the last thought of the dying

A memory just suddenly sprung from the dark corners of my mind. Back in college, when I was still taking up my Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, I had a poetry class and we were all assigned to do a report and propose an activity based on a poetic movement.

I randomly picked out The Surrealist Poets lead by Andre Breton.

Doing research on Breton and the Surrealists, I discovered they had so many stream of consciousness games or exercises to approximate the feeling of dissonance in language in poetry, as if in a dream.

One of them was asking all the people in the room to write down in two separate sheets of paper (1) any statement, phrase, or word, and (2) a question.

The two pieces of paper would be folded up and placed separately in a question pile and an answer pile. And then Breton (or whoever was moderating the exercise) would randomly select a question and read it and then answer from a paper randomly chosen at the answer pile.

So after my report, this was the activity I did in class. I asked my classmates to write a question on one sheet and then an answer in the form of a phrase, a word, or a sentence.

As I read them out, there were interesting answers but the one that has stuck with my after fifteen years, the only one I can remember from that class of eleven:

Question: what is the last thought of the dying?

Answer: a can of tuna fish

Fifteen years later and I still think about that. I can’t forget it. It is stuck in my head. Forever.

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