Variations on Famous Last Words

Carolyn Martin


I'm going to the bathroom to read.
Get my Swan costume ready.

And now for a final word from our sponsor – 
Bring me a bullet-proof vest.

Oh, you young people act like old men. You are no fun. 
A party! Let’s have a party.

Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me! 
I have tried so hard to do right.

I want – I want, oh, you know what I mean, that stuff of life.
It is enough.

Don’t cut the ham too thin.
My exit is the result of too many entrées.

Try to bring back the god in us to the god of the universe.
Now let me sleep.

This is the best of all possible worlds.
It will be but a momentary pang.

Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.
I don’t think I shall get over this.

Oh, that glorious sun!
I drink the morning.

My garden … my garden!
It will be a pity to leave all that.

More light!
Turn up the lights. I don’t want to go home in the dark.

Does nobody understand?
It is all light.

How far are we from home?
Take me home. I must go home.

This is it. I’m going, I’m going.
Tranquility.

I still live … poetry … .
Truth, truth!

I am seeing things that you know nothing of.
Hurrah, hurrah!

I am about the extent of a tenth of a gnat’s eyebrow better.
This is as it should be. 

It is very beautiful, but I want to go farther away.
Softly, quite softly.

Too many cigars this evening, I guess.
Gentlemen, you are all dismissed.

Oh, the beautiful Green Life again! Ah, all is well.
Give the boys a holiday.

Have I played the part well? Then applaud me as I exit.
Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.

So here it is at last, the distinguished thing!
Leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub. 


From Assistant Professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has journeyed from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and dry summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK and her third collection, Thin Places, was released by Kelsay Books in 2017.