‘Round and ‘Round: My Final Choice (Playin’ With Trains)

Windfall Feb 4 2015 288

‘Round and ‘round
The Lionel train went
The oval track
This 13 year-old’s bedroom floor.

Daily, I would stop playin’ with trains,
Disconnect the power pack,
Open my closet door,
Gather the footstool
I had made in shop class
Climb onto my gallows
I threw the pack
Over the door’s top
And slammed it shut,
Fashioned the cord
Yet another noose
I tightened ‘round my neck.

‘Round and ‘round,
I debated my sentence;
My own condemned man
Tried and convicted
By a judge and a jury
Who shared
My name and my shame
At having

Did I make my final choice?
Did I kick away the stool?
Of course not,
But I never knew for sure
Each time
As I felt so free
In those twilights of my life.

I courted not death then,
But only the promise of being gone
Like Dad;
Only quicker
And not at cancer’s hand.

At 19, a razor I held in my right hand,
The veins in my left arm
Bulging one May morning.
Gone was my Lionel train,
Gone was my mother,
Gone was my family,
Gone was my home,
Gone was my innocence,
Gone was my hope;
All taken away by false saviors.

Alone with the Angel of Death
In a rented room
On Sherwood Street,
I overheard children laughing
On the sidewalk
On their way to school.

‘Round and ‘round,
I saw hellish faces
Of the children and the adults
Who had sent me to Hell’s Door;
I imagined their voices,
And once again felt
Every inflicted pain.

The blade that now scratched me
Was hungry for more of me;
But then I saw
My hand,
And only my hand,
Grasping the razor
As if the steel was
Part of my body;
As if the steel
Was my salvation.

My razor hand was all mine;
No one else’s;
They had all
Taken my everything
Threw me away.

I had given myself a razor;
Just a razor?

I had given myself a final choice;
I had chosen death?

This is what I decided
In response to pain,
In response to suffering,
In response to emptiness
While children walked to school
That sunny morning?

Questions on the edge
Of self-destruction,
Queries from the doomed
That I had never before
Asked now blew apart
My mind and my plans.

The choice now made,
I lowered the useless razor,
I put salve and bandages
On my scratches,
Then embraced
The incredible power that came
From having finally chosen life
Moments before self-annihilation.

Strength is knowing
I stepped back from death;
I retreated from my brink
Without parents,
Without friends,
Without family,
Without anyone else
But me
And only me.

I alone
(All alone)
Lowered my hand,
Discarded that razor,
Claimed my body and my life,
Becoming alive from that moment onward.

‘Round and ‘round,
Almost four decades hence,
I recall that day
And rejoice with bliss
At the numerous liberations,
At the endless adventures,
At the myriad loving journeys,
At the continuing evolution
I have embraced;
All built upon the foundation
Of my final choice.


December 14 2015 Windfall 251

(In a N5 Caboose on The Polar Express with Lillian in December, 2015.)


Edmonds Oct 7 2015 058

(In a Superliner on The Empire Builder with Kathy in October, 2015)


February 6 2015 Windfall 130

(In a Superliner on The Southwest Limited with David and Alyssa in  July, 1998)


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