Though the TBF members were so very shy about this challenge (only one work was submitted), we celebrate pauldrobertson‘s Soliloquy, charcoal+chalk, the truth about suicide
Soliloquy. Charcoal and white pastel. My former companion, lover and friend, sat for me though she really wanted to go outside and play in the sprinklers.
She is so still, so still.
The way she sits with such delicacy, perfect and human.
Exquisite… she is so breathtakingly beautiful that it hurts me to look at her.
It makes me ache for her. For her sadness that I know so well; For the scars upon her sweet skin. For her, for her.
That this moment shall ever have to end.
And here is the truth about suicide, or one of the greatest of truths, one perhaps of the truest.
ah… speak truth and long and exhale hard into the empty hearts the softness of the night
I beg some breaths from you. I want your attention for a few minutes. Let me open my heart and my wounds for you.
There are, according to me, four kinds of suicides:
The first suicides I will discuss I will not dwell on. They are the suicides of the very young, and the very foolish. They are also a real component of our contemporary lives. The child or the fool imagines themselves at their own funeral. The absolute nature of what they do is lost to them, and they go blinded and innocent before their own bloody hands. A fool ends.
I can’t help but think as their last heart’s blood drains from their bodies, does it occur to them that they won’t be THERE when everybody is fucking sorry?
“No wait, I…” and breath shudders last. How utterly foolish and tragic. A messy comedy. Another life stolen from us.
I believe that the most common is as a result of a momentary, even if recurring, definitive madness of pain.
I think that… the despair takes us in sudden gulps and sucks the sanity from us; the frail bubble that it is bursts for a bloody but succinct, specifically human succession of moments. Twenty minutes. An hour. Long enough.
The pain… spears and punctures what we are. Our ecstasy of existence, the supremacy of our essential drive to live is swept into the wilding deep by it in savage sudden stabs. The pure violence of it, that something of this scale can even exist within us fills and covers us until that is what we ARE.
Terror is the answer, our reeling cramping minds’ answer. A devastating shudder of fear locks so many into death.
It is not the pain itself. It is that the pain may continue.
It is terror of the pain, you see. That it will not end. That this will go on. The moment cannot be prolonged, for it is untenable. It must be ended. The means are visceral, ancient and brutal.
Because, in the end, so are WE.
Probably the rarest of the four is that of a reasonable, rational suicide. Hannibal, old and surrounded, finally, by Roman soldiers, taking poison in a final “fuck you!”
Socrates, perhaps. Yes. A considered death. And ultimately more successful than he could possibly have imagined. Cleopatra. Kurt Kobain. No I should not count that here… I think it belongs to one of the other categories. He had no need to die. The nazi party members. Cheating responsibility; crawling despicable craven men that they were, it was still something that could be constructed from reason in the sewer of their minds.
People who are in the last stages of their life and in useless pain, who wish to die with clean reason and simple inarguable logic. Unless you count religion in that particular choice, of course. Hang on, I said logic and reason didn’t I?
This last is perhaps a combination of the latter two, I suppose. It is when we have fought, and fought, and fought, throughout our lives. It is when this fight has returned us, old with years and pain: to a point that we can, finally, recognise. When it returns us, beaten and old, to the point at which it began. When we know, in a chill that drops us to our knees –
We know that we have been here before.
We know the way. We know this suffering, we know it intimately with each scratch burn and old bruise on our bodies. We stretch out our aching fingers, recognizing, in extremis, in terminal horror, upon the sharp cutting stones of the steps of this road our own footsteps.
Some courage is only truly born of ignorance, and it was armed with this – with this innocent expectation of an eventuality ending in salvation, in succour – that we walked this road. Not knowing never suspecting how it could how could it lead back again all the long hard hours back to its inception.
It is then that exhaustion complements pain and despair. The wanderer, the bruised and weeping one, succumbs to a fatigue of despair and understanding.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky said that tiredness is a kind of madness.
It is here that his words find form, here that the iron spike of exhaustion finds its ultimate, deadly purpose.
In this, this last kind of suicide is offered a combination of the second and the third kinds. It is a rational suicide, but it is a madness of pain. In this final act they join hands. And they kill us.