poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself


By Louise Anne Buchler




Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; it’s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, “a bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room – instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide – our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. “I am not ok” we say, “I don’t know if I ever will be” – for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.

Art, Inspiration, Thoughts

The Life of Death

Here’s a really moving video I saw on Vimeo. I thought I’d add something slightly different to my blog for a change. Enjoy 😉

The Life of Death from Marsha Onderstijn on Vimeo.




The banishment of inner vagrants

Change is imminent, even Death and Hotel Sex. What is far beyond the aforementioned is getting off your ass, which I have decided to do. There were a few recent events which involved me at my local pub pissing off many of the locals, due to the fact I was pretty drunk. I could have gone back the following night, to face the angry mob, and arrived back at work the next day with half a face and zero pride, but luckily I had friends to convince me otherwise.


I decided to take a personal stand about this. I’m giving up alcohol. Not in the beat-my-wife-harder-cos-I’m-sober kind of way. It’s more like a hiatus of sorts. I’ve given myself three months of sobriety to wade through. I’ve decided it’s time to make some changes. After all too many times conversations are started through a bubbly haze in my current watering hole.


In fact it’s time I cleaned up my body in general. Fortunately I not a smoker so my lungs are (for the most part) still healthy and happy, it’s my thinking that needs to change. I made this decision yesterday while I was functioning on a the amount of tranquilizers that gave me the presence of a Guru, and the speech of a half-out-the-bed brainiac.


If anything it’s far more efficient than a decision made after 5 liters of beer. It’s kind of scary to see that I’ve slowly seeped into the pub life, and the fact that drinking 3-4 times a week is the norm and kinda groovy. Everyone would like a few drinks in them before they ask someone on a date, crack a good joke, or just fool around in general.


It’s fucking difficult to catch those plethora of skills, and turn them around to face you. So I’m faced with a pretty daunting challenge now, local pub life and endless yammering is out of the question…so where to from here?


Tons of places really, I’ve already considered camping out at my local botanical gardens, with three volumes of poetry wedged into my arm pits. Maybe I’ll even wonder around the harbor, and fight off the conspiring seagulls and their allies. So I’m elated, frightened hesitant, and expectant of greater events, more interesting people that deserve investigation.





Bury your taboo, before it finds you

I’ve got a morbid fascination for all of the darker human behaviors in life. I call it morbid, because most of the time your dinner conversation can’t be about the most brutal murder you’ve ever heard about. You see we’re taught (in Western culture) to be polite as much as possible even if it goes towards the point of being a little fake. Rather be more polite and honest, and this is what leads up to the road of most treacherous religions. Bury the social taboo, and then maybe people will find you more believable. Seal those dead bodies in a heavy layer of rituals, prayers, social events (and if you’re especially lucky) a book that tells you what’s the right way to do things, just in case you have your OWN ideas.













Back to the bodies, before I’m ranting on about religion again. I was watching a program on women killers. Again…here’s something we all tend to ignore. Ever since Women’s Rights have seemed to mean something, most of the time we only think of men as strong and sophisticated killers. Some of us are even hesitant to mention that women might have a dark side, because then we’ve become chauvinist (or gender-specific, depending on how politically correct you’re feeling at the time). I came to learn that many killers (male and female, although I was watching a show on so we’ll keep them in the hot seat for the time being) are victims of childhood abuse.

You have to have a sense of brokenness inside of yourself to be able to burn up other children and family members with little remorse. So if you ever decide to study serial killers you’ll pick up that down the line they suffered a period of physical (and often sexual) abuse. Whether it was some uncle who liked to do some molesting on the side; or a husband who liked to get drunk and pummel his wife to pieces. Both stir up a gut reaction in me…because I’m always voting for the underdog. What I’ve also come to learn about many killers is that the key motives are often power, jealousy, revenge, and greed. I said ‘power’ first because I think that it’s the primary influence to torture someone else’s way of life. You do this normally because you feel jealous about something, and you get a release doing it (which could be seen as greed or revenge.) Relying on more specific results of the case would give us an idea of which is more relevant.

There’s a very strange need in people to crush the tormentors that brought them so much psychological harm. I was a victim of bullying as a child and I even though there have been a few years of therapy between all of it, I still have a very human fantasy of standing over someone who gave me a very raw deal, and watching them squirm. If you do decide to partake this as a hobby, you simple have to consider how much squirming you want the people to do. Let’s not forget to have to weigh up how much the squirming will effects you, and if you want to see more people squirm under your hands. I admit that I’m being a bit vague, but I don’t want to delve into unnecessary psycho babble about death when I don’t need to…

Going back to the power issue, I find it incredible the lengths people go to watch others squirm. I forget the name now, but I remember that there was a woman in Ohio in the early 1920’s that went about poisoning her whole family with arsenic. The criminal profiler that was interviewed mentioned that the killer today might have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder today, but then psychology was hardly available to the general public, since the quacks of the time were still learning new things in psychology and psychiatry.















So we have this housewife who was abused as a child, and then went straight into a abusive relationship with a husband. He obviously took advantage of her mental illness and beat her up, time and time again. After his death, she goes to the pharmacy, and buys arsenic to plant in everyone’s food during a family get together. She manages to kill off one of her relatives, and then make the rest violently sick. After that she takes up a very clever strategy of nursing some of her family back to health, while at the same time, slipping them poison in their food.

Apparently arsenic can either be administered immediately in a large quantity, or be done over time, so that eventually it accumulates in the system and makes the body shutdown. I can’t think how much more fucked in the head you have to be, to sit next to your dying relatives and ensure their death. To my knowledge…she ended up killing off around a dozen of her family members. Eventually she ended up being sent off to a reformatory for women, where apparently she was a great deal happier. I think real life got too complicated for her, and especially with the condition she was in…it made her feel trapped. Being in a prison-type place I think showed her a certain amount of respect that she was looking for. After she was released at the age of 79, she went back to the prison the next day, because she was terrified of the outside world, and what it’d do to her.

It’s a harrowing story, and I’ll be sure to look up the name of this woman, when I get the chance. The point I wanted to make is that most of the time we react in a violent way because we’ve buried ourselves in a taboo (or our own system of lies). It’s often very difficult to wriggle free from it, because you’re sowing your own behavior into yourself. People react when they are challenged by something they haven’t talked about in a while (for a very good reason). So if you want to avoid the urge of killing people make sure you a) have a shrink b) are prepared to think for yourself and to forgive and c) you don’t take yourself seriously as a result.

Otherwise there much just be a bigger body count on CNN sometime soon 😀