Museum of Impending Death


Trying to focus on what feels meaningful to me in this moment.

Trying not to let my own thoughts reside inside nothing but impending death.

Trying not to let my own thoughts reside inside this giant nihilistic

ever expanding sky filled with rising numbers of dead stars.

Brimming with stark contrasts, alternating currents

between freaked out, productive, freaked out,

creative, wondering if I’m going to die from this.

If I’m going to melt down inside this ongoing vortex.

Thousands of broken wings get sucked into numbers,

spiral down, crack into the ground, vanish.

Thunder in the sky sounds like gurgling blood,

getting closer until I shake and cover my ears.

Trying to place my own impending death inside another poem

filled with words instead of numbers. Cerulean blue instead of red.


Poetry is not a party favor,

but even if it was,

it wouldn’t be allowed

to get very close to the table

or the cake.

Other than inside a nightmare of a rusty game of musical chairs

in which we are stumbling, hobbling, falling down,

while trying to walk in circles,

competing for the chairs

that keep disappearing.

At the end of this game, there are two people left.

The chairs turn into hospital beds.

One person lies down

on the one remaining bed

and is named the winner.

The other person crawls around the floor

holding onto a suspicious cake.

Nobody is left in the audience.

Poetry is not a party favor,

but it might be a parting gift

stuck inside the cake

or hiding underneath your bed

just waiting for you to touch it

and then guess what happens next?


“I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, so sue me if I go too fast
But life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last”

(lyrics from the song 1999 by Prince)

My life lasted more than 20 years longer than that song,

but now there is no space for parties

and I feel oddly embarrassed for liking the song

and for missing my favorite restaurants.

I mean, I’m lucky to be alive, right?

Hospital rooms are filling up fast.

Funeral homes are a source of impending contamination

for those who aren’t dead yet.

Song lyrics suddenly seem as careless

as a casual slaughter.

Meat spreads disease, another body part chopped off
and flung into the cremation bin.

Dolls with the plague are sealed tight inside bottles.

Zombies ride the carousels

with their dying arms rupturing

or rapture-ing, depending

on their angle.

Angels are possessed,

can’t stop passing

goblets of blood

until they collapse under the rafters

and don’t know who to believe in.

This one wants to party until she dies.

This one wants to try her best to protect

everyone except for herself. She continually drinks

more than she eats because the slaughtered meat might be infected.

Juliet Cook is brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at

Twitter: nonvanilla

Painting by Golnaz Hosseini, Courtesy of the Artist