Save the Poet!

via Save the Poet!

The All or the Nothing is my e-book of poetry. Click on the link above to find where you can download it.

For poetry lovers and endangered poets everywhere!

Cheers

Steve 🙂

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The road gone…but not forgotten.

It’s been a few years since I disappeared in a puddle of self-limiting self-destruction.

It seems my years of wallowing and despondency are coming to a close. That’s not to say my depression has gone away. My favourite black dog is right beside me as always, although his ever-present bark is lessened somewhat by the muzzle. I guess I’ve arrived at a place where I can safely say I’ve shed some (but not all) of my ridiculously cumbersome baggage. At least I’m not bowed from the heavy lifting. Stronger, perhaps.

So does this mean I can get on with my life? I’m afraid the spectres and banshees at my heels will never go away, but I can live with them a little better than before. Perhaps, with time, they’ll fade. Hopefully, not altogether, though–I need to be reminded of my mistakes. Life is all about consequences and learning from them, after all.

Wow, that’s a lot of clichés. Maybe next time I write a confusing and enigmatic post, I’ll try to avoid them.

Cheers

Steve  🙂

Kill. A poem.

Why don’t you kill me?
Release me from this misery?
This womb that clings
and grinds me down
to tombstone dust
and empty dreams,
restrains me tight
in chains of languid
and bitter thoughts.
Oh, but for a little death,
a dance with angels
or demons to portend.
Not for me.
With life and pain
I must contend.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Meltdowns happen.

Every once in a while, I find myself in a mental space I’d rather not be in. And it doesn’t seem to take much to get me there.

It’s a sure sign of poor mental health when a clothes washing incident can bring you to the brink of despair. It’s not the incident itself, however, but the stuff that’s been weighing on your mind, piling up like dirty laundry in the corner, a tower of linen just waiting for a slight tap to bring it all down (I would have said crashing, but that doesn’t seem appropriate for a big metaphorical pile of clothes).

All the crap you’ve been carrying, all the anger and bitterness you thought you’d let go of, all the hopes and dreams you’ve quashed over time—they all decide now is the time to come out and play. And how they play. Not like your best childhood friends in the playground, but foul, demonic entities ready to pluck and rend and torture your soul until there’s nothing left to save.

Of course, it’s all well and good to say, “buck up, move on, get over it”, but people all too rarely do, despite all their affirmations and aspirations. And so they wait, all those little bugs, hiding in your mental cupboards, tucked away in your drawers, just waiting for the day when they will be set free and their fun can begin.

It’s at times like these I have to remember the importance of my anti-suicide vow: my commitment to stay alive for my son. I do NOT wish to be a poster boy/role model for taking the easy way out.

No, life is about facing s@“# and getting on with it. And, yes, every once in a while, having a meltdown and wanting out of it.

But life goes on. It must. Because while we’re alive, it’s all we have.

Stay strong.

Steve

PS I’m so glad I can blog cathartically. I don’t know what I’d do without it, because I certainly can’t wait until my next therapist appointment.

New Goal. A poem.

I often ideate about endless sleep,
when the lights are dim, and my thoughts are deep.
I sought it once, but I screwed it up
(if I wait forty years, I’ll get what I want).

My new long term goal:  stay   awake   for  my   son,
keep him wide-eyed at the wheel, to avoid a collision.
To overcome the challenges that his life does present,
to learn some much needed life experience.

Then I can have my endless, dreamless, painless sleep
from which I can forget about all of this.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Cut. A poem.

When the bone wails
in time to my beating, breaking heart,
and the blood curdles
along with my myopic tears.
I will reach for thee
and mark my emboldened flesh
in your honour.

I will scour my skin indelicately
so that I might feel again,
so that I might wallow in my
weariness and paint the sink
the bold colour of my distress.

Every scar will scream my story
behind a thin, linen veil
and come out to play
whenever I need your full
and desperate attention.

This is my needlepoint fairy tale,
umbilically wending its way along
my forearm and inner thigh.
Onwards, the fabulist spins
my yarn of truth and rage
and misbegotten sights and sighs.

This is my gift to you from me.

This silken cut that slices deep
and constantly reminds me
of your joyous regret.

My first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors. To find out more, click here.

Alive. A poem.

I am

ALIVE.

I see all that is and was,
every incongruous and congruous
method and selection,
tied and untied from destiny’s
disaffected strings.

I am

ALIVE.

I have dwelled in the shadow
of death’s supple embrace,
where carbon monoxide
bonds easily with erythrocytes,
in a long-term family reunion.
I have turned away in regret
and post-haste surprise.

I am

ALIVE.

Today and tomorrow and today.
I guess I’ll have to
keep it that way.

I am Alive.

Steve is a sad and angst-filled poet, who needs your help to continue being one.

His first book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now as an e-book from most online distributors – click here.

Corners. A poem.

I’m driving home, too fast, as always,
around curves on too narrow roads.
My headlights pierce the darkness,
painting the surrounding trees in lily white.

Each trunk beckons lovingly,
a world-stopping kiss and a
permanent embrace.

I am so tempted by each offer
lying just beyond the guard rail,
in wood and leaves and twisted metal.
My wheels squeal on each corner
as I ponder fate,

as I always will
and always won’t.

Amongst the Ashes. A poem.

Some days
I want to open my wrists
And let them breath in reverse
Take the irony of my existence
Paint it in the colour
Of loneliness
Emptiness
Hopelessness
And watch it flow
Slowly
Surely
Sluggishly
Down the porcelain sink
That holds all my pointless dreams
And wash them away
Maybe then
I'll find sweet relief
Amongst the ashes

Choose life. Every time. Don't give in to suicide. Life is too precious to waste.

Steve

Hate Life. Live Life.

Almost three years ago, everything changed. I lost my family, my job, my reputation, my possessions, my whole world. Everything came crashing down and I took the one step I thought could solve it. I attempted to take my life.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning was my weapon of choice. Poor research was my saviour. I saw my aged mother, tears streaming down my face, explaining what I’d done. I promised her I wouldn’t do it again. I saw a psychologist, who made me realise what an impact it would have had on my remaining family members, and especially my son.

About six months ago I hit rock bottom again. Not hard to do when you have no sense of self-worth and suffer from life-long depression. I decided I would take a leap off a cliff this time. I had it all lined up, all perfectly planned. But the timing was all wrong. The area was full of people and I didn’t want to be on public display. Saved again.

Today I felt just as low as I had before. I was isolated, alone as always, feeling sorry for myself, as always. I sat there dwelling on the past as I often had, the missteps, the mistakes, the complete fuck ups. The hurt and pain I’ve caused others along the way. I imagined going to the bathroom and opening my wrists. The house was empty, I probably had about two hours before anyone got back. Probably not enough time to bleed out completely. Saved again.

The only other time I thought seriously about killing myself was when I was in my mid-20s. Alone and depressed, as usual. I had a plan. I even outlined that plan to a psychologist, who was really concerned because I was so sure of myself and what I planned to do. I ended up buying a new car. The idea was, I didn’t want to leave anyone to pay off my debts, so I had a stay of execution. For a while, anyway.

If you’re still reading this, you might be wondering why I’m writing about it.
Every time I wanted to attempt suicide, I stopped myself. Even when I almost succeeded three years ago. I stopped myself, because in the end, no matter how shitty everything was, I still wanted to live. No matter how depressed, no matter how lonely, no matter how repugnant I felt about myself, I wanted to live.

And so I’m still here.

Still here. Still standing. Yep, that’s why the blog’s called that.

I don’t know what the future holds for me. Who does? I know there will no doubt be many more times when I feel like taking my life. But I also know that my survival instinct will kick in and stop me, as it has every time before. I hope so, anyway.

I may hate my life, but my life doesn’t hate me.

And I guess that’s good enough.


Suicide Prevention

Chris. A poem.

He shined
On every stage
A voice that made you
Take notice
A guitar
Burning and churning
Changing lives
Through music

But inside
Thoughts and pain
Burning and churning
Shadows and rain
Low
Black hole sun
Dragging down
Crushing him

Who could see
What would come
To be
To take a life
So unexpectedly
Into the superunknown
Exit stage left
Now rest

Today. A poem.

Today, you fell down
You didn’t mean to, didn’t want to
Into an abyss profound

Pulled down in pain
All hope sucked away, a whirlpool
Clockwise down the drain

Reality Check, 1, 2:

Flames lick the ceiling of the car
This is not how it read on the net, CO poisoning
Is the most peaceful way to go, by far

You parked your vehicle
In a ditch behind the freeway, coals and firelighters
And a hasty charcoal grill

A raging chemical pyre
Belching smoke, you hack and cough
Choice: choke or door (kill the lie)

Door it is, decision made
You have to laugh, despite the tears
What a pointless, shitty break

Consequences so profound
For your son, family, friends
But them, you didn’t think about

‘Life sentences for all
If you succeeded,’ said the psych
How could you have the gall?

No matter how low you fall
No matter how deep the chasm
No matter how big the wall
No matter how lonely you get
No matter how many you hurt
No matter how much you can’t forget

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

 

This poem is a true story.

If you’re feeling, or thinking, this way – choose life.

Every time.

Fatherhood – Never-ending Love and Never-ending Guilt

Every time I drop my teenage son off at his mother’s after staying with me for the weekend, he waves me off with a look of intense poignancy that tears me apart. He has stayed over almost every weekend since he was six months old. I am his father and his friend. And I’m also guilt-stricken because I can’t be there for him all the time, the way I think I should be.

I’m sure that many fathers feel some kind of “survivor’s guilt”, the same way I do. I’m sure that they look back at their time with their kids and blame themselves if something didn’t work out the way they expected, or if their kid went off the rails. Perhaps they fall in to the tried-and-true blame game: “oh, it’s obviously his mother’s fault, because I only had him on weekends”.

But that’s an easy out. Responsibility is part of the job of being a father. We help to raise, to develop, to forge our children and what they believe, how they act, and ultimately the kind of adult they become.

Every father loves their children. Every father feels responsible for them, no matter how small a part they may play in their upbringing. Often we blame ourselves, and sometimes we’re right to do so, sometimes we’re not.

For a long time I was the stable influence in my son’s life. I had the stable relationship, the stable home environment, the stable job. His mother flitted here and there, never in one place for too long, moving from one relationship to the next and moving my son from school to school at her convenience. Now, through some bitterly ironic twist of the knife, I’m the unstable one, without a home, without a job, without money, without the confidence and influence I previously projected. My son’s mother now has the stable home, the stable relationship, the steady income. She’s now the picture of solidity and commitment that I used to be.

Do I resent it? A little. But I’m also happy that she’s finally found someone she loves, has finally settled down. I’m glad that my son has another father figure, one who is currently far more responsible and upstanding than me.

At one point, I attempted to take my life. Afterwards, I spoke to a psychologist who advised me that I would have been giving my son a life sentence if I had succeeded. She was right, of course. All too often we don’t think about the impact these things have on those around us. We are overtaken by our sadness, pain and selfishness, and don’t care about the consequences. I still feel guilty about the potential impact a successful attempt  may have had on my son.

My son remains the most important person in my life. Sometimes I’m not as attentive as I should be. Sometimes I miss his phone calls because I’m doing something else. Sometimes I’m too critical of him. Sometimes I worry about my own problems more than I worry about him. Sometimes I think that I’m the worst father that ever lived because I’m not there for him when I should be.

But my son loves me. He misses me when I’m not around. He knows that I love him and that I will always be there for him. And when he waves goodbye to me after I drop him off, he knows we’ll be back together next weekend, no matter what.

Lost in the Crowd

Have you ever been in a crowd of people and still felt lost?

I attend church regularly, every Sunday. I play songs for the congregation, listen to the week’s message, pray, socialise. It has become a highlight of my week.

But I always come away feeling sad, less downbeat then when I got there. This is not the fault of the service or the group; sometimes when you’re in a crowd of people you know, you can feel more isolated than ever, and the joy of the event can only serve to remind you of that.

A few years back, before I became Christian, I fell on very dark times and attempted to take my life. It’s not a story I’m proud of (although when I think about it, it is a somewhat black comedy of errors). Suicidal thoughts are something that many people with depression face every day.

Over the many years I’d been depressed, I’d contemplated suicide many times, but had never taken active steps to take my life. I think this is how it is with many people – it is certainly no small decision to make. Looking back, I’m so glad I failed, because it taught me how precious life was and how difficult it should be to try to throw it away.

Nowadays, when I am at my loneliest, I turn to God, to faith and hope and the love that exists in my life, even though I may sometimes be too deep in my dark thoughts to see.

I’m not going to preach to you about finding God. I believe that God finds us all, especially when we need Him most – that’s how He found me.

But if you’re alone, even if you’re in a crowd, and you feel there is no way out – talk to someone. Phone someone. Let them know how you feel. You’ll be surprised at just who will listen. And who will care. And just how many identify with how you feel.

Don’t get so lost in yourself, whether in a crowd or in your personal darkness, that you can’t find your way back to life.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with around 2,500 people dying by suicide every year. That’s an average of eight people every day. For every suicide, there are tragic ripple effects for friends, families, colleagues and the broader community. https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Death by suicide is highest for men aged between 45 and 54, and those over 80, although attempted suicide is more common in women than men. https://www.sane.org/mental-health-and-illness/facts-and-guides/suicidal-behaviour

Feeling suicidal, or know someone who is thinking about ending their life? Sometimes it can feel like it’s too hard to go on, and you’re giving up hope. Remember that suicidal thoughts are just thoughts – you don’t need to act on them. You can get control back. There’s info here on how to do it, what to do when you feel this way, and how to help someone. http://au.reachout.com/tough-times/somethings-not-right/suicide

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