Annotated Poetry

I thought it would be interesting to write out the images I see in my mind when I read a poem, for one of my own pieces of writing. Here is an annotated version of the poem “As I sit here, waiting to die”. If you have not yet read it, READ THIS FIRST . Then compare the version below which has stage directions to see how close it was to what you were thinking when you read the poem. I would like to make this into a video at some point.

As I sit here, waiting to die

(An old man lies on the floor of a teepee like structure with a sandy dirt floor. The teepee is in a crowded pedestrian village reminiscent of one of the Mayan sites or Machu Pichu. The man is lying on his side, crouching over the center of the structure, looking at the dirt floor. He sits up, still watching the floor.)

As I sit here, waiting to die
I look at the ground
My little patch of the universe, temporarily occupied

(We focus on the floor itself. The man has a stick pushed into the earth. He thinks of writing in the soil floor. There is writing all around the structure and outside of it.)

I will till letters here with my fingers
I will carve a memory through this clay
I will tell them everything
(He draws a figure of a man and we zoom in to see it is the old man’s face when he was young, standing proudly over a battlefield of slain enemies. As we zoom in the initially primitive drawing becomes more detailed and the music becomes grand and glorious while we begin to gradually hear screams in the background.)
All I was
All that I made
A garden of my accomplishments and dreams
All my realizations unshared in a lonely walk through the world
(The man looks over at the other side of the teepee that is empty. Clearly the many has no wife or child. It should feel dead at first. Lifeless. )

(The man looks out the window at a monumental sculpture. It could be Mayan again or perhaps something grander like Easter Island. We zoom in on the statue’s face during this passage and then zoom out to see just a part of the broken statue, now a relic sitting in a gigantic window of a mousey old woman’s New York park view apartment.)
I know I am not a chief
I know my face will not be saved in stone
Glaring for centuries out the apartment window of a New York heiress

(The man look over, still out the window, and now sees a teepee being cleared out. Someone has died and people are scrambling to take their now unneeded possessions Fights break out. The floor of teepees are kicked about and writing erased, wooden stakes broken, etc. They keep fighting and fighting, no one taking control of the structure. At the last line a man is killed and we see his wife hunched over him crying and praying. Water begins to lap against her legs on the ground.)
I have seen them trample the earth when you go
I have been in the impatient hordes
Grabbing for the prizes, shouting and angry

Scattering to nowhere a lifetime of wisdom
Whole people cast away for a minor convenience
For such temporary shelter in such a long, cold season

(We zoom out and now see body is the old man, lying down in the dirt in the middle of the teepee. The floor has become a beach and waves lap against his legs. We pan over the body. He eventually lowers his torso to the sand and is overrun by the tide.)
And as the shore of eternity washed up and laps my toes
The muscles in my back relax
And I lay my head down in the sandy earth
And the waves wash up and over

(We watch the old man peacefully lying in the sand, which becomes a bed. The man is making himself comfortable, stretching and rearranging pillows and so forth. The man keeps alternating between periods of closing his eyes and trying to sleep and periods of thrashing about unable to get to sleep. We focus on his face then his nose, then we watching him breathing).
Why did I fight it for so many years?
Why did I pay such small attention to the feel of my body at night?

One should get comfortable first in bed

Your legs, your shoulders
The feel of breathing in and out of your nose

The soft hum inside us

I fought too long writing letters in this short blasted soil
And now instead mix my bones with the rocks and the flowers and the stars

(The man’s body is put through a sand shaker and gradually he disappears amongst the waves. We focus on a very content face. As the body decays and disappears the smile is so calm. So satisfied.)

And floating now on the endless sea
My skin it keeps me warm enough
And I smile and let go
I smile and let go