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We lack the violence of the soul,
Those of us who turn away from self-murder,

Still, in my own life, fueled by alcohol and mental illness,
There have been times I came close

To slashing my wrists or walking into the sea.
Shooting and hanging are better

But in college, a friend found her boyfriend hanging,
And never got over it.

Guns create a mess, jumping destroys everything
And I could land on someone—and kill them.

Pills seem the best but if the attempt fails.
Brain damage and a life in diapers might be the outcome.

I have the precursors of suicide: chronic pain, mental illness,
Even my occupation—poet—is potentially dangerous,

Family too—father and brother both pursued and caught death,
Or allowed a premature death to catch them.

But when I lost my business, my wife, my church and my future
Suicide never entered my head,

Wife left when I became disabled, pain-racked, unable to sleep.
Unable to work, unable to pay rent, penniless.

A friend took me in. When I got my father’s inheritance
I paid rent retroactively. Nothing was left.

Although everybody but me knew I was deeply depressed,
The thought of taking my life never entered my head.

Did I lack the temperament, a lack of impulse-control
A murderous bent? Or was I too stubborn,

Rejecting mother’s words: “Why don’t you kill yourself
And make us all happy.” Fuck you, mother.

You all laughed at me, my tears at the physical and sexual abuse.
You all called me a coward, a weakling, a faggot

But you all drank yourselves to death
Mother at 62—brother at 49, father lasted until 82,

Refusing all food and water.
I am still here and you are all dead.

Everything you thought I was,
You were, the bunch of you.

So welcome to the hell you had prepared for me to live in.
Sorry I won’t be joining you.

Monday, October 08, 2012

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