The List Grows (Emilie Collyer)

Posted on November 22, 2011 by in Heightened Talk

This is what you can’t do.

It’s a list that grows.

Like that taunt boys

used to write on blackboards:

the more you rub

the bigger it gets.


Pink bits proliferate.

Women with stern hair

write papers about how

porn is ruining us all

while the rest of us gape

at youth. They don’t


have a list. Yoko Ono

tweets about loving

old trees. It offers some

comfort until my friend

rolls her eyes and says

It’s okay for her,

she’s Yoko Ono and tells me


John and Yoko

weren’t that happy together

when he died.

It’s still a tragedy, I say,

the man she loved was killed.

I watched a documentary


about Mark Chapman,

the man who killed John Lennon.

I could understand his desire.

Unloved, he wanted to

take away from the world

a person everybody


loved. We all want that

sometimes don’t we?

The difference between

us and Mark Chapman

is that we don’t

all do it. The list


grows, of things we

can’t do or won’t do

or would have done

once. If the list were

a colour it would be red

or at least it would


have been when we

first wrote it.

Now it is faded, pink,

like those pink bits,

so ubiquitous they

lose their titillating


power and no matter

how hard we rub

it gets harder

to feel


at all.