“Alchemy” Patrick Roche – 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam Finals


With thanks to Taylor Seal. Last night, I sat cross-legged on the bathroom tile, Turning the knife over in my hands, Watching the silver turn gold in the florescent light, This is not the poem where I used it to trace the lineage of my arteries until my fathers face spilled from my wrists, Or where I practice blade-point calligraphy, This is the poem about how I wanted to kill myself, This is the poem about how I still want to kill myself, And I’m tired of turning that into something pretty. There is nothing pretty here. There is only the vomit this morning when I tried writing this poem, And instead found nausea, How I watched the ugliest parts of me work their way out, How I tried reflecting on the desire to pull out my blood, Invert life, So my stomach followed suit, reversed itself, Decided that if I couldn’t commit to the blood, acid would do. This is not the poem where I am the alchemist, Where I mix the dull into magic and miracle, Where I spin my blood into gold, A more worthwhile tragedy, For myself, for you, So we can hang it on the wall, Discuss how beautifully it catches the light, Or makes all the lights diappear, So I don’t have to confront the reality, I’ve written those poems, with the gold and the mirrors, But still couldn’t transfigure the trauma, I can make it sing, but the trauma is still there after, So I won’t hide this under magic anymore, This is no blood sacrifice for rebirth, This is just blood, This is just a lot of blood, Railing against itself, This is the stubborn surfaced tension of my skin, This is “I forgot to take the medicine?” This is “I didn’t forget to take the medicine, I just didn’t take it”, This is “I took the medicine”, This is “The medicine might not be working anymore”, This is “I only stopped myself because I was scared”, Or because I was ashamed. Or because my mother came home early, I heard the front door bolt click open, So I snuck out of the bathroom, Returned the knife to the kitchen drawer, My mother doesn’t know about this, This is not the poem about hugs and a tearful resolution, This is the poem where I tucked away the knife with all of the dark, and hoped it would stay hidden from everyone, This is the poem about shame, About sitting in a bathroom, Wondering who will clean the red stains out of the grout, And I know, I said I wouldn’t turn this into something pretty, I said there would be no alchemy, But, no matter how much I say that, Here I am, with a mouth full of gold, Still wanting to kill myself, But, not wanting to kill myself?

12 thoughts on ““Alchemy” Patrick Roche – 2016 Individual World Poetry Slam Finals

  1. HELLO everyone.
    I'm writing poetry, but don't have anyone to share with. So I have created a facebook page "Undo.", I would really appreaciate if you give a like for that page.
    https://www.facebook.com/Undopoetry/

  2. HEY GUYS I'M NEW HERE AND IT WOULD MEAN THE WORLD IF YOU CHECKED OUT MY SLAM POETRY๐Ÿ’

  3. I love Patrick so freaking much. He is one of the best poets I have ever listened to.

  4. He is an amazing poet. I really hope that he recovers and he's happy one day. Poetry doesn't come from happiness but happiness is better than contemplating suicide.

  5. really wish i could watch patrick live someday. i have depression and his words really speak to me. i really hope he gets better. :'(

  6. I love Patrick. This was so honest and raw like all of his poems are. He's incredible and I hope he will recover.

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