In 1987, a man drops an eight ball in the corner pocket, and goes home with a drunk girl impressed by this feat. Thirty years later, their son wonders if his life would’ve been better if his mother had made better choices.
Suicide no. 77: The Poet
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
With my father’s entry into the grave, my inheritance he gave:
a mansion full of things literary: fiction, prose and poetry.
The latter I abhorred, the nature of which I found obscured—
pointless syntax strewn, storm-tossed words into the sea
with no meaning that my eyes could see.
My father must have found it soothing, or at least somewhat amusing.
He kept collections by his bedside, dogeared pages marked his stride.
Reading them filled me with confusion, finding nothing but delusion!
No character or plot, like music with no sense of melody—
at least, none that my eyes could see.
Deep into the night I pondered, through endless pages I wandered,
making notes as I kept watch—thirsty for meaning, drinking scotch.
Are these adjectives, or suggestions? Answers, or merely questions!?
Simile, or oddity, maybe a poet’s musings just weren’t for me;
no stanza held meaning that my eyes could see.
Free-form, or centos, my father kept these books as mementos.
For what reason I thought I’d never know, for a man so slow to show
any emotion whatsoever. He was a con-artist, and clever:
taking from whom he could every ounce of their identity.
My father bore no conscience that my eyes could see.
Yet he marked pages in books of lore, marking lines that made me bore:
from “dandelion tiger tails” to “ion-Geiger prison cells.”
Is this sterility, or erotica? Hawaii or Antarctica?
I spent hours on my knees, begging meaning with every plea—
yet I found no meaning that my eyes could see.
While storm clouds outside persisted, the rain had insisted
that there was nothing else worth doing, nowhere else to be going.
That I should get to know my father, but why should I bother?
A braggart and swindler now dead, from his deceptions, he’d flee.
And both he and I became nothing that our eyes could ever see.
And that’s when epiphany struck—tyranny, not luck;
for poems, I found, while reading them aloud
produced such a sound that threw every human emotion around!
Yet, I discovered, now I’d uncovered, deep within me
nearly no resounding emotion that my eyes could see….
This, my father must have also felt: playing the hand he was dealt.
Feeling dead beyond dead, treading the pages he read,
the only feelings he faced were in the nothing white space.
I found that same emptiness staring right back at me:
that white became everything that my eyes could now see.
Feeling uninspired, I threw books into a fire,
and went to watch chimney smoke cover the moon like its lover.
Poetic sentences were only real for those who could feel,
and I knew right then that all I could ever be
is that great expanse of nothing that I would always see.
I went to the garage, and found a rope—my means which to cope
with the vacuum of a hole that had become of my soul.
I’ve already tied a sturdy noose, and before I kick the chair loose,
I wrote but one poem: my one and only!
To show the nothingness that has become of me:
That nothingness to be all that I’ll ever see!
Suicide no. 75: When the World Stopped Turning
–by Derek Alan Wilkinson
Police sirens spun as they wailed their own noise-symphony dirge. An antique of a Cadillac with tires and rims entirely too large to bear any resemblance of class that the vehicle manufacturers had in mind screeched to a halt—partly in order to avoid puncturing its over-sized tires on the blood-stained glass that now littered a what-was-once busy street, and in part only to observe a desperate man on the twelfth story of an abnormally large skyscraper plead for the narcissistic attention that came with choosing to climb on its ledge.
The police bullhorns went from echoing threats to bargains to pleas as the mid-forties, balding male clung—shaking his head no in every attempt to get him to come down, peacefully.
Strangers watched in fearful silence. A mother to a five-year-old girl kept trying to keep her daughter’s head buried into her thick, overpriced winter coat, but couldn’t help but wonder how things would turn out. Taxi drivers bitched with patrons walking out—some headed in the direction they were going to start with, others gathering with the rest to witness the spectacle. Some stood and watched in awe, some in disgust, and some didn’t stand at all—prefering to kneel in prayer, thinking that they could turn this whole scenario into a story that they’d tell in church to praise the power of God Almighty.
News crews set up cameras, and anchors pouted pretty, young lips—taunting them with delicate touches of lipstick to tell the whole city the outcome: whatever it wound up being. Other reporters questioned the crowd—trying to find out who stood ready to fall. Questions only led to other questions. No one knew the guy. His family was not among those held captive in that otherwise enthralled audience; no doubt, somebody he knew, somewhere, would wind up watching the desperation unfold on whatever local network decided to air the story.
Where was I when the world stopped turning?
The moment that the everlasting spin began to slow down, I was watching my wife walk across our lawn with our two children for the last time.
That was a month ago, to date.
Now? The fire department had unfolded a rubber solution for me—a platform for me to safely land on when I did decide to jump. The crowd started out begging me not to do the thing that they were now intent on getting me to do: “Jump!”
I might survive the fall, albeit with a couple broken bones and all. I probably would have—if I hadn’t already slashed open both of my wrists with shards of that shattered window. What most people couldn’t see—couldn’t realize—is that I was going to bleed to death before I even began my decent.
As I watch the sun set in the distance—perfect and pink and yellow—I feel myself becoming lighter and lighter. My head is as thin as paper, and I’m about to loose my grip, my posture, what’s left of my sanity, and my life.
And then, that’s where I’ll be when the world finally stops dead in its tracks, and swallows me away into…