Try, Fail Try / We Are All Already Dead – by Steve Passey

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Try, Fail, Try


A woman takes her old cat to the veterinarian’s

To be put to sleep, and

It dies in the carrier on the way

She cries and cries

I know a man

First in, last out

You can set your watch by him

At five-thirty he pours the first two fingers of rye

Eventually he falls asleep in a recliner

Watching television

He hasn’t had supper

Or slept in a bed

In two years

Word after word

Line after line

It’s been try, fail, try

For a very long time


We Are All Already Dead


It’s the Socratic thing

That each statement

Implies its own antithesis

Meaning that there are always two truths

I see them in the flies of early autumn

Clinging to a sunlit wall

Fearing October, and

In hornets thrashing madly

Against screen doors

Fighting to escape


I want you to know that

While we walk here warm under the sun

We are all already dead

In the darkest part of night

When I reach for the curve where your hip meets your waist,

I am already dead

When you take hold of me with your hands

In the pale blue light preceding sunrise

In that half-hour before dawn

You are already dead

And when, with friends,

We raise our glasses to the constellations, and

We smoke everything we have

Right down to the end

Our  mouths full of the taste of life and of each other

Living the old cliché about the moment being eternity,

It is because we are,

All of us,

Already dead.



Steve Passey is from Southern Alberta. Previous poetry has appeared in Unbroken Journal, Yellow Chair Review, and the Rat’s Ass Review. He is also a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for fiction. You can reach him on twitter @CanadianCoyote1

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