Poetry and Rants by DC McKenzie

Posts tagged “Death

How Not to Kill yourSelf: gambit no.13

6 November 2k18

“Suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.”     ~Anne Sexton

“You want it Darker. We kill the flame.” ~Leonard Cohen

 

Greetings, Dear Reader. There is nothing easy about this post. The last one was simple.
Rage always is; ’tis Empathy that requires work. Venting is easy. Living is difficult.
And while I freely admit to some cathartic venting in my last post, nevertheless—it needed to be said: Screamed.
However, I have recently learned that a Human I care deeply for made that Choice.
There is such profound suffering in this Life that some flounder beneath towering waves.
Please remember, swimming so far from land, that You. Are. Never. Alone.

L’amour soit avec toi, mon ami.

 

I have been asked, enough times to lace cracks in my heart,
“How do you survive!? How? With all of this…how is it that you survive?”

I could never answer.
I never knew how. Still don’t…not really.
It is just what I do.

I think that I am not special, in this regard.
There is no adversity I have endured
that you too cannot survive.
You must remind your battered Self

—It is not over…I am not Done.

 

Blackstar icon

 

Flare Gun

 

i.

Heels to haunch

in the mental whiteout

of a breakdown blizzard.

 

I cradle a flare gun

unsure whether to fire.

For every blind S.O.S.

carries a heavy measure

of uncertainty:

It is said that freezing to death

bleeding out

is like going to sleep.

 

It is not.

 

There is more icicle

than dreamsicle

in the reality of such a slumber.

 

Passing this skin-searing

metal chunk of grip

trigger

barrel

from cold hand to clumsy hand:

 

despite any resolve to soar away

there is no freedom

in a transition to fleshberg.

rather they will find a broken bird

lying on pitiless tundra.

 

ii.

Williwaw winds

Depression

are ruthless when wrathful;

cruelty matched only

by sheer indifference.

 

A whore-frost gargoyle, Winter

Suicide

broods insistently,

skulking on your back.

 

Ah, the treacherous

lies

it whispers

will undo

all that you

know of you.

 

Wishing to die, you wane;

a winter scarecrow of fallow field,

shriveled remnant of the Self

 

facing emptiness, you perilously

resort to stuffing in fistfuls

of moldering bracken, sour grass

 

wrenched by the roots

out of abject fear.

Being a Scarecrow,

 

the Ravens will help you

disastrously discover

what you are made of.

 

Yanked apart at the seams

by rending talons, by bitter beak

to find what is good in you.

 

iii.

Raising the flare gun’s weight

up to an opaque vault of sky,

vexed by snow-borne wind into a fury:

fingers ice-gnawed into claws

I fumble in the maelstrom

—slip but for a moment

and pull the trigger.

 

About Suicide.

Just between us

||who tread that bone-strewn path

as only the Suicidal can.

 

Among the ten thousand

useless ways to die

there is always a choice

to die well.

 

Especially when

you do not see it coming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blackstar icon

DC McKenzie

 

 

 

::End Transmission::

 

 

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Close Cover Before Striking

21 April 2k10

Tonight my friend is in the hospital. He is dying. Yet, lingering in a vegetative state, many would say he is already gone. His heart beats, a machine fills his lungs like a bellows, another machine regulates his medication, and monitors his vital signs, however his mind is…disconnected. He is dying. It was an accident, one that could have been avoided, except that he was drunk, which is suspected of being a contributing factor. In truth it could happen to any of us: while walking home, he slipped on a treacherous remnant of winter ice and fell on his head. In happens in the blink of an eye: One moment my friend was making his way through this life, the next moment he was clinging to that life.

And though this is terrible in itself, the truth of this is far more tragic. The truth is that we knew he was in crisis. We, his few friends, knew he was struggling with depression and alcoholism. Of course, we tried to help, some more than others. Still, we all tried. But he can be difficult to communicate with, brilliant and troubled, often recalcitrant. and…and…and…bullshit, all of it.
The truth is that I had my own problems, my disability, my own acute depression, and when he did reach out to me I avoided his calls. And eventually, my friend stopped calling.

Given that we were both fighting depression, and suicidal ideation, I thought of my friend often. I knew that, like me, he was isolating. That he was breaking beneath the weight of pain and loneliness. I knew that he was self-medicating with alcohol. Nevertheless, I didn’t call him.

For me, alcohol is an issue, mainly because many years ago I also drank…before the brain surgery, before the onset of ‘major depressive disorder’. And back when I drank I invariably turned into an asshole. It took a while for me to wise up, I lost friends, I lost girlfriends, I lost self-respect from my actions while drunk. Seven years ago I quit drinking. I stopped because I finally realized that I did not like the person I was when I drank, that it brought out the worst in me. Luckily, I quit before I became a full-blown alcoholic.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for my friend. He was suffering, and like so many countless souls he self-medicated to dull the pain, and the unspeakable emptiness that depression creates in us. I feel that because of this he became a chronic alcoholic. And I should make it extremely clear that he did not become an asshole when drunk; he was always a good man, even when he was in misery. Still, despite however nice people are, I admit I still have real difficulty dealing with a drunk person. In truth? Perhaps I can’t stand to see what used to be me.

This went on for a few years as he deteriorated. We worried. We all tried to help him, but he wouldn’t have it. He kept slowly self-destructing and it was so painful to see that many of us looked away. To my shame, that is exactly what I did.

The last time he called me, I didn’t answer the phone. I know he was reaching out for help because no one calls that late without a serious reason. I stared at the phone and rationalized that I would call him back the next day, when I was better able to deal with his pain, better able to help him…after all I could barely help myself at the time. So, I didn’t answer the phone. He never called again. And tonight he is dying.

My friend spent day after day living with the belief that he could not escape the wretched cycle. This is what depression does to you. It whispers that you are alone in your despair, that there can be no escape. It is a cancer of the soul.

As he lies alone in the hospital I am drinking, something far worse than alcohol. Tonight, I drink the cup of regret. It tastes of the bitter guilt of trading my own peace of mind for having empathy for a friend who needed help. As I drink this cup, I beg you: learn from my mistake. If there is someone you care for who is suffering do not let them pull away, regardless of how hard they try. Do not give in to the corrosion that eats away at love and empathy. As frightening as confronting depression can be, if you see signs of someone who is in crisis do not be afraid to talk with them, it could save their life. Sometimes people are screaming for help on the inside and yet it’s still so very hard to hear.
He is dying. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t put it off until you find yourself like me, sitting in front of a screen futilely searching for a way to say, “I’m sorry.”

~*~

Close Cover Before Striking

My friend Tom walks and talks—
He slouches through the day
slowly
stuffing
down
the noxious TNT distillate of Depression,
the cloying soulsap rendered from rage:

He has made a bomb of his heart.

The Tombomb works his job and wonders why—
He has built an Anti-Tom device,
it is hidden under an oilcloth against the walls of his chest.
He is surprised every time he finds it
ticktickticking sinister beside the fleshbricks of his ribcage.
Much like finding a landmine in a plate of mashed potatoes,
he is not sure what to do.

The Tombomb loves (screams) and does not remember—
He rocks but does not roll.
Waking to a new day, he finds the old one wired into his heart.
He stands in the bathroom and will not look in the broken mirror.
He shuffles to table, and staring into coffee, toys with the fuse.
She wants to take cover, yet every morning she diffuses him
…red wire…green wire…blue wire…green wire…red wire…
only to find fresh solder sweating from his heart by night.

The Tombomb wishes Things Were Different—
He has seized himself for a hostage.
He sits in the driveway and says, ‘No…No, nothing’s wrong.’
But I can see in his arms that he is holding the Bomb.
His pleas for lightning go unheeded,
as I back slowly away, with
no
fast
moves.
Fumes bleed into the air, which shimmers around him
like a desert mirage, distorting all that he can see.

The Tombomb has a fuse but he cannot find a match.

 ~D.C. McKenzie


—end transmission—


Parable of the Blacklight Rat

16 January 2k11

This poem is for all of us who have been raked over the coals by the Universe. This one is for the down-hearted, the down-trodden, the down-on-their-luck, and the down-for-the-count. This is for those forever alone. This is for the outcast and for the untouchables. This is for those who endlessly toil that others may eat and be warm. This is for we who have been tempered in the fire of pain, depression, and trauma only to rise stronger for it.

When Death comes for you, when fighting and fleeing are futile,
remember the Blacklight Rat, and decide how you shall greet the Reaper.
For mortal though we be, our souls are eternal and free…

~*~

Parable of the Blacklight Rat

i.
As a teenrager, infected with
an acute outbreak of angst,
there hung above my bed
a blacklight poster portraying
in vivid-violet hues
the last great act
of defiance by a doomed Rat:

Standing lonely on a bleak cliff,
bathed in moonlight, is Rat.
Meanwhile, plummeting down upon him
from its cold aerie of starlit stone,
comes the feather-swoop of a hunter deadly—
Eagle plunging out of the indigo night.

Ill-fated, foreseeing no salvation
other than to go out with his boots on.
Rat elects to spend his last moment
standing defiant in the face of Death,
by flipping his executioner the finger.

ii.
Undaunted by the Scourge of Small Things:
cool grimness seen in a slight sneer
wrinkling his whiskered mug;
that steely-eyed little Rat
gave the bird the bird.

Such insolence, such obstinate
disdain for the Reaper’s raptor,
an ornithologically ordained
messenger of Winged Death itself…
well, surely this audacious outrage
shall echo to the very end of time.

Such six-gun-man-with-no-name bravura,
such contemptuous courage,
such nobility noir,
forever warms the darkest corners
of my own rodent heart.

~D.C. McKenzie

—end transmission—


On Samhain

31 October 2k9

~A poem for Samhain~

Once upon a time… A time before Hallmark Halloween and Hershey Bars; before trick or treat. There was a time when many cultures, particularly the Gaelic peoples, celebrated Harvest, and honored the dead on this night.
It was believed that the barrier between this world and the Sidhe became thin, allowing for all sorts of trespassing both from and into our realm of the living. Being the final harvest, it was also a time of hard choices to survive the coming winter.

In many hidden faiths, this day and night are balanced against the Spring festival of Beltane on the Wheel of the Year; Samhain is considered to be a time for celebrating the lives of those we love who have passed from this life.
Surviving down through the centuries, sculpted to serve each new belief system in its own way, this night nevertheless retains a powerful hold on our imaginations. For this one night out of each year we stop and pay tribute to the Unknown.
Considering how much we do not know, this should be a large tribute indeed.

On this night let us acknowledge the bitter Darkness that we might cherish the fertile Light.

Ouroboros
The Cycle of Life

Ouroboros

~*~

that cannibal poem

—credo quia absurdum

few of us truly believe
we will draw the short straw
and be killed for food.

or that behind sterile walls
hidden away from prying eyes
spiders are silently plotting our demise;
and even now creatures loosed from the zoo
might be amassing to stage their coup.

there may come a fine summer day
when this fuming parking lot
is a fair field of honey hay;
when sharks swim upriver
hunting in swimming holes
for an easy dinner.
and packs of piranha prowl poolside patios,
while here at this barren bus stop
there will be a grizzly bear buffet.

some things are so absurd
they must be believed:
that in this youniverse
there is room for a me.

the trick, it seems, is to know
—when to run
instead of standing around gawking
—when to dance
instead of sitting there talking

it does you no good to live in dread
of things that are slithering beneath your bed.
when morning comes and finds you still alive
just shake off that tired, old bogeyman jive.

now, it’s easier to will a comet
down into your loving arms
than it is to outgrow being a fool.
yet, in the end, it is far better
living round within square rules.

some consider it misfortunate and macabre
a sign of narcissistic hypochondria
to entertain the rather gruesome idea

that there might be a tumor
lurking somewhere inside us
a wild growth
we will never see
waiting to undo us.

yet, life is finer when you snuggle up
to the Reaper; the meat’s so much sweeter
when you make a friend of Death

so, here I stand, atop a heap
of defeated worries and bony woes
waving a stone club over my head
howling at the heavens to awaken the dead.

for it is easier to believe i could do the eating
then be eaten.
the future, you see, is certain,
minute by minute,
the only question
is whether or not we are in it.

 

 

 

DC McKenzie


—end transmission—


Crossroads no. one

3 September 2k9

~In Memorial, Gayle Janecek~

~*~

more words on ashes and loss

Grief is the circling of our hearts against the unknown.
Devoid of boundaries, or limits of space and time,

grief cannot be “gone through”, cannot be fled from;
it must be allowed to permeate, then endured—no more.

Grief the Bogeyman waits around every corner
to remind us of the fear rooted in our chests.

Hidden within our lullabies, woven into our faery tales,
grief is the pitiless Taskmaster

teaching us to treat each day
as if it were our last chance to make things right.

We must make our peace with grief at every chance.
Because every day, often in each moment,

grief confronts us, assails us
with the terrible finality of its truth.

For grief is the acknowledgment that, at the last,
we face death alone, taking with us only memories

of those we love beyond the bright gates.
We who remain must learn to dance on the ashes of our loss.

~D.C. McKenzie
~090309~


—end transmission—