Stirring : A Literary Collection
Sundress Publications

Gaetana Cannavo


First attempts at suicide
are often dismal failures.
Usually the result of
poor planning and/or
lack of conviction,
and likely to discourage
even the most stout-hearted.
Those who sustain defeat in this area
rarely recover the self-confidence
to try again.

Therefore, to insure
a reliable measure of success
it is suggested that,
first, you exhaust all possible alternatives.
Then, if still convinced that
it is pointless to go on,
proceed as follows:

Put house in order and pay all bills.
Nothing engenders guilt in survivors so well
as this last act of altruism.
You would do well in fact
to provide a week's supply of food
for your bereaved.
Frozen dinners and instant breakfasts
are excellent in emergencies of this kind.

Next, destroy all love letters,
rejection slips, and bad poems.
Hide all unpublished material
where, in due time,
it should be easily discovered.
You will be aiding not only
the cause of your posterity,
but that of aspiring Ph.D.ís
looking to discover some
relatively obscure poet
of the last century.

Now, take a shower. Deodorant
though not essential
is nice as a final touch.

Lock all doors, deaden doorbells
and unhook phone.
Interruptions at this time
are highly inadvisable.

If inclined to notes
write one.
Remember, however, that suicide notes
do not lend themselves to future revisions,
and the chances for error are great.
The hackneyed and trite are common pitfalls.

A final word about methods.
If going by pills, be sure
to leave empty bottle at bedside
to establish cause of death.
Post mortems are
messy and undignified.
If going by gas
leave fire warnings
for cigarette smokers.

Other methods such as
jumping into tracks or off buildings
are not dealt with here
as they are usually the result
of impulse and emotionalism,
and therefore not likely to appeal
to readers of this manual.
Moreover, such means
are not only sloppy
and melodramatic,
but generally in total disregard
of the public interest.

You are now ready to go;
be assured that you will have
no regrets.

Previous Publications: New York Quarterly, Little Magazine, The Occident, Angel Publications, Long Island Women Quoin, Poet and Critic, Regency Press, New Poetry, Shores, Small Pond, etc.

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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