Bonedog – a poem by Eva H.D. (Eva Haralambidis-Doherty)

Bonedog – a poem by Eva H.D.

[transcribed from its appearance in the film I’m Thinking of Ending Things]

Coming home is terrible
whether the dogs lick your face or not;
whether you have a wife
or just a wife-shaped loneliness waiting for you.
Coming home is terribly lonely,
so that you think
of the oppressive barometric pressure
back where you have just come from
with fondness,
because everything’s worse
once you’re home.

You think of the vermin
clinging to the grass stalks,
long hours on the road,
roadside assistance and ice creams,
and the peculiar shapes of
certain clouds and silences
with longing because you did not want to return.
Coming home is
just awful.

And the home-style silences and clouds
contribute to nothing
but the general malaise.
Clouds, such as they are,
are in fact suspect,
and made from a different material
than those you left behind.
You yourself were cut
from a different cloudy cloth,
ill-met by moonlight,
unhappy to be back,
slack in all the wrong spots,
seamy suit of clothes
dishrag-ratty, worn.

You return home
moon-landed, foreign;
the Earth’s gravitational pull
an effort now redoubled,
dragging your shoelaces loose
and your shoulders
etching deeper the stanza
of worry on your forehead.
You return home deepened,
a parched well linked to tomorrow
by a frail strand of…


You sigh into the onslaught of identical days.
One might as well, at a time…

You’re back.

The sun goes up and down
like a tired whore,
the weather immobile
like a broken limb
while you just keep getting older.
Nothing moves but
the shifting tides of salt in your body.
Your vision blears.
You carry your weather with you,
the big blue whale,
a skeletal darkness.

You come back
with X-ray vision.
Your eyes have become a hunger.
You come home with your mutant gifts
to a house of bone.
Everything you see now,
all of it: bone.

Someone wrote: “’I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is about knowing other people. The poem reinforces the notion at the center of the movie that it’s impossible to know another person the way you know yourself. As the movie suggests, it’s impossible to know another person’s thoughts, and so although you may think you know someone, you never really can. “Bonedog” is about that loneliness, and about how dreary it can be to live with the repetition of a normal life.                                                  …this story (from the book the film is based on) takes place inside the head of a lonely janitor who we see throughout the film. If that’s the case, then “Bonedog” only reinforces that man’s loneliness and his feelings of hopelessness as he goes about his life.”

7 responses »

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  2. If you read the book you will discover that ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ is a book as a suicide note, and not about breaking up. The characters in the book are merely the suicidal authors version of those characters, thus the displaying of those characters all being one and the same. This narrative does show that people can’t truly know one another, but also shows that there is in fact more than one entire person within each of us, which makes the knowing of oneself extremely difficult indeed.

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  5. The declamation of this poem in the movie was great. It’s so well place and apropos. I will refrain from saying what the movie, the poem or the book is about for everyone will affix to it what it will. Its meaning is open to interpretation. And all interpretations are valid. But wasn’t Jessie Buckley ¡wow! worthy?

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