“Foxboro, MA” by Sebastian Red

I burnt leaves on my bed when you blew the back of your throat onto the wall
at least I told people I did
It wasn’t suicide, I know – but it was huge for an 11 year old kid
I picked up that shitty little TV Dad finally let me have in my room
and tossed it from my window
it didn’t break – the grass broke it’s fall
and Mom and Dad were out to dinner so they never knew
and that bitch read your farewell – and I hated her

Billy called
“Did you hear?”
The news was blasting into the family room. My Megadeth t-shirt was
not enough to keep me warm. French vanilla candles were burning from
the entryway as they always were. My pacing was causing the floor to
creak. The portable phone kept beeping from low battery.
“Yes, it sucks.”
I hung up

I walked up to my sister’s room and told her you were dead
She was shocked and wanted to borrow your records
I told her she couldn’t and went down to the kitchen
microwaved some french fries – Ore Ida
I hated those fries – I always burnt them
and the ketchup was too cold

I wore your t-shirt to school
like any other day – and people stared more than usual
The lady on the loudspeaker called me to the office
I got there and waited for the principal and the guidance counselor
They wanted to talk about you
and how what you did was wrong
and how bad your family must feel

But I didn’t think you were wrong
I wanted to be next to you at Lake Washington Ave
in that greenhouse above the garage
with a hole in my throat too

Sebastian Red

© 2011

“Suicide Is Just Not an Option …When the BS is Too Much” by Levy Lee Simon

Levy Lee Simon at Elderberries in Hollywood

I sit here in the quiet of my solitude,
silent in full awareness of my breath,
thoughts clear, mind on reflect,
understanding fully well who I am
a Black man, individual unto myself,
a unique creation of God by God,
fully charged.

Yet, I’m puzzled again and again
by those that try to identify me in terms of generality,
this black man, me.
Of deep brown skin tone, but I was born alone.
I am not a clone.

So why is it I hear constantly in my ear,
cries that a Black man should be feared.
the Black man this or that.
That nigger, this or that,
Always giving us crap…
busted by laws with all it’s flaws,
denied access to cabs, used in labs,
given looks that could kill,
racially profiled, unfair trails,
poor test scores, followed in stores,
low evaluations and low grades,
treated unfair, called spades
prisons and jails with no bails.
It’s hard because can’t get no job,
Can’t even  buy a house, without a spouse
Kicked to the pavement even with a down payment.

Make somebody say,
what’s the use… it’s like abuse.
Alcohol, drugs, becoming a thug.
Hatred and fear harbored inside the mind,
the only solution, a hit of something, or a bottle of wine.
Everybody can’t be an athlete or a Hip-Hop King,
Bread for entertainment to dance and sing.

Subjected to this…
You ain’t shit….  May as well quit.
You no good…. I wish you would.
I can do bad by myself, you ain’t got no wealth
Wasn’t going to amount to nothing, gimme something,
loser, abuser, liar, womanizer. Why try? Just lie.
Shiiiiiit. No hope, why not use dope.
Nobody’s there to dry my eyes,
to ease the pain inside,
the shame that can’t be denied.

To even the score, walk through the door,
Walk strong, like I belong.
Head up eyes straight ahead, not dead
Suicide is not an option.

Even when
our mothers didn’t get it,
when our sisters didn’t get it,
when our women don’t get it,
when nobody gets it but us.
Because we are up against,
News and movies that try to define who we are,
but far from the truth by far.
Killing me like I don’t need your help,
But, I’ll be damned if I kill myself.

Through a life time of situations,
and aggravations, suicide is not an option.
Let’s talk about revolutions, let’s talk about solutions.
Because suicide in not an option, when the BS is just too much.

Levy Lee Simon

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2010

“The Bridge To Nowhere” by C. Jean Pearlstein

L.A. Times article on valued added by LAUSD teachers
Ranking them by name.
Final blow for struggling, depressed young man
He jumped off the bridge
Jumped to freedom from brutal pain
Jumped to freedom from humiliation
Jumped from possible reprimand or job loss
Potential heard in children’s memories, lost
A son, lost
A mentor, lost

Later, tender hearted Tyler Clement
Outed on Skype broadcast
Unthinking, reptilian brain cruelty and callousness
A talented musician lost hope
Lost hope for a good life
Lost hope for acceptance
Lost hope for ecstatic pleasure

Jumped off the bridge
Writing this tears roll down my face
The daughter, mother, and grandmother of sensitive young men and women,

a teacher, a tender hearted nurse, and music students.
Welcome to the information highway.

C. Jean Pearlstein

© 2010

“Stepping Off” by Mark McNease

(for Gene)

Because the darkness was so complete,
because a hole so deep and wide permitted
not even stars to peek through

you stood on a roof ledge and wondered
what you would say to us.
You reached for loved ones in your mind

but it had been closed by grief,
sealed off by circumstance and years
of sorrow, until you stood alone,
bereft, aching, wanting more than anything

to say goodbye. Rooftops do not bid farewell.
They do not make exceptions for love.
They yawn before us, and when we step from them
they close shut ever afterward, leaving tears
to cleanse the sides of the building. You are crumpled
and bloody, waiting to be found.

Mark McNease

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Haze” by Alex Bledsoe

I walk through the cloud of exhaust visible on this cold morning, younger son buckled into his car seat, his brother awaiting my help. For an instant the carbon monoxide surrounds me and I’m reminded it was the last thing that helped my big brother the night he decided his little brother didn’t need him.

Photo & Poem by Alex Bledsoe

(author, novelist)

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“The Hallway” by Adesh Kaur

Adesh Kaur

The dead father and a howling daughter.
De, de, deny thy father and… you’ll
no longer be….
–JoJo, let the poets cry themselves
to sleep! Aye, fly away home, captain.
De part dearly.

Hey, pumpkin head, how ‘boot that?
It’s cold & dark. A frozen lake.
Bundle up.
Mittens still warmish & cocoa
I will make for thee before
you wake.

You were the hallway narrowing its heart.
You were a bedroom hitchhiking a plan.
You were one revolver who loved you back.
You were a mouth open to the refrains.
You were the trigger-man with no slack.
You were the bullet wanting to part.
I, am your splattered brains.

Adesh Kaur

All Rights Reserved

© 2009