Suicide Red
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Suicide Red

 Puma Perl
 Puma Perl
Suicide Red
by Puma Perl  FollowFollow
Puma Perl is a widely published poet and writer, as well as a performer and producer. She is the author of two chapbooks, Ruby True and more and Her Friends, and two full-length poetry collections, knuckle tattoos, and Retrograde, (great weather for MEDIA press.) She is the creator, curator, and producer of Puma Perl’s Pandemonium, which launched at the Bowery Electric in 2012 and brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she performs regularly with a group of excellent musicians. She is also a journalist and writes cultural and arts columns for the Villager and other publications. Puma is a recipient of a 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing, and of 2015 and 2016 New York Press Association Awards in recognition of her journalism. A comprehensive list of video links and updates on events can be found on her blog, Her latest book can be found on Amazon and previous works can also be purchased at erbacce press
More work by Puma Perl:
Issue 107 · poetry
free verse, lament ·  
Suicide Red
1014 16 13 4shareShare
This is the first poem of the year.
I almost called it “Jumping,”
a tribute to the building residents
who have flung themselves
through windows.
The Indian man on the fourteenth floor.
He had recently lost his job.
The terminally ill Asian man from 10 E.
I saw his body bag on the street
below my own window.
A maintenance worker pointed it out.
I’m sure that I remembered to tip him.
I always do.
This is the first poem of the year.
I almost called it “Jumping.”
I keep wondering about the last hours,
the final decisions, the minutia we call life.
Did they comb their hair,
brush their teeth,
did they sleep in pajamas,
were they fully clothed,
did their socks match,
did they buckle their belts,
properly tie their shoes?
I stand by the window,
staring down thirteen flights,
considering the most appropriate attire,
the correct shade of lipstick.
Suicide Red?
Murderous Mauve?
Jumping Julep?
Will my nails break when I hit the ground?
Should I blow my hair out?
Will my make-up run down my smashed face?
Which boots are the least likely to fall off along the way?
It’s New Year’s Day.
Tomorrow, January 2nd, is the worst day of the year.
Eddie died on Jon’s birthday.
Jon followed five years later.
Only a few people understand what my hands feel,
what my eyes see, the veil I look through,
hanging between my life and yours,
every word I write created behind the shades,
blocking out all but a few, the ones who remember.
Annie and Mary and a couple of motherfuckers here and there
know the truth of who we are, clarity, memory, vision.
People who panhandled their way through adolescence,
slept in the dump and have never, not even once, laughed
when they made another person cry,
lovers of dogs, trucks, streets, bottles, mountains.
New Year’s Day. This is the first poem.
Last year’s poems were distorted, twisted, used, stolen
by those who never lived within our truth, our stories,
never knew, never knew me at all,
interlopers who never dared to break the image, who
violate the dead, cheapen every sacred, profane, law busting, drug soaked runaway, dying, breathing, living in the lost.
New Year’s Day.
Suicide red.
Murderous Mauve.
Jumping Julep.
Nail polish. Hair spray. Black leather boots. Clothes laid out.
Marilyn Manson covers Carly Simon. All is revealed in time.
This is the first poem of the year, so it is the best poem.
Tomorrow will be the saddest day of the year, if I am lucky.
Which shade of lipstick looks best on a suicide?


  1 week ago
Powerful. And beautiful in a terrifying way.
  2 weeks ago
Thank you for the comments!
  2 weeks ago
Got underneath my skin and jumped my bones.
  1 month ago
I loved this! So fierce.

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