Suicidal Ideation

I had a friend once

He sucked, but we went and got him a

Tattoo, once.

A tattoo of a Mahler quote

Over his heart.

He sucked.

He told me

That you should only get a tattoo

If you’ve had the tattoo as an idea

On a card

In your wallet

For a year.

He heard it from some man he knew

Some dick-swinger who “knows about tattoos”

Fucking what is there to know ?

You cut the ink into your skin

Or else you get the hose again

Right? That’s tattoos, in a nutshell.

Oh, people do art with the tattoo medium

But that’s not what his was

His was a crooked, self-important

Status-focused, pretentious, lopsided


He didn’t even have the font picked out

And he didn’t do his own recommendation

He had only had the quote picked out

For a few weeks

He was explaining this set of standards

While breaking them.

Anyway, he told me

That “you should live with it for a year

As an idea

Until you decide to do it.”




My brain has a tattoo in mind

And it’s way worse than that Mahler quote

It’s way more self-important

It’s way more catastrophic

And it will ruin my skin forever

And make it impossible to get a job

It will make my girlfriend leave me

And it will make me “unmarriageable”

I will get buried with it

But it will not be memorable

It will be disappointing

It will be too soon

It will be bad timing

It would be such a waste

It would be so hard on the family

It would be unforgiving with age

I would regret it later

It would sag (hah this one doesn’t work as a metaphor but I wanted to say it anyway)

I’ve thought of killing myself for much more than a year

If that idea was a tattoo

I would have gotten it by now

Fortunately, for my cats

I don’t want to “get a tattoo”

No matter how long I’ve been thinking about it

No matter how long it’s been in my wallet

I don’t want to get one.

Life has given me enough “tattoos”

I am covered in scars and marks and injuries

All fully packaged with stories

No one is ever interested

They aren’t in your tattoos, either

Unless they’re trying to fuck You

Tattoos are just ice breakers

The plainest way to show

Someone else’s heart on your sleeve

I don’t wear anyone else’s Heart

I wouldn’t cut myself with

Anyone else’s art

I won’t ever get a tattoo

And I won’t ever “tattoo myself”

But boy

Do I want to

It sounds so freeing

So rebellious

So uplifting

A statement, a manifesto

A ceasefire of sorts

Ah, who am I kidding

Back to therapy, sport.

This card has been in my pocket

I take it out! I promise

I throw it away.

It shows up, the next morning

Same place, unscathed

I’ve had the card

Since I was a child

I’ve felt the tug since I was aware

Of what “tattoos” were,

How you could design them

I knew that I would never get one

Henna is just as beautiful

You can do henna over again.

8 Replies to “Suicidal Ideation”

  1. Whippoorwill

    All my tattoos fell off. One stayed on for a while but it fell off too in the end. It was a picture of some hemlock a full prescriptions worth of valium and some wine that came in a box. It wasn’t quite enough hemlock. Almost enough, but not quite.

      • Becky WTGH

        Oh wow, I got confused about my own metaphor. I need to smoke less, sinner. Again, I wish I could blame the weed. It’s probably my plain Jane brain.

      • Whippoorwill

        Good grief. I’m such a wanker. Even in suicidal desperation. I mean, most people use a blade or a gun or a belt or an exit bag. But me? I use hemlock. *cringe*

      • Becky WTGH

        I think the only way to be a wanker is to kill someone else in the process of doing yourself. That’s real shitty. And stupid.

        Hemlock? That’s just poetry. Definitely no wanking

      • Whippoorwill

        Hemlock nearly got the trick done. I could feel that flame way down deep inside flicker and near snuff out. But then I came to and was paralyzed for a long time.
        One time I was near hollow enough to step to a train, but then I thought of the driver and took a second think about taking that step.
        Guess I’m not that particular kind of no good.

      • Becky WTGH

        I’m not sure if it makes anyone no good. I’m not sure what it makes anyone. I don’t think it’s a weakness, the burden is immense. No weak person could bear the sight of all that truth. They’d look away before they become suicidal, I think.

        I think it’s being hollow, like you said. Feeling empty, feeling nothing.

        It’s what’s got me hooked on writing, and music. Even when I feel like a black hole, I can create something. That’s all the proof I need, sometimes. Simply that I can make something, proof that I exist.

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