Archive for the ‘Poems by Brian O'Raleigh’ Category



Chapter 28


“I could not look on death, which, being known, men led me to him blindfolded and alone.”

Rudyard Kipling

The rumours began early that weekend, sweeping through the rehab like a bushfire. Monday morning they were confirmed. Camilla had thrown herself over the Gap, casting her life down onto the rocks two hundred feet below. They’d found her shattered body at the foot of the cliffs close by the entrance to Sydney Harbour.

A week after her death the group decided to discuss suicide. It was a heavy session and during the afternoon break, Megan and myself escaped out into the garden for a coffee.

“So what do you thinks on the other side then?” she was blowing smoke rings up towards a pale, grey, winter’s sky. “Will we be acceptable in heaven if we kill ourselves, or will we get more shit up there too?”

“More shit, I’d imagine, if there is another side.”

“You don’t believe in anything?’’ she was staring across at me.

“I believe in lots of things. Gods, demons, assholes, saints, wankers, mystics. I just don’t know which is which anymore.”

“But you do believe in something?”

“I don’t know what I believe in, Megan. I was an atheist for most of my life and then I got sober. I don’t know what I believe in now. If there is a God, maybe he just gets pissed off with some of us sometimes.”

We went quiet for a while and I lit another cigarette for her. The bell was ringing for the last group of the day.

“Fuck the group,” I said.

“Yes,” she said, “fuck the group,”

We sat there for a long time not talking and then she looked across at me again.             “How were you planning to kill your self?”

“A gun,” I said

“You have a gun?”

“I had a rifle in Noosa,”

“Were you serious?” she was frowning.

“I don’t know, I thought I was. There weren’t any bullets in it.”

She burst out laughing so suddenly that she almost fell off the bench.

“You can’t have been too bloody serious! What were you going to do, beat your self to death with it?”

We both fell about laughing then, it all seemed so bloody ridiculous.

“Maybe we should make up a kit for people who want to neck themselves,” I said, “we’d make a fortune. We could call it ‘The Ultimate Relaxation Kit,’ or ‘The Do it Yourself Guide to Suicide.”

“I like the second one,” she said, “it rhymes!”

“I’m serious,” I said, “we could include something for everyone. We’ll have a gun, with bullets! Two, in case you miss the first time! There’d be a dagger for the more dramatic types and a bottle of whisky laced with arsenic for those who  might feel like a drink on the way out!”

We were still giggling when one of the staff appeared.

“Come on you two, you know the rules. You should be in group.”

*     *     *

Jim Maclean gave us the evil eye as we slipped back into the Rehabs lecture room,

“Nice of you to join us, Brian, Megan. Try to be a little more punctual in future would you?” He studied us both as we settled back into our seats. He was always on the lookout for the rehab romance syndrome but there was nothing like that between Megan and me…

We were just two lost souls with a similar intent

Adrift on an ocean of fear

Castaways clinging to refuse at sea

Treading dark waters, unable to be

Seeking oblivion, praying for sleep

Creatures without rudders alone on the deep

Spirits dissolving as memories unfold

Flash backs and images swamping our souls

Lost in a time warp between new and old

Pressed between pages from a story long told

Group sessions and lectures flying over our heads

Memories and nightmares and hospital beds

Histories and stories and pasts drained away

Professional smiles set the course of each day

Twisting and turning away from the known

Hiding in terror from lives we’d disowned

Remembering lost childhoods we once knew as ours

Sifting through darkness, looking for stars

Grasping and hoping for words that might heal

The hurt and the terror and a pain that’s so real

Torn from the known world that holds others in place

Trailing dark secrets before some therapist’s face

Mixing with dead people, sitting around

Advice without meaning pulling us down

Drowning in concepts from minds without souls

Twisting and turning past ancient lost goals

Awakening each morning to a world full of dread

Gods lost and demons surrounding each bed

Group time and tears raining to a cold floor

Heaven and hell lurks behind each closed door

Never knowing the place where the ending begins

Talking to lunatics about personal things

Hunched over in meetings alien and cold

Lying in a small bed abandoned and old

Reaching out for beliefs that have already failed

Soul dead to hoping that something remains

Lost to a world rushing by every day

Reality fading as time slips away

Where goes the meaning, what’s the use of a friend

Does the darkness keep going or is this how it ends

Degraded and useless, lost and betrayed

Paying for crimes that others had made

Sinking and dying beneath professional smiles

Searching for meaning through the eyes of a child

I won’t pray anymore now, you have what you need

I’m broken and beaten and down on my knees

You talk of a saviour as if he were real

You say he’s all loving, but that’s not how it feels

Is this some sort of madness, your belief in a god

There is nothing at all between us and the sod

If there were a creator, if he listened at all

Why is he waiting, why not get done with us all

Get it over with now Lord, please let it all end

If you remember me Jesus, if I once was your friend

Let me go now God, please let it all end…

They found Megan two weeks later hanging from a rope in the bedroom of her home; she’d only been out of the clinic for a few hours. She’d slipped away as quietly as she’d lived, never having believed she had the right to be here. Megan was twenty-seven years old when she hung herself, a victim of crimes committed many years before.

Excerpt from ‘The Boy in the Boat – The Origins of Character and Calling’ Brian O’Raleigh. Available at  Amazon.com


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