Every suicide
starts with somebody else’s
sin of omission.


There is a killer in all of us
in the same way that a dog
will bite if its cornered
or a battered wife grabs a shotgun.
Some of you haven’t heard from me in a while.
That’s because last year
I could have killed a man
and I haven’t yet figured out
if the only reason he’s still alive
is the simple fact that
I don’t own a gun.

We are still so bad at mental health–
worse at emotional and spiritual.
All these years of buzzwords
like awareness or see something, say something
netted us exactly what kind of change
from the shockwave of Columbine
to the devastation of Uvalde?
Then we want to argue
if it’s a gun problem
or a mental health problem
or a national morality problem–
it’s a dead children problem!
I would hope that would be enough
for people to start considering some compromises!
After all, I’ve never seen a problem fixed
simply by admitting it exists.

Man gets his arm broke
and everybody rushes
to sign the cast.

Man gets his spirit broke
and everybody rushes
to the other side of the pass.

Cornered by an oppressively toxic work environment
and the health benefits I needed
for a looming surgery,
my only option
was to clock in the next day
just trying to keep
the spiraling to a minimum.

But once healthy,
it was actually not the constant abuse
and dehumanization
that finally forced me out of the job.
Rather, it was the silence of everyone
who at various times agreed
that I absolutely had a point.
Part of that silence
was the way I stopped talking.
I had started thinking
about a second option.

Nothing turns a head
like a gunshot out of place.

Saw a social media post
where a girl was utterly shocked, saying,
Wait. There’s people so depressed
they don’t brush their teeth every day?

Should I have put a trigger warning on this?
My hang up is
if we can’t recognize
and appropriately respond to
the sometimes very obvious signs
before reality blindsides us,
why should I protect anyone from my fiction?

Of course,
the first part didn’t have to be suicide
but also every other tragedy
newsworthy or not.
It can certainly be outward aggression
toward innocents, or sometimes
making angels out of earthly devils,
but there are quiter ways to fade away.
Vice and unhealthy habits,
the inability to care for the body
or keep a clean living space,
forsaken dreams and desires,
loss of faith in humanity,
loss of hope in light,
loss of trust in God,
loss of belief in oneself.
Or even the loss of self.
You know.