"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, Journal of the American Medical Association, In Parentheses, Scrivener Creative Review, 580SpltLip, Carousel, birdburiedpress online, and elsewhere. Other poems exploring Hollywood are forthcoming in Vallum, Grain, and The Raw Art Review. Conor lives in Toronto with his wife and two dogs and is currently writing / rewriting / completing / shredding his first full poetry manuscript.


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"'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

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