“Adults must understand that, for a teenager, the simple act of smoking a cigarette, may not merely be an attempt to gain status or to feel like a grownup but may also represent a snub of their ultimate destiny, which is to die like every other living thing.”—Illene Cupit Noppe, Lloyd D. Noppe, “Adolescent Experiences with Death: Letting Go of Immortality”, Journal of Mental Health Counseling, Vol. 26, 2004
I think back to your car, and in my mind the rain was falling when we split. Perhaps if you had cared, if you had cried, or been a bit less casual, I might have stayed. If I’d been too upset to drink that night, if I’d gone home to sob myself to dawn, I might still feel alone, and lost, and might still sit with you, drink gin, and watch the moon, or now I might be asking you about your place outside the city where you want the space you used to have, to calm yourself.
So tell me, did you keep your palm alive? I gave you her because I thought you had a certain lack of colour in your life, or air, or something you could care about. As for me, my plants won’t grow. These seeds give birth to several months of browning leaves and worry, and a minor wish for death. I think back to those jars, and in my mind the rain fell every day, or not enough. I know these things don’t take care of themselves, but I know all things die, and I lose track of time, and lose my mind, and I lose hope. So in those jars, these hearts, nothing grows.
“We were driving to your funeral
& our father was not crying
because he has a way
of tying ribbons around grief.
It was the year we learned
the piercing that prefaces the blood
holds the most delicate of darknesses.
Then it was the year we opened
all our faucets & waited for the sea
to bleed to death. Then it was the year
we set fire to your mitt. Then, suddenly
the year we started to believe
every thorn was just a bridge.
Then the year all we talked about
was boxing. Then the year
my stomach hurt all year, & then
the year no one spoke of you.
If there were an antonym for suicide
we could all choose when to be born.
I would have been born after that day
so I could not remember you.
So my fingers would stop pointing
at all the things that aren’t there.”—Kevin A. González, 1999 (via grammatolatry)
We should have made note of the broken branches, we should have looked up at the smoky sky, warning the witless pretensions of lovers— the greater the hope is, the greater the lie. True kindness in love means staying quite sober, weighing each link of the chain you must bear. Don’t promise her heaven—suggest half an acre; not “unto death,” but at least to next year. And don’t keep declaring, “I love you, I love you.”