When the Flash Came

When the Flash Came, Riverview Mental Hospital, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada copy
When the flash came
I had just cleared the fourth floor
Confident everyone had made it to the shelter
The steel door closed behind them

When the flash came
Night became a day like no other
Just several seconds long
With the intensity of a hundred suns

When the flash came
I was happy not to be in a doorway
As I watched the paint sizzle
In the nuclear sunlight

When the flash came
I knew I would never reach the shelter
Before the blast came
Ahead of a thousand mile an hour wind

When the flash came
I was already dead
If the coming blast did not level the building
The following wind would

When the flash came
With perhaps a few tens of seconds
To live out an infinitesimal infinity
I waited for the flash to fade

When the red glow came
I walked through the smoking doorway
Out onto the balcony
To marvel at the expanding fireball

Waiting for the blast to come
I marvel at the folly of men
And at the wave of destruction approaching
At a thousand miles an hour

And now the blast comes

White Flash
Riverview Mental Hospital
British Columbia, Canada

Taken on location for The Magicians, 2016

I’m working on a series of poems and images inspired by a photograph I shot in the halls of Riverview Mental Hospital while on location filming The Magicians. Sometimes, as with It Is As It Never Was, I’ll have some words in mind and try to find a way to make the original image fit the words. Other times, as with Corridor Dreaming, I’ll play around with the image to create something new from it, and then see what words come.

I’m calling this series Variations on a Hallway.

This time, with When the Flash Came, it was a bit of both. The idea for the words developed as I was working on creating a washed-out version of the original photograph. So the process of creating an image coincided with the genesis of words and phrases which would form a poem.