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This morning, I melted
while trying to help.
I led the parade
that veered far off course
left one behind.

This morning,
I distanced myself
from my friends.
I sank the cruise ship
that once kept us safe.
I drowned the whole group.

This morning, I wept,
though nobody saw.
Such sadness engulfed me
for the loss of the one left behind.

This morning,
I failed to lead us all home.
This morning, I failed
to keep us attached
helping ourselves.

There came a time in my life when I thought that my place was to be no place at all. I tried to get to that place but, luckily, I was found in time.

I don't know how many people reach that brink. For anyone who has, you probably know that the creep into sleep is rather soothing, especially if you're using your favorite music as a lullaby.

Today, I'm glad that I was discovered in time. Even though I tried one more time after that obviously, unsuccessfully, I now know that the act would have been selfish. But it wouldn't have been selfish in the way in which people commonly think of the selfishness of the act. I'd never blame anyone for carrying out such a plan for I know how awful life can seem at any given moment. To want to escape that moment is a very natural desire.

In fact, I believe that there are people who feel that the act is a selfish one when, in reality, while they remain among us, they do nothng that isn't selfish. For them, in the typical sense, the act would not be selfish. In fact, it may be welcomed by those whose lives they touch.

As I'm a humanist, an atheist who has but one life, I've come to learn that I should use that life to help those less fortunate than I. I've also learned that, until I meet that fate, naturally or not, I have to work as hard as possible to stop those who feel that deciding for one's self when one's time is up is selfish while hypocritically assuming the power to decide when the time is up for others.

I find it curious that those who feel that suicide is selfish glorify war, the death penalty, even the murder of abortion clinic staff. I guess for those people, killing one's self is selfish but promoting the death of others is not. The double standard would be risible if it wasn't incomprehensible.

I wrote "Empty" while I was staying in a place where people, strangers, in fact, showed me more care and concern than had ever been shown to me by those whom one would think should show it. The reason for writing this poem wasn't one of the high points of my stay, but it was one of the more poignant moments.

I'm not ashamed to share this. I only hope that, by sharing my own experiences, I can help others make the correct choice in times of such gravity.

Enough pontificating. I had my fill of pontification a long time ago and I'd rather not accept that baton.

COPYRIGHT 2005 by Michael Bonanno
LOC Reg. #TXu934-647

Reproduction of “Empty” or
any part therein without
the express written
permission of Michael
Bonanno is prohibited
unless the reproduction
meets The Copyright Act
“fair use” doctrine,
(title 17, U. S. Code)..

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                                                                                                                              (and some other assorted foolish verses)