Friday, August 20, 2010


How much more
pain could you have
shown us –
pins holding your
brain in place,
as your fingers
separated fact
from fiction.

He hung like a robe
on the back of the
bathroom door -
nonchalant and dead,
you liked to say.

You claim that you
died, too, that night.
Are you sure
you weren't born –
pushed out of the hard
cold womb of anguish?


Okie Prof said...

oh my God...this makes me hurt...and I have a bathrobe hanging on the door...

Karen said...

That "you liked to say" really hit me for some reason. Just those few words show how this single act has dominated everything. The imagery and language - both stark, plain - make this almost clinical until the last few lines. "The hard cold womb of anguish" changes everything. It is an amazing juxtaposition of opposites. No nurturing here, but birth nevertheless. I keep going back to the pins that hold the brain in place, too. This is full, Kay.

Julie said...

Kaye, all of your work is powerful, but this one just knocks me out of my seat. Is it weird to say how much I love it? Well, I do. Yes, the subject hurts my heart, but it is one that needs to be told. I’ve seen it happen too many times, either by intention or by a slow suicide of self destruction.

And yes, yes, yes. Your last stanza perfectly describes the feelings I have had (and it's interesting how the narrator talks to the "you" of the poem).

It is like a death. But you are right that it is more of a hard, cold birth into hard, cold reality. “Pushed out of the womb” is so strong.

The second stanza also takes my breath away. Excellent work. Absolutely excellent. This moved me in a big way.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Terry - Yeah, suicide isn't for everyone. (hmmmm... that sounds effing ridiculous) Take the robe off - of the door, I mean.

Karen - Yes, that single act ruled a lifetime, became a muse - of sorts. I appreciate the close examination. Thank you so much.

Julie - who knows why a certain poem strikes us - and no, it isn't weird to say you love it. I appreciate that very much. Suicide is a hard subject to breach, for so many reasons. Thanks for the kind comment.

joaquin carvel said...

wow, k.

i'm still kind of trying to wrap my head around this one.

i agree with karen and julie - how the stark language is so powerful - like a long looking back. and how right it is that there is a kind of "hard cold" birth for those who survive. this is a survivor's poem, sad and strong and hanging by a question - as we who are left always are.


RachelW said...

What others said, this is so powerful and sad. I do love the last stanza. Rebirth within the death.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Joaquin - yes, a long looking back. It made the survivor strong in a way...but forever kept her forlorn - and infinitely sad. Her years forever changed. I appreciate your words.

Rachel - thank you very much. Yes...a birth into a much different world, albeit.

Anonymous said...

A hard thing to let go of--the strange guilt of being close to someone who found life to be more pain than it's worth. I do hope the person can be emancipated from it.

Gel said...

This takes my breath away (absolutely not puns intended). I, too, am struck by that philosophical ending, that harsh dose of reality. Double Wow.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Gel - thank you so much!