“No Title (on purpose),” by Matt Kolbet

Dec 20th, 2016 | By | Category: Poetry

As Charles jumped from atop the building,
he yelled like a native (which is to say he
made a noise as often depicted in the
media of Western countries (clearly
an artificial division, unfairly favoring

one side with false criteria of culture)
though natives surely had their own
reasons to yell, just not—perhaps—
jumping from buildings

Suicide was a luxury (having failed
to give a trigger warning, let me
say that this poem may not be a
safe space
), for he did not worry
over invasions or bombs except
those in his own body.

Charles’ cancer (no heads up, sorry!)
had made life unrecognizable, so
death of his own choosing seemed
the only option (this character’s
lack of belief in miracles in no way
indicts those who have faith and is
not meant to be taken as a suggestion
for anyone
(though of course you as
an individual have the right to make
your own choice
(with the necessary
addendum that one’s choice may
affect others’ perception, particularly
in terms of value

And as the air rushed about him,
the question that had always plagued
him—when it would end—was
answered (in one sense maybe, though
not a teleological one, for Charles
could still be a case study for students
of psychology and biology, as well
as seeming an advocate for our
ecology (recycling, lowering the
burden of overpopulation) not to
mention what might possibly happen
to his potential soul
) leaving witnesses
to wonder why (without creating an
obligation, for of course life is busy,

(and it would be egotistical to expect
earth-shattering change in such an
)) for even Charles understood
before he leapt how adjectives had
been flattened by internet gossip
sites, knew he could not melt hearts,
but at least someone would be forced
(unless able to escape conformist
) to describe his transformation
as jaw-dropping. He’d let people record
his act as bystanders without facing moral
quandary, died thinking that art may not
always be beautiful (beholders’ eyes) but
it’s forever temporary.


Matt Kolbet teaches and writes in Oregon. His most recent novel is Lunar Year.


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