Commonplace
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www.common-place.org · vol. 13 · no. 3 · Spring 2013


Poetic Research Department

Statement of Poetic Research

Diana Arterian
Poems


"The Last Speech and Confession of John Ryer,: who was executed at the White-Plains, on the 2d of October 1793…," woodcut at the top of a broadside (New York? 1793). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Last Words of the Dying

VI

Listen! This'll
hurt someone!

Do not disturb
my circles.

You can get more
with a kind word

and a gun—Lady,
you shot me!

…this is a mortal wound.
But how the devil

do you think
this could harm me?

That picture is awful
dusty.

Sources: Archimedes, Al Capone, Sam Cooke, Denis Diderot, R. Buss Dwyer, Alexander Hamilton, Jesse James
[All dead by suicide or murder]

VII

What's that? Do I
look strange?

Come, come, no weakness;
let's be a man to the last.

I must go in, the fog
is rising.

Sources: Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson

The Last Words of the Condemned

To Loved Ones

Y'all stick
together. In your hearts.

I'm going home
babe—out of here.

Keep me—the love
the closeness

given me.
Don't waste any time

in mourning.

Sources: James Allen Red Dog, John Cockrum, Joe Hill, Kevin Watts, William James "Flip" Williams, Jr.


"Life, last words and dying speech of John Sheehan,: who was executed at Boston, on Thursday, November twenty-second, 1787…," woodcut at the top of a broadside (Boston, 1787). Courtesy of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts.

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