Sunday, May 16, 2010


A pounding fist, followed by the sound of metal thrusting, turning and twisting the tear that unlocks the door, demands my full attention. 

With a shameful, frantic stance I shout, "Do NOT come in - there is nothing for you here.  You cannot help me anymore!" 

Her mind does not register my demands as she aims her key at the horrific devastation that hides behind the door. 

Who could have guessed it would turn out this way - death by my own hand, at the age of twenty-three.  

Somehow, I went from alive to lifeless in one, fucked up flash. 

Growing up, my biggest fear was that I would let them down.  My parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, and teammates - everyone was counting on me.  They counted on me to excel both academically and athletically.  I was multi-gifted, or so they said.  I never felt it.

Somewhere along the ride, the roller coaster stopped. I dropped out of school, twisted my lily, white-boy hair into dreadlocks and drove cross country. 

When life got too dark, I put my tail between my legs and headed home.  It was hard coming back knowing I'd accomplished nothing.  I was a far cry from the screenwriter/entrepreneur I'd set out to be.  

At twenty-one I was deflated, but I was not mad, psychotic or delusional.  I had moments of happiness mixed with hopelessness - just like anyone else.  But I never took my pain seriously.  

Yes, its true, I had some oddities - deliberate eccentricities that set me apart from the norm.  

For one, I collected things relating to the number 27. 

New York Times articles from the 27th of any given month. 

Music from artists whose untimely death came at the age of 27 - Cobain, Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix.   

The 27 Club, they call it.

For pure pleasure, I wrote chunks of poetry, with 27 words per stanza.  

The Rosin Erection 

Way down from the gullies goes the ladder
From the fallen to the rising, rosin erection
A cool moon laid on cornflakes, 
Caulked blue bottles of gin 

And strong goes the way of their vagabond bellies
Hungered, driven weightless and mad
Over cotton streets in dreams like children hunting morphine
The blur that binds

You remember the blur, 
the way it hung from the grass in little beads
And the sound it made when you rubbed its juice on your lips

In the morning, it seemed to shine on the sun drops
Coming out through her pink breasts,
strung out on a gypsy web
Of dawn's soft slaughter

I met Mary, my sons mother, on the 27th.  My high school baseball uniform number was 27.  It was the 27th of May when I ended my life. 

Had I known I was capable of taking my life, I would have had myself committed.  I knew I had an explosive temper.  A rage of pain would build inside of me - lasting for hours or sometimes even days.  

When I wasn't working or wallowing, I filled my belly with Tolstoy, Nietzsche, Thompson and Vonnegut.  

I wrote everything out in my journals.  I have hundreds of half-finished, tales stored in the trunk that was meant to accompany me to college, had I managed to follow through as intended.   

This trunk now doubles as my living room coffee table.  I used this very same table the night I ingested the sleeping pills.  I laid them all out, crushed them with my pocket knife, mixed them in a half gallon container of ice tea, and chugged it down. 

If only someone could have stopped me.  

My official cause of death, according the the medical examiner - asphyxiation, NOT suicide.  

I know my mother will blame herself.  She will remember the last words she said to me, "Get your act together," convinced it was the straw that broke my spirit.  

Her clouded, perfect image of me distorts the truth of my pain.  But I too played a major part in this ruse.  I have always known what to say to convince them I was happy.  I use to think it was one of my many "gifts" but the truth is, it was a curse.  

She does not remember our deal.  It was always understood that if she lost her mind, or became terminally incapacitated, then once again, we'd go skydiving - only this time I'd make sure her shoot did not engage. 

Just as the Eskimos set their elders on a one way sail, I would set her free.  

It's just like we talked about Ma, only the roles are reversed.  Your disappointing eyes gave me the strength to end my life, but you did not cause my pain. 

I understand she needs to be the one who finds me.  She will bare the burden of telling the world that I am dead - cold, gray dead.  My skins lack of luminosity is the first thing she sees.  It will hit her and haunt her, forever.  

You came too late. 

A long strip of caution tape frames an overcrowded crime scene, preventing my family from getting near - robbing them of their final glance, their last chance at a kiss, a hug, a stroke of my hair.  

"I killed him!!!" she cries.  

Her raw, devastating screams puncture my heart.  

A pulsating, balmy glow blinds me and I buckle in the breath of emptiness.  

I remain in a state of slumber, recoiled from the sorrow that unfolds.  

In this death, there are no long, slippery tunnels, no fluffy white clouds to ride, and to my relief, I am NOT forever damned to some hellacious cavern or fiery pit.  

I am here, with all of you, but I am no longer bound by my physical form. 

I rest in fresh shade of tall, golden stocks of smooth flowing wheat - its sway quickened by the afternoon breeze - and inhale the tilled pasture that beds me and spreads between my fingers and toes.  

Above me, a lark weaves cloud dollops into a searing blue sky.  

Here, I stay until the distance brings the ring of my mothers cry - channeling me from my demise.  

Oh let me rest, let me wallow in this nest!

Cradled over my open urn - with weighted tears that spew from her cheek into my ash - she picks a chard of bone from my remains, places it on her tongue and swallows hard.  "I need a piece of him inside me," she cries.  

She will not let me rest, will not let me wallow in my nest, and so, I move, ever so slowly, into the light. 

I am grateful to learn that the bond shared between mother and child is eternal.  

She will tell the world that I lived.  Remind them of the goodness I have inside. 

She will read my stories, poems and journal entries...out loud, bold and proud. 

She will find a way to make them listen.  She will alert, inform and educate. 

She will remember me, tenderly, each and every day of her life.

And for this, I have hope. 

In honor and in memory of my beautiful son, 

2/16/1979 to 5/27/2002 

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy 
photo's courtesy of Google Image

The Rosin Erection by Kerry R. Magann

for reading and commenting


  1. Thanks for coming to visit my blog while I was on vacation. I love yours!

  2. Suicide murders more than one person. A great post. Roland

  3. Thank you Roland.... perfectly said.... (tears)

  4. Well, very sad. But one writes their way through.

  5. its an important part of the healing process. Thank you for

  6. Thank you for making the journey into a beautiful, yet troubled mind. Tough stuff, yet so tenderly treated. Happy Birthday, Kerry. Your mom is doing the good work in your honor.

  7. No one can imagine this unless it happens to them. Thanks for sharing. Thinking of you and your family.

  8. hard as it might be, I've learned that sharing = healing..........

  9. Oh sweetheart. You have experienced something so many of us will never, never know the depths of. This piece of writing does so much. It shows the torment, it shows the confusion, it shows the joy in having known your son for the brief time he was on this earth. I am sending you hugs, hugs and more hugs. Your sharing this was a great tribute to both you and your son and there is someone out there who will read this and begin her own healing process because of your generosity.

  10. Hey YOU commenters, yes who stepped into uncomfortable waters... THANK YOU!!! I know its wasn't an easy read and even harder to comment on..truthfully. (((((hug)))))) your words mean so much... much more than you know.

    BettaY, REd, Chris, Sam, BanJOAN..... :)))

  11. Hello Green Monkey, I know Neil Diamond but had to google Neil Young..:)

    I don't normally introduce myself this way, but I am a widow trying to live high (again).

    Nice meeting you Green Monkey.

  12. I'm very sorry for your loss.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog - I like it here as well.
    Come back :)

  13. This is a very brave and honest piece, and that is why it is so easy to appreciate it and be moved by it. Thank you so much for sharing

    Best wishes

  14. way to put it all out there.

    thanks for joining my blog.

  15. How very painful and touching...this must be difficult everyday for you and your family...I can not imagine in any way what you go through...powerful piece...thanks for stopping by as well..I"m glad Ive come by here as well..!

  16. Hello, Green Monkey -- first, this is the most powerful writing -- I can tell it was written so very deep from within, and I am so very sorry for your loss. I don't think we ever get through such a loss -- or maybe any loss, but certainly when the life is so brief. We just try to get through it day by day.

    Thanks for stopping at the Marmelade Gypsy and for your comments.

  17. You said it best yourself. Just because he's not here, doesn't mean he's gone.

    I am sorry for your loss. I am sorry for your son's pain. I am sorry that you will never again be whole.

    Oh, and I am in love with the way you write. Seriously.

  18. a lot of love and support here.... ((((thank you)))))

  19. Wow, I'm almost speechless, bless you for writing and sharing your heart with us!

  20. Hang in there Shannon, Your writing will free you someday.

  21. a "Shannon" speechless? Impossible I say!

    (((thank you Shannon))) and thank you for following - you're right next to my "angel" :)

    Jaybird - glad you like the photo's. I was worried some would come across as corny. Kerry doesn't want to be projected that way (I can feel when he disapproves)

    I will be fine..I just need to keep writing, and remembering and honoring... him and myself.

    Jaybird, feel my gratitude.

  22. Mmm--at times when reading this, I thought u were describing me.

    Pepper's ashes were very dear to me. He was my first child--a puppy--but still my child. I cried wanting his ashes back with me. Needing his ashes back with me. I could not rest until he was back with me again. One day I will have to share the story of his death. God had a hand in helping me through this--divine intervention. To help me cope and to deal with his death. It brings to my tears to my eyes now.

    Pepper's ashes now are mixed in soil in a plant that I keep in my home. Buttons' and Patches' ashes will one day be mixed in there as well. And one day, my family/friends are to mix my ashes with them and then to take our ashes out to the Mississippi River and to let us float into the River. I will make it to New Orleans one way or another I have told my family/friends and it might be in death that I finally make it down there.

    I have been wondering what ur draw to New Orleans has been. It might be told somewhere in ur blog. I have not run across it yet.

    Deep thinkers and feelers--we hide ourselves well. Too well at times.

    I understand what u write here. I possibly understand Kerry. Please don't be mad at me for saying that--


Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison