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October 30, 2013
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i.

let me tell you a story
using six words.

their names become parts of statistics.

let me tell you a story
using six words.

“suicide is the easy way out.”

let me tell you a story
using six words
that will never be told.

pain is not a fucking
choice.



--


ii.

do you still pray,
knowing there will be no answer?

see, i cannot speak for those
who have no voice to give
but, sincerely, these are the six words
i respond with:

i wish i could save you.


--


iii.

we live our lives being told that
there is always a safety net -
that there are people designed to protect us.

i’m going to use six words because,
sometimes,
the saddest stories
take the fewest words to tell.

for them, there was never anyone.


--


iv.

blades can cut wrists but

here are six words:

blades can cut stories short, too.


--


v.

i have approximately 250,000 words
to choose from
to try and describe to you what suicide is
but i don’t think i can.

250,000 words
just doesn’t feel like enough.

can anybody describe it? even those of us
who have sunk down that far? even those
with scars to prove it?

suicide,
it's not like cancer.
it is not like an addiction
or a cold.
there are centers for it, and doctors,
but there is no cure.

people don’t abandon you for leukemia.
nurses don’t say “influenza”
with a disapproving look on their face.
nobody blames you for cystic fibrosis
or diabetes.

there are antidepressants
and mood stabilizers
and antipsychotics
but there are no pills, no medication
that can erase suicide from your brain.

250,000 words exist and
still cannot do it justice.

in the end, the cure does not exist
in a tiny pink pill or a long white capsule.

no poem, no combination of my six words
or any of the 249,994 others
will save the day.

and i wish i had a way to tell them
that the cure exists
inside of them.

(i wish there was a way to show them,
to pull back the pain
even though i know damn well
that the pain has become a part of them, as well.)

i want to hold those hands,
the hands that hold cigarettes and razors,
the hands that have too many pills shaken into them,
and i want to hold them hold them hold them
(oh god please don't let go) -

there's so little i can do
but i can do that. i can hold their hands
at least.


--


vi.

biology tells us
that our most potent survival instinct
is self-perseverance:
our brains can literally alter memories
to protect us from them.

your body clings to every ounce of fat
at the first sign of famine.

we can keep fighting for our lives
with broken bones
(and broken hearts, too.)

we are designed
to keep ourselves free of harm.

so i want you to imagine what it must be like
when a blade can press against your wrist
or outer thigh,
or a rope can hang from your neck,
or a city street can stare up at you
from five hundred feet below -
i want you to imagine what it’s like when

the human psyche’s most powerful impulse

vanishes.


--


vii.

and actually, it didn’t disappear.
i mean,
one day, they didn't just wake up
and wish for death.

let me tell you a story
about suicide -
seven stanzas, seven words,

because i think i’ve finally got it.

(their will to live
was stolen from them.)
It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story.
- Native American Proverb



Let me tell you a story using more than six words.

Summer 2012: I was there. You know it when you get there, because the thought of death doesn't scare you. Pain doesn't hurt like it should. I honestly can't describe it in words, but you'll know it. And I'll tell you something else: I never planned anything, never started giving away possessions, but I knew I was there.

I didn't kill myself because there is something else there, something that we can't see because the emptiness blinds us. It's life; our lives, waiting for us. The places we'll go, the people we'll meet. Our husbands and wives, waiting to first shake out hands. There's no way to truly silence the pain, but there is a saying: learn to live with your fears.

I looked my pain in the eye and I said "I am not afraid of you anymore." And it still comes to me sometimes – at night, during the day. In classes, right before Iwake up, as I'm taking a shower. It's as much a part of me as my mouth and my hands and my voice. And with my voice I say, "My life is waiting for me. And I'm not afraid of you anymore.
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:iconlexywright454:
LexyWright454 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

I consistently look for writers who can take something that is known or that is common and spit out words in such a way that it makes that “normal thing” seem much more dynamic… as in describing something to such a depth that you know what it is without being told its name. I don’t know… it’s like those lines that make you think. “… I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”  I’m not sure if I explained it right. But, anyhow: “or a city street can stare up at you / from five hundred feet below” that line was one of those things that sticks, sort of like the first time I ever heard about a sidewalk rushing up to greet you. So thank you for that, and very well said.

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:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner May 4, 2014   Writer
Thank you very much.
Sometimes I worry that my unusual descriptions are a turn-off for readers. I'm glad to see it has the opposite effect. 
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:iconwitchoftales:
WitchofTales Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
After 5 poems, this poem brought out the tears inside me.

This is truly a very honest and beautiful poem. Thank you.
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:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014   Writer
You're welcome. :love:
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:iconphoenixflamesrising:
PhoenixFlamesRising Featured By Owner Mar 19, 2014
Wowww...  This is absolutely brilliant. I was moved by the first stanza, and even more so by each subsequent way. The way you used the format of the six words, then the six stanzas; then a seventh stanza and seven words to summarize it all -- just truly quite brilliant. This is a masterpiece of poetry and of form. It's also IMPORTANT, because there is such wisdom in the words you wrote here. This is the sort of poem that I want to point out to everyone I know, to say, "READ THIS. It's not light reading for bedtime relaxation, but it's important and impressive; and beautiful and brilliant." This is like a song one hears on the radio and emotions just catapult out from it, leaving you bewildered from the experience but feeling like others need to "hear" it, as well.

And that last line sincerely made me shudder:
"their will to live
was stolen from them" --
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014   Writer
That's...really sweet. Thank you so much - honestly. One of my biggest goals with my writing is to make a difference, a serious difference, and thank you endlessly for thinking so highly of my work. :heart:
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:iconphoenixflamesrising:
PhoenixFlamesRising Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014
You're very welcome, and after just reading this poem for about the fifth time over recent weeks, I can tell you that it has only become more powerful to me. The last half of the sixth stanza, where you write about life's strongest impulse (survival) being overwhelmed and vanishing; that reverberates strongly. Such a very well-written and powerful poem. Thank you again for sharing it!
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:iconlybysilsa:
lybysilsa Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014
I was there, and your right... You don't plan it out...
Reply
:iconmasterofthestorm:
MasteroftheStorm Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014  Hobbyist
I could favorite your entire gallery
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
colbalt-rain Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014   Writer
That's so sweet. :heart: 
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