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Poems from a Rehab
February 16 – Books by Brian O’Raleigh | Edit

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 by Brian O’Raleigh. Available &

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Author: Books by Brian O'Raleigh

Brian O’Raleigh's family hailed from Inis Mór and he's had a lifelong love of the island. He is a published author and poet. His first book 'The Boy in the Boat received critical acclaim and his new work 'The Storyteller of Inis Mór' has been praised by the Irish Press in Australia. ""O’Raleigh’s book - ‘The Storyteller of Inis Mor’ - reminds me of the great Irish writers such as Sean O’Faolain and Benedict Kiely.” Frank O’Shea. Literary critic. Australian Irish Echo.

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