Tuesday Poem: This is the way the world ends, by Helen Rickerby

This story is about remembering
and forgetting

Not knowing where you are
or if it’s real

But you can die with a martini in your hand


The girl in pink, skating towards you
has an automatic weapon
behind her back

and this drug will take you to Jesus
if Jesus is a chorus
line of short-skirt nurses


There is too much sun in California
for shadows


There are other people
in this story

The bride and groom who laughed themselves to death

the boy who lost hope

the pirate soldier, the man with two souls

the porn stars, the family

the whole city

the whole world


This is an apocalypse

in an ice cream truck


Twiddling his fingers
While LA burns

‘He’s going to die,’ says one blonde, sadly
‘There’s nothing we can do,’ says the other

as they dance cheek to cheek
hand in manicured hand

There’s nothing they can do

Credit note:“This is the way the world ends” was first published in Trout 16 and is reproduced here by permission of the author.

Tim says: Helen Rickerby and I have something more in common than being Wellington members of the Tuesday Poets. We like something that, to many, is a subject to be scorned, feared, or ridiculed. We like Richard Kelly’s movie Southland Tales.

Southland Tales, Kelly’s followup to Donnie Darko, was a critical and commercial disaster, a great, sprawling, baffling, infuriating mess of a movie that goes nowhere and everywhere at once. The thing is, though, that it is full of the most wonderful images and concepts. It’s like someone put Andrei Tarkovsky’s soul inside Michael Bay and gave TarkoBay (Baykovsky?) a few mill to go and play with. It’s the postmodern “Heart of Darkness”. It’s nuts. You should see it.

But that’s enough about me … from this raw material, Helen has fashioned another of her marvellous poems inspired by movies.

You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog – the featured poem is on the centre of the page, and the week’s other poems are linked from the right-hand column.

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Poem: This is the way the world ends, by Helen Rickerby

Comments are closed.