“Every Musician’s Suicide Makes Me Think” by Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach


of the first time you told me goodbye
over landlines when we were such children
and the morning seemed years away

how you warned me you wouldn’t last
the night and the promise
of my body                         wasn’t enough

to keep you but the next day
we made love on the floor
and I told you how hard it was

to know your body—        a sinking boat         a run-over deer’s ribcage
    warm         and expanding
    slower with each step         thick bass strings
    roped         into silent nooses
    a small boy’s voice         set to man’s music—

you told me it was easy
to want         nothing
and feel it

told me this after you came
and I didn’t believe you
trusted an ocean

of dead fish
was still an ocean
trusted such a mouth

must want for me to swim
inside         but desire
for another body

doesn’t mean love
for your own         and if your desire
were that ocean

it’d be one of mouths         gasping.

from Poets Respond


Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach: “On the day Chris Cornell died, my first thought went to my husband, a huge fan and incredibly talented musician himself, who also struggles with depression. A man who holds a deep admiration for other artists and life, while often being overwhelmed by thoughts of the opposite. Hearing of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington’s death, and that his body was found on what would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday, and then reading about their friendship and the open letter Bennington wrote in response to his friend’s suicide, I was again taken to the musician I fell in love with and married. I felt at once grateful to still have him and scared at the prospect of this being temporary and fragile, living every day on the cusp of loss. I wrote this poem as a way of figuring out my own feelings about loving someone who fights this heavy darkness, a poem about being there to see the fight and feeling powerless to help.” (web)

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