Taylor Mali: Do Not Think of Suicide as the Ultimate Fuck You

The other day I posted a video of comedian, poet, and teacher Taylor Mali doing slam poetry on the subject of what teachers make.  I was tickled to wake up yesterday to find that @taylormali was following me on twitter.  How about that shit?

@jteberhard I’m the original author of “What Teachers Make” but also write poems about suicide. Keep doing what you do!

Getting encouragement to continue spreading knowledge about mental illness from Taylor really put a spring in my step.  He sent me a poem he wrote about suicide and I thought I’d share.

Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you

Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you
or that your moral plane is so much higher.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you—

little ever does, when everything is through,
your majesty, your royal highness, bastard, sire.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you,

or even a selfish act; she did what she had to do.
The storm-blown hawk knows when to release the wire.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

Her life was night and nothing more for all she knew,
angels of the minor keys sang among her choir.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you.

There’s nothing you could have done and nothing to undo.
Fill your life with everything you love, what you desire.
Nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

She had regrets and grief, was more than passing blue,
but no one blames the hand for withdrawing from the fire.
Do not think of suicide as the ultimate Fuck you,
nothing in the world has a thing to do with you.

Thanks, Taylor.  The more high-profile loons who start talking about this, the sooner we’re going to get a world that treats mental illness with the same sympathy and understanding as mental illness.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • miles670

    I’ve tried this but found that I didn’t have the balls to show it to anyone else. Try writin’ a poem before poppin the pills. It helps a little.

  • gAytheist

    I like the fact that he used the villanelle form for the poem. It’s the same form Dylan Thomas used for his great poem, “Do not go gentle.”

  • Dweller in Darkness

    I’ll have to find the link for it when I can look through YouTube (posting from work), but he has a heart-wrenching performance of a more personal work on suicide.

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  • http://sheilacrosby.com Sheila Crosby

    I don’t remember where I read it, but someone or other said that suicide happens when the pain exceeds the capacity for coping.

    You do not know another person’s pain or capacity for coping, and dumping guilt on them is not going to reduce the pain or increase that capacity.

    Exercise and hugs do help with depression though. Some.

  • http://shakrilege.blogspot.com Shak
  • J*

    Thank you for posting this! People take suicide way too personally. It’s as though they don’t acknowledge that emotional pain is valid or real. If a cancer patient dies we take comfort in the fact that he’s not suffering anymore. And if that cancer patient chooses to end his life on his own terms most are fine with that too. But the depression patient makes the same choice and he’s selfish? I think its selfish to ask someone to continue to suffer indefinitely so that you don’t have to grieve.

  • http://grimalkinblog.wordpress.com/ Grimalkin

    More people really need to think this way. It’s fine to want to prevent suicide, and hell, people should try to prevent it and get the person help, but calling it selfish or anything like that is wrong and makes people feel worse.

    A lot of times when I hear suicide discussed by people trying to prevent it, they use the phrase “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. It’s insulting that people who’ve never experienced depression think they get to decide that depression is just a “Temporary” problem that we just need to truck through. It’s debilitating and can last for incredibly long amounts of time- not what I’d call just a temporary problem.

  • BonnieW

    Thanks for posting this, JT. It’s such an important message to those considering suicide. For anyone out there dealing with depression, or for those who know someone dealing with thoughts of suicide, I’d recommend taking a look at the following link. There’s some really helpful information there. http://www.onlineceucredit.com/ceus-online/ms-male-suicide-depression/continuing-education.html