been writing. The explanation
is I’ve been living. But what is living
without writing? And also, how many
brilliant lights must be extinguished
before we give a collective fuck? I mean
an actual fuck, not a flowery, pining
wish-it-weren’t-so sigh, glorifying death
all glittery & shit, strung with quotes
and the most flattering photos
of the actor in his prime or your friend
when he wasn’t completely wasted.

I actually caught myself thinking
comedians have it the worst, as though
morbid six-foot-deep depression were just
another station on the track of life
if you’re unlucky enough to board the C train.
Lucky for the rest of us, I guess, until
or maybe including the moment of our loss
when we rally, circle round holding hands,
light some candles, fetishizing death
intoning you’re always in our hearts as though
it’s true. But it’s not. Mostly we keep
our totems squirrelled away in a box
under the bed, reduced to trivia in a game
where the prize is another beer. I haven’t been
writing. Maybe he had stopped telling jokes.


  1. I suspect as much. Except I'm out of beer, so will have a scotch instead. I haven't written much, either (my last is a dusted off and somewhat reworked piece from last year). ~

  2. Scotch, please ... for me too. On the rocks .. with a (cruel) twist. Rest in peace, dear Robin.

  3. Yes. Maybe. And whether it is true or not, we are all taking stock as if he were each of our younger brother. I love this poem that slowly reveals the link, moves out across the world to him, our mirror, and back to the self. This is writing, Marian! Very fine writing.

  4. I feel this, Marian. I wish that I had written this; I wish I had the strength. All of the news coverage has said over and over - he was only 63, so young! He was a year older than my dying mother. Perhaps he had run out of jokes. How do you cope, then?

    Thank you for this, Marian.

  5. So much in the media event horizon is more noise -- why then write? Why add to the freight? I found your poem compact and powerful and on the nose asking that question. There's also an unwritten creative maxim, write or die, tell jokes or die -- I mean, what is living without writing? Yet I'm pondering a hiatus too. How can words like this mean anything unless held against their silence? Watched an episode of "The Sopranos" this weekend and thought, o yeah, James Gandolfini's dead too. And Charlie Haden. And Richard Attenborough. And Philip and Lauren and Robin. And a nobody in Monrovia. And my father's partner. And everyone who died in Flanders a hundred years ago and a cat down the street who got nailed by a coyote. Why write? Perhaps for them. Or for what remains, of them, of us. Great poem, Marian.

  6. Great title. My first husband committed suicide, a friend's son hung himself two years ago... yesterday a neighbor found his 20 year old son hanging by a sheet in a tree.... so tragic when one no longer has anything to live for - they think... write because there are words that must be said.

  7. Woah! I read the first sentence, then marvelled at the length of the poem, Marian. Then I read it, and understood the source of this out-pouring.. some things remained bottled up until it is time for them to flow, unsullied. Your viewpoint is one I very much agree with - it gets harder to see the funny side of life.

    1. it really is. though sometimes i do still bust a gut. ;)

  8. There are some splendid imagery in this -- the six-foot depression.. what a way to express what many a comedian try to cover with that thin layer of comedy, and especially moving is of course.. did we really care, or is it just a show-off -- like an ice-bucket challenge.. It's hard to be honest on yourself.. -- This resonated a lot with me..

  9. well im kinda bored with life and hence havent been writing... so i guess ill write when i start enjoying again!! :)

  10. Back for a second read, now the black dog has backed off a bit. Depression. It is its own realm. Blessedly, age, and perhaps wisdom gained, have made my battles with it more easily fought and more rapidly won.

  11. How glad I am to revisit this.
    I hope your new job is pleasing you and that you find life astounding with or without writing.

    1. thank you! writing more now, actually. whew.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!