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Submitted on
October 7, 2013
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31 (who?)
It was mentioned casually
at the breakfast table:
“A boy from school
committed suicide last night.
Did you know him?”


I know the way
the night sky wrapped itself
around his shoulders
and ripped itself away,
and how to him, light-years
were a measure of time
and not of distance.
I know that darkness
was darker for him,
and that light was
always too bright.
I know that smiling was painful
in all seventeen muscles,
and that it was a relief
to cry.
I know that he carried
the depression on his shoulders,
and that he spent half the day
hiding it away from everyone,
and the other half
wishing somebody would notice.
I know that he was the best actor,
and that everyone believed
that his eyes sparkled from happiness
and not from tears.
I know that he was so good,
he never had to lie and say
“I’m fine,” because
nobody ever asked.

I also know that today, the halls
will echo with silence
and the occasional small cry,
courtesy of the people
who never really knew him,
but who believe that it’s their job
to grieve and to cry,
and to have the sudden realization
that life is short
and that we should be grateful
for the time we have.

But the one realization
that pushes against their temples
but will never enter their brain
is the fact that they never saw it coming
and that it could happen again.

So I swallow,
shake my head,
and shove another spoonful of cereal into my mouth.
A true story.

I'm honestly so tired of people acting like they care and going around hugging people like they think we're all going to die tomorrow. But you know what? They ignore the one thing that they should learn from this experience: to stop ignoring the problems and to get help for the people they love.

A boy from my school committed suicide this weekend. I didn't know him, but in a way, I did. I'm sad because suicide makes me sad, and I'm sad for the people who are still alive and hurting, but it's not my pain. I can't go around telling everyone it's my fault and that I should've seen it coming. There are people, I'm sure, who do feel that way. But the people who never gave him a thought in his life shouldn't be using this occurrence to hog all the attention. Instead, it should open their eyes, and maybe they'll see it coming next time, when it's someone they actually cared about. Maybe they'll be able to stop it.
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Critique by annewithane Oct 12, 2013, 6:30:20 PM
Firstly, I really enjoyed this poem and I thought you did a great job catching the essence of the situation. I too had a similar experience in high school and I found the stanza following "I also know that today..." to be particularly poignant and appropriate in capturing the behaviors of students after finding out about the suicide. I feel like the last lines beginning with "But the one realization..." would have been more powerful separated into their own stanza.

Secondly, I appreciate the technique you used employing punctuation, as I feel it's underutilized in poetry. Punctuation is one of the most important elements of poetry to me because it guides the reader in how the words should be said and spaced. Part of the beauty of poetry is which words are chosen to be read, and punctuation tells us how we should be reading them--major props here!

The repetition of "I know" beginning each new sentence worked well in the second stanza. The line of "I know that he was so good, he never had to lie and say, "I'm fine," because nobody ever asked." was the most powerful part of the poem because I feel it is here that the bridge with the audience is created as nearly everyone can identify with that sentiment either from their own experience of seeing it in another person.

One stylistic critique I would add is that using the second "but" in the last sentence of the third stanza seemed a little awkward. I also think for consistency using "their brain" instead of "the brain" makes more sense. You use the pronoun they a lot in that sentence, so having it worded "the brain" pulled me a little out of the poem as it reminded me of a collective brain and felt like it should have read "their brain."

Great job, I really liked it. Suicide is a hard topic to write about and you did a really fine job.
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FieryDownpour479 Nov 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Such a touching poem. It's really quite beautiful how you wrote it, and it really speaks to the reader and rather acts as an eye opener for us. You have done a beautiful job with this.
GuinevereToGwen Nov 25, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much! It really means a lot to me that you would say that. :hug:
FieryDownpour479 Nov 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You are so very welcome! And thanks very much for the llama! :D
VictorHugo Oct 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
funny thing happens where i work. They pray and act religious, but do not hesitate in bully a foreigner or an elder who gets a bigger paycheck. So, i think itīs a lost cause, the only solution i see is for the victim to man up and act instead of implode.
RedRevanna Oct 8, 2013  Student Writer
"I'm honestly so tired of people acting like they care and going around hugging people like they think we're all going to die tomorrow. But you know what? They ignore the one thing that they should learn from this experience: to stop ignoring the problems and to get help for the people they love." I totally feel the same. Something terrible also happened at our school and many many did the same: Hugging, crying, being more than dismayed. And that although they actually weren't even involved.
After some time noone wanted to talk about it anymore but tried to forget it. It seems that noone realizes this is the wrong way. It could happen again. It could happen today. That makes me sick.
GuinevereToGwen Oct 8, 2013  Student Writer
I agree. Thanks so much for the comment. :heart:
haphazardmelody Oct 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This is so true. Thank you for writing it. The same thing happened when I was a junior in high school; a boy committed suicide, and it was one of the announcements that was made in the morning the next day over the intercom. People were really upset, broken up about it, but it wasn't about was about the kid who had too much pain to hold and then died. I was so angry that people didn't realize that this was a lesson they should take so they could help others in the future.

So thank you for saying all of that so much better than I ever could. :heart:
GuinevereToGwen Oct 8, 2013  Student Writer
Thank you so much for the comment. :heart:
Exactly, it's not about them. It's okay to be sad, but for me, it's mostly about comforting the people who are actually broken and still alive.
haphazardmelody Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yes. Yes yes yes.
HappyHS Oct 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This puts all my feelings about this into words. Sometimes I feel guilty for not really caring, but the truth is I didn't know that person. But it motivates me to reach out more so there won't be a next time.
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