Suicide: Make it count, son. There’s money to be made.

Hi readers.  Shortly after I came back to town after The End of Life As We Know It and the Y2K I gave myself [you can probably find the stories of that by searching the blog for Y2K] I went to work graveyard shift.  Travel Lodge, maybe, or Motor Inn, night clerk.  11pm-7am.  That story’s here somewhere, too.

Those nights in that motel were always long, sometimes interesting, never boring.  At least not to me, but I don’t recall ever having been bored this lifetime.

One night a guy came down from his room and sat in the lobby, just wanted to talk.  He was in town as part of a team cleaning up a particularly messy suicide.  That’s what he did for a living.  Travelled all over the place where suicides happened and left a terrible mess, maybe a hazardous one.

Interesting guy, with a perspective about suicide and life that I mightn’t agree with, but am glad I encountered anyway.  So sometime one of those long nights later I wrote this thing I might have once called a poem:

Industry

Brain soup on steel rails,
Creosote and gravel
Is tasteless and inconsiderate.

What a waste, you say.
It keeps people employed
I say.

Lawsuits, insurance forms
Police reports
Accident reports
For a non accident.

Clerks, cops, lawyers
Funeral directors
Morticians
And the little guy.

Someone has to clean up
Those brain and bloodstains
On the walls and carpets;
Pick the bone fragments
Out of the doorframe
With a pair of needle nosed pliers;
Plug the holes
Re paint. 
Mop up those
Sidewalk body fluids
Untangle the lariat
Or phone cord
From the light fixture
Scrub bathtub
crimson rings.

Someone has to manufacture
Sleeping pills
Bullets
Razorblades
Ropes.

And hospital beds
For the faint of heart.

Some of that’s still
Made in America
(Good quality, too
And I’m damned proud
To say it.)

It’s hard times.
A man has to go where the work is.

What a waste, you say.
It keeps people employed
I say.
It’s commerce.

From Poems of the New Old West, copyright 2003, NineLives Press, Jack Purcell

Old Jules

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s