top of page

Suicide as a Sort of Present[1]

Suicide is both so Easy and so Difficult: to Commit to it One

Has to Stamp out this Native Triumphance, either by Training

Oneself to Dehabilitate or Disbelieve it, or by force of Ambush[2]

I know a hundred ways to Die – I’ve often thought I’d Try one:

Lie down beneath a Motor Truck some day when standing by one;

I know some Poison I could Drink I’ve often thought I’d Taste it,

But Mother Bought it for the Sink and Drinking it would Waste it[3]

He Yearns to Know Nothing more about Himself, to Find Peace, to be

Dead … Nothing is left for him but to Snuff himself out, but to Shatter

The Failed Formation of his Life, Toss it at the feet of Snickering Gods[4]

To Be, or Not to Be? That is the Question – to Die, to Sleep – no more –

And by a Sleep to say we End the Heartache – and the Thousand Natural

Shocks that Flesh is Heir to – ‘tis a Consummation Devoutly to be Wished![5]

Why do I Overlive? Why am I Mocked with Death, and Lengthened out to Deathless

Pain? How Gladly would I Meet Mortality, my Sentence, and be Earth Insensible![6]

I Measure every Grief I meet with Narrow, Probing, Eyes – I wonder if it Weighs

Like Mine – or has an Easier Size; I wonder if it Hurts to Live – and if they have

To Try – and whether – could they Choose between – it would not be – to Die[7]

Every time I leave the House, it’s Suicide – and each Return, a Failed attempt[8]

The Sea is Deep, a Knife is Sharp, and a Poison Acid Burns – but they

All bring Rest, they all bring Peace for which the Tired Soul Yearns –

They all bring Rest in a Nothingness from where No Soul Returns[9]

The Skin of my Wrists are so White and Defenseless … what

I Want to Kill is Deeper, more Secret, a lot Harder to get at[10]

[1] David Foster Wallace, Suicide as a Sort of Present

[2] Maggie Nelson, Bluets 138

[3] Edna St. Vincent Millay, I know a hundred ways to die

[4] Hermann Hesse tr. Joachim Neugroschel, Siddhartha

[5] William Shakespeare, Hamlet

[6] John Milton, Paradise Lost

[7] Emily Dickinson,I Measure Every Grief I Meet

[8] Maya Abu Al-Hayyat tr. Fady Joudah, What If

[9] Langston Hughes, Exits

[10] Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

bottom of page