one year since I stood in the middle of the hall, watching the flurry of students being ushered away behind locked double doors.
one year since the grief of your sobbing friends.
one year since the lockdown.
one year since the sound of a single bullet echoed against the tile of the boys’ bathroom.
one year since the sea of purple told the world that we miss you. That you were [are] loved.
one year since the orchid my biology teacher placed at your seat bloomed in your memory.
[I was thinking about Connor Menning when I wrote this. I know it's a bit late but that's how it earned that tag. I've also made some major revisions since I posted it the first time.]
I see you had a Facebook
I see you had a life
I see you were a little brother, Read more »
You'd think it would be easy.
To just -
It implies no difficulty.
Lulls you, cradles you, calls you 'friend.'
A nice state of mind.
In reality, you'll find
it's much easier thought of than done.
Harder than blowing out a match.
Than dropping a stone.
Draining a stream, or washing sand.
Courage is required to move your hand.
But also is a mindlessness
that I do not possess.
Because on the brink, you start to think,
I know of love. Read more »
The silence builds inside the room
As the boy draws his last breath
No one knows the pain he's in
Nor about the demons he's fighting with-
He looks back at the mirror
And sees the boy within
A boy who's scared, who thinks he's lost
And his head begins to spin-
He believes that the only way
To end this pain and doubt
Is to find the light inside himself
And quickly snuff it out-
He breathes a breath, a sigh of hope
He voices any last goodbyes
And I wonder if he knew Read more »
I screamed, I cried,
I mourned, for you.
For you my friend.
For you my friend I wish I had done more.
For you my friend.
This is for Leah and Connor.
This is for everyone who knew them.
This is for everyone who didn't.
For all those strangers who've ever seen them walking around,
Or who've heard their name called by another person they don't know.
I want you to know that I've gotten the message
And I am shaken by it.
I want you to read my words
And feel my fear.
I want you to know that I know that I am missing two life-long stories Read more »
& there's nothing left there, just memories and some regret
clustering over the black tabletop where a heartbeat
and a soul once shimmered.
It’s strange, the idea
A wake up call.
Alarm clocks, a constant ring, rise and shine. From a happy dream.
You were like an earthquake, shaking us all, from the roots, to the surface, until all of our bearings fell from the wooden shelves.
How neat those shelves were.
Reality hit us, like a smack in the face. Because we all knew, just how bad it could get.
But we had forgotten, just how bad it was.
Now officers stand at the front entrance. Opening doors, smiling. Pity. Read more »
Back to yesterday morning.
I try to remember
From the moment I walked through the doors
To when the rumors first began
Did I see you? Read more »
This is for you.
Because of the halls which you said were silent and the day which you said was
Because you said you didn’t want to talk.
This is for Read more »
I saw his shoes. I saw blood and I saw his shoes. He was wearing shoes and I saw his shoes.
Mr. P used to be an art teacher at our school. I don't think he liked me very much, because I asked so many stupid questions.
I just didn't want to mess up. Read more »
does not come to us on a silver platter.
It comes on the chains of pain.
Pain, when I hear that you are gone.
This is not greatness, but anguish.
Aristotle beautified suffering
For the great who bore it
Through greatness of mind.
So I beg you, God,
To turn this test into a testimony,
This mess into a message
This trial into a triumph.
I am not great.
Flinching, Read more »
The most powerful thing a human possesses is his will. Lacking the will to live is different from having the will to not live anymore. I say without hesitation that I can see that Connor was an individual with immense strength of will. I don't say this to degrade him. I say this to praise him and his life, as this is the one and only thing I can see in him even if I don't know anything else about him.
Stream of consciousness, nowhere near as coherent as "Purple Roses" was, doesn't make as much sense, but I hope it communicates enough emotion.
And here I am sitting at my computer desk worrying about my history exam– my geometry exam– here I am at my computer desk and thinking of purple roses and wondering why.
There is always something to live for. Read more »
I did not know you, Connor Menning.
I did not know you and yet, when yesterday my mother said, "There was a kid at MMU– he committed suicide this morning. At school", I felt like I'd been punched in the stomach.
I did not know you, Connor Menning, and now I never will.
And yet I cannot help thinking– why? Why? And I will never know and that, that kills me a little bit. Read more »
Usually I am nothing but an emotionless rock of a human being during exam week. Mind drowning in excerpts of information, [dating back to when the world was still golden, the newborn days of September.] Blood pressure elevated to the point where connecting stray words to make a sentence is difficult. Hands moist with red marks where my yellow mechanical pencil functions mercilessly [I should have brought a gel grip pen.] Read more »
It could have been me.
It could have been me,
& I’m sorry.
I’m sorry because I know
that it takes a village
to grieve a child
& that what you did
would’ve been near-impossible
if you had known that.
But you never saw it,
never witnessed the aftershocks
from a seven-point-nine degree earthquake
on the suicide Richter scale.
& you never will.
I’m praying to every god I don’t trust
in every heaven I don’t believe in
that you get an all-access pass. Read more »
How can anyone who never spoke a word to you
Expect to write a poem in your memory?
Today I asked myself the very same.
At first, No words came to mind.
I knew you loved your friends and family
And never took the world for granted. Read more »
I wasn't in school today. I had no exams. I was sleeping when it happened. I wasn't in school today and if I had maybe I would've been walking down that hall and heard the shot. or maybe I would've seen him loaded into the ambulance. he was in my brother's grade; maybe some twist of fate would've made them best friends. maybe he never would've, had to, caught up in some overwhelm of MUST and
gunshot. Read more »
Death hangs heavy in the intersection
of every human being
breathing easy in the rigid tragedy
of it’s existence.
And the brutal ignorance
everyone must plead
before it makes itself known,
is too much for some to take.
Death hums softly Read more »
I didn't know him
but I could have,
he just as easily could have been
even just a random kid
at my school.
Before today I'd never even
heard his name.
But who says that
next time it will be
(because as much as we'd like to hope
this was the last one,
we all know that there will always
be a next time.) Read more »
did I mention yet that I have my AP Statistics exam tomorrow? as in the final test of the semester? as in the final grade of the class? as in the final aspect of my high school math career?
did I mention yet that I have not opened my book to study? that I have not yet flipped through the pages and pretended to absorb everything and I have not yet finished the giant review packet but
I need to. Read more »
It was a hot hot day, it was hot hot hot and
we had a track meet at MMU.
It was a hot day, it was hot hot hot and
two Milton teachers who live right down the road from MMU stocked up on coolers and ice and water and gatorade and
they brought us coolers and ice and water and gatorade and
it wasn't as hot hot hot as it was
It was a hot day, it was hot hot hot and
I only do one event in track because
I've never really liked track
because it was boring(ish) and
I wanted to play
lacrosse. Read more »
If only, this day, January 18th 2011, was not so sad.
If only, There had been a different way for you to start the new year, for yourself, your friends, and your family.
If only, I had met you.
If only, I had gone to the school you did, so that I could show you how good life can be, and how the struggle to regain control of the depression is all worth it in the end.
If only, you hadnt had that gun. Read more »
I walk into school
and the blood is pounding
in my ears in my chest
and my backpack is light on my back,
light but heavy,
heavy because I know what it hides,
heavy because I can feel the contents
pressing hotly against my back,
heavy with the weight of all I hate,
heavy but light,
light because of what lingers inside,
light because I know
it will be empty soon empty soon. Read more »
When left alone with my thoughts and a keyboard-- things finally start pouring out.
i. Things like this aren't supposed to happen in communities like ours. We're here and we're all supposed to be safe. This isn't supposed to happen to people my friends know and I refuse to let this happen to anyone I know. This is not going to happen. This is going to stop happening. We fucking cannot let this keep happening. Read more »
Today is not yesterday.
the day I go."
Here's the funny thing, when you know
you're almost dead -
you can't help
but comfort yourself
all the things you won't Read more »
This has happened before.
The thing that I’m having trouble understanding is that this is still happening. I didn’t know this boy. I don’t know why he did what he did but I’m constantly left wondering.
Was it about stress? Was it all too much? Why couldn’t you have talked to someone? Why couldn’t you have asked someone to help you?
The thing that bothers me the most? They held exams. There’s nothing okay about that in my mind. This is a tragedy. Small and isolated, yes. And it’s one death and not nine but it’s a life [and a life’s a life].
And again-- this has happened before and it happens every fucking day and there’s nothing okay about it. He was young. He was 15 years old. He will always be 15 years old. His mother will never get to hold him again.
I will never know you and I will never know how to grieve for you but still, I feel as though I have to grieve. We all need to go through this together because people need to see how much it tears a community, a family, a world apart when someone takes their own life. This cannot keep happening. I’m ashamed that I’m sitting in my bedroom with my Chinese text book open to unit 8. I’m ashamed that the thoughts dominating my mind are “midterms-- have to pass”.
Some are saying this was about stress and maybe it was. Someone on the forum of your Free Press article (your Free Press article) is saying that high schoolers don’t know stress because we don’t pay heating bills or mortgages. No. We don’t. That’s true. But who the hell are you to say our lives aren’t stressful?
I don’t know you but I’m writing about you. I’m writing these words to you because I don’t know how else to do this. I wish I believed in a life after death. I wish I believed that you were up in heaven or wherever people believe others go when they die. I wish I believed that you were watching all of us, reading all of our words, listening to the tears shed for you, but I can’t. I can’t and it’s causing a break down. You’re not there. You are gone.
I’m sorry that I cannot place my words to you in eloquent sentences, a letter on cotton paper with inked flowers on the sides and sealed with wax. I wish I could turn back one day and find you somehow but I cannot. I cannot.