"We Are Shine"

Conor Mc Donnell

Conor Mc Donnell is a physician and poet. He has published two chapbooks in Canada, The Book of Retaliations (Anstruther Press) and Safe Spaces (Frog Hollow Press). In 2018, he received Honourable Mention for The Fiddlehead’s Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize, and in 2019, he was shortlisted for Raw Art Review’s Charles Bukowski Poetry Prize and was runner-up in Vallum’s Award for Poetry. His writing has featured in The Fiddlehead, JAMA, In Parentheses, Scrivener Creative Review, 580SpltLip, Carousel, and elsewhere. Other poems exploring Hollywood are forthcoming in Vallum, Grain, and Raw Art Review. Conor lives in Toronto with his wife and two dogs.

“‘We Are Shine’ is from a suite of poems exploring how we normalize and internalize violence and power hierarchies by repeat exposure through film and media. These poems call into question our unwitting role as observers of trauma and pain whereby, for example, a film as familiar as The Shining becomes less about the singular vision of one man’s descent into madness and more about the Greek chorus of spirits and negative energies that assail us in moments of weakness and isolation.”

         The Interview

     we are wait
     we are have an appointment
     we are way to making ends meet
     five months peace is just what we need
     we are quite the story


         Closing Day

     we are air feels different here
     we are presidents movie-stars royalty all the best people
     we are cosy for a family perfect for a child
     we are show you the kitchen Wendy
     we are getting to the ice-cream
     we are eat your breadcrumb-trail we are show you trace of something


         One Month Later

     we are big-wheel chased by gyroscopes through corridor and kitchen

     we are softball smacking smallpox blanket looking over maze


         Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday & Monday

     we are weather we are forecast we are snowstorm
     we are want to finish work
     we are in here where you don’t come in
     not your we we are not your okay
     we are omen exorcist Amityville
     we are lines and signals down
     we are big-wheel in the distance big-wheel in the close-up
     we are covering our eyes we are silent
     we are tip-toe we are Mickey in the bad-wolf den
     two-fold in the mirror we are not what you see
     we are tired we can’t sleep we are too much to do
     we are wishing we are here
     we are making up our promises


         Wednesday 2:36

     we are playing in hallway we are oracle archer plague we are Apollo at forbidden door
     danger screaming in sleep in terrible dream we are Wendy running seeing our pieces
     we are little boy in blue we are gashes at the neck we are you did this we are go for a walk
     we are screaming breeze in turbine blades stabbing us in ear we are one deep at the bar
     we are bargaining we are what’ll it be we are here’s what one by one

     we are white man’s burden temporarily light good credit nonetheless & in the market for more

     we are bargained we are sold we are settlers we are wagons we are fall and irreparable harm
     we are could be a whole lot better we are nothing we can’t handle we are wisdom we are words
     we are goddammit we love the lil’ son of a bitch
     we are any fucking thing for him we are that bitch as long as we live will never forgive
     we are completely unintentional we are could happen to anyone
     we are momentary loss of muscular co-ordination
     we are the fuck you talking about


         One minute later

     we are feet up on the pillow straddling tv we are looking up African lady we are impossible
     we are shut down we are stranded we are frozen we are blocked we are straining to the heartbeat
     we are deathbed grimace reality we are seizing in control we are Jack’s white hand
     on lime-green door we are naked in water we are grinning like goons we are
     dribble down our self we are shaking uncontrollably we are seeing from Miami
     we are crossing closing distance we are bloody in our ears we are touched and we are touching
     we are kissed and we are kissing Baba Yaga of the bathtub we are rotten on the breath
     we are in and we are laughing we are waiting
     we are here when you will call us
     we are what about the bruises we are did it to himself we are no other explanation
     we are episode he had
     we are get out we are not going to let you fuck this up
     we are tin-cans in the kitchen we are music in dead speaker we are midnight stars and you
     we are good to be back we are orders from the house we are kind of man who likes to know
     we are anything you say we are awful mess that tends to stain we are most important soiree
     we are married we are caretaker we are always have been here
     we are very great talent being used against the will we are wilful
     it’s the mother we are correcting her
     we are coming down the mountain
     we are Tony warning Danny
     we are Danny gone away
     we are try again later


         Thursday 8 a.m.

     we are intercontinental
     we are calling scatman back

     we are all play and no work
     we are dullest boy is jack

     we are moral
     we are contract
     we are principle & ethic
     we are not gonna hurt you we are
     gimme the bat we are GODDAMN

     we are polish floor with back of head
     we are what are you doing we
     are let me out of
     here we are what
     never happened we are hurt
     real bad
     we are dizzy don’t
     leave we here we are don’t run
     through house with knives


         4 p.m.

     we are passed out in the peanuts
     we are business we discussed
     we are one more chance
     we are no greater pleasure
     harshest possible manner
     we are good as our word

     we are scatman in a snowcat
     we are reading in the mirror
     we are Danny just got back
     we are at the door with Jack
     we are sliding out the window
     we are come-out come-out wherever you are
     we are little pigs let me come in
     we are blow your house down Wendy
     we are chopping we are in

     we are cavalry come
     we are Danny running Jack limping Wendy whimpering scatman calling Jack swinging scatman falling
     Danny screaming
     we are show ourselves to Wendy we are footprints in the snow we are floodlights in the storm
     we are limping into labyrinth we are beast and boiling rage we are showing Wendy Wendy sees
     we are corpses in the lobby we are blow-jobs in a bear-suit we are clever boy covering tracks
     we are bleeding in the lift-shaft we are axeman enters maze we are Jack the Giant Killer
     we are fi-fo-fum we are plunging ever deeper we are not the only one we are howling killer-clown
     we are family asunder we are finding wrong way out we are freezing we are jackfrost
     we are waiting to be told we are always to be here we are no sad snowman we are no sorry
     we are shining and Wendy in spring in sun-time we are shine again