Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Suicidal Sonnets Revised I-III

I spit out some rough sonnets, as the reader knows. I wanted to call them "Dark Sonnets" but now think that "Suicidal Sonnets" might sell better, though the alliterative marketing ploy does cheapen them a little. My purpose here is not to cheapen but improve them, as I shall now post the sonnets after adequate revision to render them passable if not good per se. One ought never to judge the merit of one's own work except in that case where some other no-talent-asshole gets lauded and you must scream that you are better, as I did with Robert Creeley, my late nemesis, who as a lyrical poet was every bit the equal of Helen Steiner Rice. My boast occurs in the essay, "My Struggle with Literary Narcissism."

Without further ado, the new, updated and currently revised author-sanctioned versions of "Suicidal Sonnets" in order as I get to them.


Once more this fell infection of the mind
Galls itself, one wound wears down another,
The crust of of failing surfaces will find
More cells to infiltrate, more smooth to smother.
I put a stethoscope upon my head
To eavesdrop on the stuttering machine,
Heard nothing but the clawing of the dead
Except a jukebox skipping in routine.
I thought of pills and blades and guns and cars,
The sordid images of methods used.
They haven’t answered “Is there life on Mars?”
As yet. From judgment shouldn’t I be recused
Until they do? I will endure this state
Patiently, though it kills me to wait.


I’m swallowed by the groaning of the reef
At one more wave’s untiring onslaught.
I listen to the outboard for relief,
A brighter racket than my pounding thought.
You there—do you think in straight lines?
Do thoughts follow each other, hand-to-hand?
Or is it that your insight’s without spines
Like a sea urchin’s skeleton on sand?
Vanilla life, vanilla in your veins,
Uncomplicated, unexamined days--
If only I could tender you the reins
To my life, would I sail through the quays
Sipping a gin fizz, waving to the shore?
I’d give my soul for your white bread rapport.


Passenger, conductor, does it matter?
Who can tell in such a blasted mood
Only broken by the wheels’ clatter,
spelling out in Morse the end of good?
To stand upon the platform with a noose
Is all I ask of life or hope of death.
The world’s wheels moved—I’m the caboose
Left on the track far from the engine’s breath.
Gather the spikes you used to lay the rails,
Gather the beams, the workmen, engineers,
Tell them that in all of life’s travails
A man is just the sum of his worst fears.
It suits me to be left behind, to rust
Else junk me outright. There’s no train I trust.

As to my mood, well what can I say? I had a few fair days over the weekend, I've felt marginally better since a calcium channel blocker medication was removed, but overall I feel fragile, uncertain, at times bored...I also have the sense of forestalling any major ambition or life changes, because I do not know what path I wish to take--further, I don't even know if the path I've taken thus far was more choice or chance. But that's the big one, isn't it? "Jacob I loved but Esau I hated." I take up God's preferences in my essay above on literary narcissism. It's worth reading because it takes issue with that age-old question, "Why him and not me?"

Maybe it comes down to birth order. As the second same-sex child I always felt left out, shunned, a tag-a-long at best. I expect to be rejected by the older children, to have to fight for my place and my rights. Suspicious, paranoid, at best circumspect--I just don't trust life. Do you? Do you have what Erik Erikson called "Basic trust?" Do you expect the universe to favor you? God bless you!

I belong to the other camp. The universe is a hard place, it takes guts to survive, nothing is given to you, things are rarely fair, give what you can but try not to invest your heart too much, it will be broken.

Of course, not physically bonding with one's mother makes for competition in causes, and memory is no sure thing, as I observed my bipolar daughter in infancy didn't want to physically bond with anybody at times; she always reserved discomfort in any situation and was unabashed to show it. When she was unhappy there was no comforting her. She had to wind down like a screaming clock. So blaming my mother for not physically bonding with me may not be true; mothers have always gotten too much credit and blame in psychology, but given their propinquity to the devlopmental process, it can hardly be helped.

Yet here we are. And the question of psychology is: How much can be healed? Some say all. Some say some. Some say virtually none.

I say it depends on how you define healing. For me healing equals acceptance: accepting an abusive father is the best I can do, letting go of judgment and fantasies of retribution, letting go of the question "why" and a host of other things that accompany true acceptance, along with the necessary forgiveness--but is this healing? I think not. Healing would be as if it never happened. All right, after an appendectomy you have a small scar--but in a miraculous healing you should have no scar at all. The tissue should have been completely restored. By this definition I do not believe in healing. I believe acceptance and integration are the best we can do. The more we accept the origin and cause of our negative automatic behaviors, the better we are at not performing them.

3 Kilorats,


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