The List Grows (Emilie Collyer)

Verity La 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
anything
at all.