Suicide note as Zen Koan?

Poetry is a lot like dreams. 
Why do we dream?
Why do we read poetry?
Why do we have a soul?
Do you know why?
Do you even know
what dreams
or poetry
or the soul are?
What they mean? 
We can speak of them,
but words can never
capture their essence.
The same is true
of all mysteries,
the mystery
of death.
But let me try.
Let me speak of a poem.
A poem
not about death, no.
A poem
that calls itself
What an odd name
for a poem.
Let’s begin
by asking –
Who writes
a suicide note?
A potential suicide
of course.
But what if
the writer
is still alive?
Is it still
a suicide note?
Even if the writer
Is determined 
to suicide  
in the future, and
writes the suicide note
ahead of time
it’s still not a 
suicide note
until the writer
has killed him or herself. 
And what of this poem?
This beautiful lyrical poem
of sadness and even despair.
How are we to judge it
if we are not sure
what it is?
Or do we even need
to judge it?
Can we not just
accept it
for what it is?
My initial thought was
“this song of beauty
can not be
a suicide note.”

But it is.
It is a suicide note.
Or at least it seems to be one.  
It works as a suicide note.
It even feels like a suicide note.
But for me something is wrong.
Why does it not ring true?
Yet I cannot dismiss
this beautiful
song of a poem.

I have had to think on it,
sleep on it,
let go of it,
walk away from it.

And yet
it won’t let me go,
this suicide note
that is both
more and less
than a suicide note.
Here we have a poem
titled “suicide note.”
Yet the author,
lives on.
What if it’s a persona
that dies by suicide?
It seems like
we all have
multiple personas. 
It’s not hard to see this
if you stay with a person
as they interact
with different people.
Take a parent of a family.
If there are children,
the parent will have
a different persona
with the children,
than their persona
with their partner.
They will have
a different persona
with their parents,
with their neighbors,
with their friends,
On and on
goes the list,
on and on
goes the list
of personas.
What if one of our personas
decides to suicide?
What if a persona
writes a suicide note?
What does a suicide note mean
if the writer has not died?

How do we know
if a persona has died?  
How seriously do we take
such a piece of writing
if the author has not died?
Without the answer
to these questions,
how do we know
how we should feel
about this poem?
seems to be alive.
Did one of her personas die?
The poem seems
to indicate
the possibility,
but we
don’t know.
If this is just
a pretense
at suicide,
with a pretend
“suicide note”,
how should we
respond to it?
How seriously
should we take it?
In the end
it’s another mystery.
Perhaps even
the author
of the poem
does not know.

It’s possible
for a persona
to be
so walled off
from the other parts
of the psyche,
that we might not
even know
if it had died. 
So in the end,
it’s mysterious.
I have more questions
than answers.
I’m not even sure
if the poem
rings true
as a suicide note.
Perhaps this is
a Zen Koan
that has no
rational answers. 
May 2010

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