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Year 2023
by Kevin Mercurio

This post is a dedication to the grief-stricken poem Bonedog by Eva H.D., first heard in the movie I’m Thinking of Ending Things. To ponder in melancholy, read the poem online here:



The unknown can be terrible

Whether there is a set deadline or not;

Whether you have an answer

Or just a pseudo-answer to calm you.

The unknown can be terribly sombre,

So that you think

Of lively, brighter memories

Back when life was simpler,

With unconditional love,

Because everything can be terrible

Confronting the unknown.


You think of the walks in the night

Sparking conversation about issues,

Long hours at work,

Experimenting and socializing,

And the thunderous howling of 

the wind just outside the window

With needy desire because you did not perceive the present.

The unknown can be

Just terrible.


And the unforgotten howling of the wind,

Contribute to nothing

But general questioning.

Wind, or the concept,

Is in fact reproduced,

And made from multiple factors

outside your control.

You yourself had flapped 

your wings in uncontested directions,



Oblivious to the hurricane,

Unhappy to be challenged,

Closed to all who dare enter,

Sulking in your pride

Disheveled, lost.


You remain isolate,

Darkness fell, collapse;

The thunderous howling of the wind 

growing evermore silent,

Whispers jumping into your ears,

Blowing air in your eyes,

Inflicting deep sadness

In your veins.

You contemplate the unknown,

An idea linked to the future

By a shadowy path to…



You breathe a sigh of relief.

One should from time to time.

Well, anyway,

You’re here.


Your chest moves up and down,

Like a fleshy balloon,

The situation constant,

Like an undisturbed pond,

While you continue to sit.

Nothing changes but

Your neurons making connections.

Your head aches.

You jump to conclusions

With the force of infinity,

A void of normality.


You reflect

With mental clarity.

Your desire has become a necessity.

You reflect with your past experiences,

To a moment of endurance.

Everything you think now,

All of it: endurance.






Three days ago from writing this poem and afterword, I watched the movie I’m Thinking of Ending Things, based on the novel of the same name by Canadian writer Iain Reid. The film, directed by Charlie Kaufman, has an outstanding cast, who at the forefront are a duo of “Jessies” (Jessie Buckley, Jesse Plemons), who are a newly formed couple that decide to take road trip to meet the man’s parents somewhere in the countryside. The uneasiness of the entire duration of the movie is best described by a Youtube comment in an explainer video in which the user says, “This whole movie felt like a jump scare that never happened”. The psychological twist is pretty much revealed at the very onset of the road trip, that most of what the viewer is witnessing is completely fabricated within the universe of the movie, and that reality is shown as small glimpses of the present, to a sad, old janitor working late nights at a high school. Despite it being released back in 2020, it ranks in my list as the best movie I watched all year.


I could analyze the intelligent complexity of this movie for hours (or at least the typical 1.5h runtime of a Metaphorigins podcast episode), but here I will focus on one aspect of the movie. At the beginning of the road trip, our main protagonist (played by Jessie Buckley) recites a poem she claims to have written herself titled Bonedog. Her recital of the poem is dark, emotionally disturbing, particularly towards the end of the poem when Buckley stares directly into the camera stating how “Everything you see, all of it: bone”. The poem (with the help of ChatGPT) is about dealing with the grief of losing a pet dog (I think). It’s realistic in its reminder that the reader is coming home to an empty house when all the reader longs for is past memories and even the moments just before coming home, because home is “just terrible”. It’s metaphorical in some of its lines that describe the unchanging sadness, the mundane, the impact of loss and all of death’s finality. In combination with the film’s narrative, its the loneliness one feels when you’ve lost any hope in basic continuation, since as throughout the film the viewer realizes that the title is not about the relationship, but the true protagonist’s life.


Now, that in itself is quite depressing, a film and poem that deals with deeply disturbing themes. Why on Earth would you want this to be the inspiration for an end-of-the-year reflection? Well, I looked back on my previous annual blog in which I experienced grief for the first time since moving to Ireland and my realization that despite the choices I made, there was nothing more that would have prevented something like that from occurring. It was that experience and the acceptance of the outcome that was probably the most motivational thing that year, that time moves forward with you. Unfortunately, I find myself in similar circumstances throughout this year, only these times feel both bigger yet less-impactful. I’ve experienced this before, but what more could I learn? What knowledge can I extract from the circumstances that continue to follow me?


It is through these questions that myself (and perhaps you as well) could benefit from pondering on. The poem, called Endurance, is an ode to Bonedog, but it is more redemptive than catastrophic. Instead of the theme that coming home means to be haunted, I am instead haunted whenever I think about the unknown. The unknown, in my case, is the upcoming moments of my life as I turned 30, the indecisiveness of whether remaining in scientific research is truly something I should endeavour in professionally, and the uncertainty of a loving relationship. I do understand that 30 is not that even big of an age (in the long term of one’s life, it’s not even halfway yet), that great career paths are inherently hazy in nature, and that relationships are difficult even in the best of times. But yet why are these crises so… persistent? I describe this unknown confrontation as the “thunderous howling of the wind” that gets quieter the more you isolate yourself. But the wind depicted in my poem represents the external factors, and rather the unknown that I, and the poem, and the film, fearfully contemplate is the reflection from within, the “void of normality” that can produce notions of positivity or negativity, acceptance or denial, happiness or anger, clarity or doubt. I found myself so easily taken in by the latter extremes despite acknowledging their existence and knowing the opposite is equally true.


With that moment of clarity, I finally realized the best takeaway from 2023. This is the idea of endurance. There is some truth to the cliche that, “life is a marathon”. I would expand on that and state that life is multiple marathons that you only realize you are running in one after the first 5-10 km. And sometimes you’re running in multiple marathons at the same time. The point is that you can be victorious and finish these races so long as you endure. Endurance is the concept that every past moment in life has prepared you for the next one. Endurance is how you turn desires into necessities, not in the negative ways which is depicted in Bonedog or the film, but in the positive ways that keep us moving forward. We are the paradox of Sisyphus (so aptly described by Albert Camus), in which we roll the stone up the hill feeling not punishment for our past actions of defying the Gods, but feeling pleasure that we are capable of enduring the impossible task.


Endurance is the answer to when someone (including yourself) tells you that they are thinking of ending things. Endure. If ending things is the ultimate fate, let it happen as naturally and externally, not within your own fabricated imagination.




As I do every year, I would like to share with you now the blooper reel of 2023. To the laughs, to the cries, to the hugs, to the slaps, to the communication within communities filled with people I love, here’s to a year of endured wisdom!

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