Feel Around

"I lost a friend to suicide, and I was very shocked and miserable from it. We weren’t close anymore. I’d known her for a long time, though, and I kept seeing her. And in a combination of grief and, I’m afraid, empathy in that I, too, had certain kinds of periods of depression that would lead me to similar thoughts, I wrote a poem. Because I write poetry, I can sit down and write things that I don’t have proof of, or even know the end of the sentence. I can feel around and nobody gets hurt, right? It’s a poem. And so I wrote this poem out of grief and an attempt to make it very plain to myself, the argument that I’d come up with."

~ Jennifer Michael Hecht, from "Choosing to Stay," TheReally Big Questions: Podcast #16, August 12, 2014 

No Hemlock Rock (don't kill yourself)
by Jennifer Michael Hecht, from Who Said

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.
Dare not to kill yourself. I won't either.


See also: 

  • Hecht, J. M. (2013). Stay: A history of suicide and the philosophies against it. New Haven: Yale University Press. (publisher, library)
  • Hecht, J. M. (2013). Who said. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press. (publisher, library)
  • Tippett, K., & Gillis, T. (2014, March 27) Suicide, and hope for our future selves [Audio podcast]. On Being.