Forty Seconds

Every forty seconds someone commits suicide

You go to the bathroom


You walk down the street


You smoke a cigarette


You read the newspaper


You order a coffee


Every forty seconds





Most wouldn’t notice those seconds

They’re too busy living their lives

But when you’re like me in an empty house

With only despondence by your side

You notice those seconds

You feel the neck break

You smell the vomit

You taste the blood

You see the death

And over ten people have taken their own lives

By the time I have written these lines

And I know these poems about misery and fatality

Have become old and worn

But there’s something about those forty seconds

Every forty ticks a heart stops

And one could argue

That these lost people are selfish and weak

That they have no right to burn the house

Their parents built to the ground

That they commit arson to their own soul

But I wonder how long they struggled for

Before they thought enough is enough

How many mornings they pulled themselves

Away from the magnetism of their beds

Hell, if they even owned a bed

Or how long they silenced the internal screaming

For that stab and squeeze to come to a halt

Life becomes alarming when you’re no longer afraid of death

Death before death is worse than the real kind

When you can’t even value anything enough

To fear losing it

Not even yourself

I know what that’s like

When you despise every

Second more that you have to spend with yourself

That the image of you sitting alone with your thoughts

Looks like a man with a knife in a dark alley way

And imagine if you treated

Another human being the way you treat yourself

Those cruel words that torment you

Over and over

You’re worthless


You’re unlovable


You’re repulsive


You’re stupid


Until you have no other choice but to walk away from

The bully that is yourself

And I know abusive relating can be addictive

That you get high off insults

And masochism can wear a fucking sexy mask

But stop right there

Picture yourself as a child

A chaste heart and soft skin chuckling as you

Roll down a grassy hill on a flattened cardboard box

When you saw the world as a play ground and not a prison

Remember that child?

Hug them

Wrap your scarred arms around them and say,

“I love you”

“I forgive you”

That child is still you

The other day I walked through a cemetery

Observed the old head stones and read the epitaphs

I watched the sun set over the graves

The brush strokes of red and orange above me

To be surrounded by death but then to witness

The beauty of the sky sitting on an easel

Here is the paradox

Every forty seconds someone commits suicide

But every minute two hundred and fifty

Babies are born


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