SuICIdE, iT’S a SuiCIDe


Do you remember, Sam? The old days,          I mean. When people believed

in the biceps of trees. Toes                 at eye level, mostly men. But now they

all would kill themselves         to be “famous”: Twitter-trending, hashtagged,

Instagrammed and       graphed via Google’s analytics like the pulse line seen

on a hospital   monitor. They want a celebrity synonymous to what Billboard


chart    bullets signaled back when conks were still in style, not cornrows: and

still      the quick and easy cliché of one bullet to a soft spot of the body, though

these days       there’s a bit more flair, an adamant need to go out with a bang to

the second power,       “showing out” for all the cell phone cameras, dead set on

becoming a world star.            I’ve not seen but have heard of trains recently, or


train stations, I guess, somewhere      in California; I think maybe in Oakland,

San Francisco—something like that. It           happened just like that, they say,

quickly, like the train’s coming and leaving                and leaving his brunette

body behind, hands clasped and yet reaching for each           other as if to pray

but not quite touching properly. As far as I’m concerned,                they’re all


playing dangerous games. They just don’t give a damn about           their lives,

the whole heathen lot. Jesus Christ, I mean, they’re even     drunk driving into

buckshot nowadays. They’re calling 911 when         there’s no emergency to be

found, pulling pranks against tax dollars;       they don’t call 911 knowing that a

little girl sleeps on a couch with         a murder weapon in the cushions, guarding


it with her own body in          illegality. I doubt I’ll visit Detroit anytime soon,

not even to catch         nine innings at the house Cobb built, and he’s my favorite

player!            And I don’t think I’ll ever get popping “Skittles” or whatever new

name    they may be calling it now, knowing the overdose is coming. I won’t ever

get       their trying to grab a gun if they’re not completely committed to shooting


themselves      with it: I say spare the poor man all your hard work, you know?

Always passing          the buck. Always taking the buck out of an honest man’s

hands. I can’t fathom              absurdity such as stealing cigarillos only to empty

the paper to smoke another leaf         that kills like tobacco from Carolina does.

I fail to see why a woman with a death          wish would give her child to anyone


other than honorable officers of the law. There          is no rhyme, no reason to it,

to anything they do, really. I’ll say this: if the heart is          a fruit of blood, theirs

are spoiling strangely en masse, becoming something to be               tossed away,

and Sam, you know better than anyone there’s no money in            that. Not like

in the old days. Remember? When they did their jobs           without a complaint?

Two Poems

Before a screw in the rail broke the skin / on my hand as I told my brother not to open / the door for anyone.

from Leafmold

A bottle of barbeque sauce and amateur psychology. As executor, I followed the bullets, quivering, a little wide-eyed but unpunished.