poetry and poets

Saturday, February 19, 2005

sometimes suicide is not enough

sometimes suicide is not enough
tony gallucci

this is a confession
not a poem about poetry

i don’t know about you
but i always lied in the confessional

maybe that’s where stories begin

i never wanted to confess
i distrusted priests before it was en vogue
to do so

father might tell my dad

“bless me father for i have sinned,
it’s been a week since my last confession;
i lied to my dad bout smoking,
and me and frankie threw rocks
at the school bus.”

“is that all?” he’d say

“yeah, that’s about it”

“say ten hail mary’s, and respect your father” he’d say

“in the name of the father, and the son, and the holy ghost”

it was that holy ghost that kept following me around
telling me i was a fool for not telling about
sneaking tequila across the border in the
windshield washer bottle
for not telling father i was sorry
for kicking norman banduch
in the shins till he bled

for wishing i didn’t have to go home at night
and be just one tiny piece of that big jigsaw puzzle
called family that really never was,
or else was a bunch
of different puzzles all mixed together

so i swatted away at old holy ghost and lied anyway

what was father gonna do, accuse me
of not coming clean?
this trust thing was mighty untrustworthy

besides frankie was next in line and he always
told everything anyway
that’s why i went ahead and ratted him out
to begin with

frankie was the really confused one
around the time when we’re all confused
and we felt sorry for him
talked about sex and girls
and dying in a car wreck or something hideous
like cancer
about maybe just dying because you felt
you needed to die

and he’s the one that ended up with
the beautiful wife, the great job
and two sons who worshiped him

but every truth must be balanced with a lie
it’s entropy or some physics thing
they never teach you in school

the lie that saved me
from being what everyone wanted me to be
was the the one about smoking
cause see, i never smoked
but everyone thought i did

i saved all my really big crimes for fiction
the lies are buried in some dustbin of truth somewhere
where no one can sort them out anymore
who remembers them anyway

it’s okay
it’s not like i ever got away with anything important
my dad beat me once because he said
he’d heard i’d been smoking
said he had some inside source
that’s how much truth really matters

then frankie died
diabetes took
both his legs first
then an arm
his kidneys

no telling what else
praise Jesus
finally his heart
like that wouldn’t die
until everything else was already dead

frankie said he’d thought too much about it
but sometimes suicide is not enough

Presented onstage in Insanity Suite in the Cargo Trilogy, Schreiner University, January 2002
Published online in Unlikely Stories, 2003