It's a rainy sunday, all the clay tree jewelry I made for the tree out my window is whipping around in the stormy air. Much of it is essentially of pancake dimensions so spins in the wind.
I wrote to you Friday, and I usually write you every two or three weeks lately, so I'll just explain by saying that if this stage of my life has taught me anything it is do it when it's hot, and when it's not, don't even try. Also, I signed off saying that I'd tell you something later, so that left a pregnant pause. (Can we start a reality show called I Didn't Know it was a Pregnant Pause! It could be about the awkwardly officious.)
But what were we talking about? Ah yes. I promised you my poem in answer to C DdA's.
It's become the leap off point for my grand campaign. Campaign title-wise, I've been noodling around with "pro-living." It is a campaign against suicide. I don't mean end of life care suicide, I mean screw-this despair suicide.
As I said here the other day, an old friend killed herself in 2007. I wrote the below poem sometime after that, speaking to myself as much as to others. Then this past Christmas another old friend (also friends with the first) took her own life. I needed to post something to the community we all shared, poetry in America, but I didn't want to just post the poem, because over the two and a half years I'd come to see that people could read a lot of varied things from the poem, which is good for a poem, but not good for an open letter or a manifesto, which is what I wrote instead. Since than, this past year, I've been researching this subject and thinking about what it all means. Oddly, I still believe everything in the poem, but with much more context. Anyway here's my poem.
The No Hemlock Rock
Don’t kill yourself. Don’t kill yourself.
Don’t. Eat a donut, be a blown nut.
That is, if you’re going to kill yourself,
stand on a street corner rhyming
seizure with Indonesia, and wreck it with
racket. Allow medical terms.
Rave and fail. Be an absurd living ghost,
if necessary, but don’t kill yourself.
Let your friends know that something has
passed, or be glad they’ve guessed.
But don't kill yourself. If you stay, but are
bat crazy you will batter their hearts
in blooming scores of anguish; but kill
yourself, and hundreds of other people die.
Poison yourself, it poisons the well;
shoot yourself, it cracks the bio-dome.
I will give badges to everyone who’s figured
this out about suicide, and hence
refused it. I am grateful. Stay. Thank
you for staying. Please stay. You
are my hero for staying. I know
about it, and am grateful you stay.
Eat a donut. Rhyme opus with lotus.
Rope is bogus, psychosis. Stay.
Hocus Pocus. Hocus Pocus.
Do not kill yourself. I won’t either.
From this distance I'm just charmed to see how much I equate interesting rhymes with abandonless bliss.
I'm bringing all this up because December gets to be a difficult season for a lot of people and sometimes the blue comes out of the blue. So be prepared for it. Get through it to rue another day. The open letter/ manifesto is easy to find online. Well, I guess I'll link to it, I just fear seeming a barker on something too somber to bark for, but what can I say? I want you to stay. And I want you to have something ready to say if someone you love starts teetering near the neighborhood abyss. Say, We need you desperately.
ps The Boston Globe asked to publish a (slightly cleaned up) version, here, if you prefer.
pps While waiting to be seen by a professional, fill a notebook with color.