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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

John Wiley

John Wiley writes about this poem: Most of my poetry is escapist, but "Murder/Suicide" is autobiographical (see link below if you're interested). I'm bipolar, as is most of my family. My brother was the odd one out with major depressive disorder. I'm way too close to this to know if the poem is any good, but it was good to write it.


Murder/Suicide                                                                   John Wiley

I. Friday, 9:50pm - The Phone Call

   Major Depressive Disorder 
+ Rx antidepressants
+ alcohol
+ unfaithful wife
+ firearms
= . . .

II. Saturday - My Kitchen

Walking around and around
my kitchen, 800 miles
away from yours, which is still
surrounded by crime scene tape. 

Did you think about it
or did you just do it?
Should we have one funeral
for you and your wife,
or tow?  Christ.

Murder for love, suicide for remorse?

Or were you just telling us all to fuck off?

III. Sunday - More Details

Infidelity, discovery, reconciliation,
twelve years, rediscovery:
she never stopped.
Just laid better cover.

Shit, shit, shit.

IV. Monday - The Airport

There are so many of us in the airport;
if you put us all together,
we must be going everywhere.

V. Tuesday - Your Kitchen - Eight Bullets

One bullet through one bar stool,
and into another one.
One in the floor.
One through the refrigerator door,
and into the meat drawer.

(Not Present:
Wife: two bullets in the chest,
one bullet in the back,
one in the head.
You: one in the head.
She on one side 
of the kitchen island,
you on the other.)

I walk around and around
your kitchen island,
where your glasses sit 
next to a list I don’t read,
putting my fingers in the bullet holes.

VI. Wednesday - The Mortuary - Funeral Plans

Cremation for everybody.
Your grown children and your wife’s family
arrange her service at the church
you both attended every Sunday.

Our sisters and I arrange yours;
same church, different day.

VII. The Obituary

Our sisters want to say you loved your family.
Should we write that?
Why do I want to protect you?

We decide to put off writing for a while.

VIII. Memories

We ate at the same table for eighteen years.
We slept in the same room,
played with the same toys.
We liked some of the same girls.
We were each others’ best man.

If you haunt me tonight,
will I recognize you?
Or will I see your ghost and say,
I don’t know you.
Wrong house.”?

Because I don’t recognize anything.
Not one thing.

IX.  (. . .)

X. Dreams

I’m walking around and around
your kitchen island
putting my fingers in the bullet holes
while every other memory of you
bleeds out.

Gone.

XI.  The Funeral

(I have enough money
to either fly out for the funeral,
or to scatter your ashes.
I choose ashes.)

Our sisters tell me:
Your pastor says you were saved
because you accepted Christ,
but won’t bless your ashes
and talks a lot about hell.

Fuck him.

XII.  On the Way to Scatter Your Ashes

There are so many of us in the airport;
if you put all of me together,
I must be going everywhere.

XIII.  The Police Report

Battering ram, S.W.A.T. team 
through the front door.
They clear the house.
There’s just you and her.

Information was collected and woven
into a more complete picture.
She took her boyfriend to the airport
and came back to end your marriage.

Well.  Emotional violence can be
just as fatal as any other variety.
Even-steven now?
How the hell should I know?

XIV.  How the Hell Should I Know?

Understanding, forgiveness;
are they the same thing?
If you have one,
do you automatically get the other?

How much understanding
does it take to have forgiveness?
Will I ever know?
Will I ever know anything?

XV.  I Always End Up Here

In my head, I’ll always be
walking around and around
your kitchen island
putting my fingers
in the bullet holes.

Maybe I can touch you that way.
I’ll look through those holes
trying to see you forever.

I miss you.
I love you. 

I’m sorry.

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