To Death

In memory of Joseph Alexander Banks

To Death

I. Velocity

The average man weighs
around 180 pounds
and from a seventh story fall
it takes only three seconds
to hit the ground

In that span of three seconds
I wonder what he thought
if his mind like mine
was filled with kinematic equations
formulas predicting
the moment of impact
telling us precisely
his highest point
before he fell

I wonder what that weightlessness
was like as he hovered in the air
a slight curvature, torso bent
and arms spread as though in flight
was it a slow decline or depression
that curled away from stillness
as the hands of gravity
held his hands for one last moment

And momentum, a product of velocity
is either positive or negative
either we are rising or falling
but maybe on the ground
we see it backwards
maybe falling isn’t falling
if it feels like flying in the air

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Smells Like Teen Syrup

When the suds ran red against my forefinger and thumb
I dropped the sponge and inspected the dishes
for any crimson stains
before I rinsed my hands and tended
to my cut. I remembered
how many times I had stood at this sink
with a sponge in one hand, a knife
gripped in the other, its silver steel
glistening
in the fluorescent light
like a moonbeam, a dreamscape
a promise for releaselet the blood
drain like dirty water
let it swirl and puddle
toward its inevitable end
How many times
did I pull away the knife
set it aside, soapy and smirking
at my own weakness, fearing
the pain, the tear, the scars
I’d have to hide. Was it shame
that became my shield?

Alphabet Soup

Once upon a time I began using this website called Plinky that gives you daily writing prompts. Longtime readers might even recall some of my Plinky posts; they always had a little lightbulb at the bottom, indicative of the fact I had posted them through Plinky.

In any case, one of the prompts I didn’t find very lengthy, so I never posted it here: The challenge was to write a piece of poetry using only words that began with the letter S. It was a fun exercise. I enjoyed it.

The idea, however, never left me, and I decided someday I would write a slew of new poems, each of them directed by a single letter only. (I suspect X, Z, and Q will be challenging.) I’ve written a few more of these, and now that I’ve got a small number of poems amassed, I figured I’d share them here–and I encourage you to do the same!

Some day I’ll have all twenty-six poems written. Perhaps you’ll beat me there?

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I’ve Decided to Commit Suicide, Please Talk Me Out of It

I’ve decided to commit suicide
So please talk me out of it
I don’t want to die
But my life has become but a lie
And I can’t remember when I felt higher than this

I love you and I don’t want you to go
And I know that I’ll miss the world upon the other side
So let me hear your voice and tell me it’ll be alright
And lie down beside me and hold me through the night
Because I know you’d die not to let me go

Tell me that I have the right to live
That my life isn’t worth the cost of death
Tell me that I have talent and skill
And that I have another chance still
And coerce me into suspending my disbelief of your truths

I’ve decided to commit suicide
But please, talk me out of it tonight
Coax me into believing your words
And to a new day lead me towards
And know that I’ll live on, that I will be alright

Excerpted from To the World I’ll Be