Men Tell Their Stories

The Poem That Was Never Meant To Be

THIS POST CONTAINS DESCRIPTIONS THAT MAY BE INTERPRETED AS A SUICIDE ATTEMPT. PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN READING. IF YOU FEEL YOUR MENTAL HEALTH COULD BE NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY READING THIS, WE ADVISE YOU READ NO FURTHER.

THIS POST CONTAINS DESCRIPTIONS THAT MAY BE INTERPRETED AS A SUICIDE ATTEMPT. PLEASE TAKE CARE WHEN READING. IF YOU FEEL YOUR MENTAL HEALTH COULD BE NEGATIVELY AFFECTED BY READING THIS, WE ADVISE YOU READ NO FURTHER.

You can listen to Daniel read the poem by clicking the Play button on the player below!

The final words I said last night
were let this be the night I die.

But not once did I wake to sirens,
radios crackling, shoulders to the door,

Not once to the heft of the Poliziotti taking
my weight while cutting through the leather belt,

Not once to a room full of the uniformed
who’ve seen it all before, another ligature,

Another round of carbon-copied signature
- it’s hardly an emergency if you’re dead -

Not once did I wake to the rustle and zip of my deathday suit
or the tip of the stretcher into the hearse.

*

This morning no yellow tape marks off the dead zone.
There is no stumbling for explanations. "Why did he do it,

he had everything, didn’t he? A beautiful son
who adored his daddy, how selfish can you be?"

To you no-ones I have no words. I dreamt of him last night,
I know his love; he mine; yet there are burdens in me

I do not want to last his lifetime. Why should he patiently watch his dad
grow into a sack of limescale debt hawking vegetables at traffic lights?

*

In fact, I woke to the same-shaded room,
blinds hard down to the rotisserie sun

and I woke again to the shelves of books
layered in an inch of those who’ve gone

and I woke to my means of identification
spread-eagled on the table like a winning hand

and I woke again to the letters I’ve written,
postmarked from another land; left open, like the risen. 


Daniel was the winner of the 2014 Fermoy International Poetry Festival Prize, a finalist in the 2015 Aesthetica Magazine Creative Writing Prize and winner of the 2015 Cuirt New Writing Prize for poetry. He's published widely and his poetry currently appears in The Moth, Acumen, and Critical Survey. He is a professor of creative writing, English and theatre at John Cabot University and The American University of Rome. You can find out more at his website www.danielroyconnelly.com. He's not on Twitter because everyone tells him he should be.