‘The Student’ by Rossignol Eliot


A young man rewrites his suicide note constantly.  It is his ambition to leave a note that can be described only using the strongest adjectives.  He thinks of the notes in terms of acidity, flavor, gestalts of swirling color–like a chef or a painter.  But he is not a good enough writer to make these visions come to life.  The suicide note is an exercise in style for him, but it is not a mere exercise in style–he wants to end his life urgently, but he cannot until his note is perfected.  He doesn’t attempt to write anything else but this one note anymore.  Writing feels like a chore.

Now he has started to dream that a committee of professors is responsible for grading his note.  They sit with pallid, disappointed faces that constantly seem to crumble as if carved out of lime; their voices similarly disintegrate at the end of phrases.  They must approve his note for him to be allowed to die.  But they never do.  They are always annoyed with him for arriving slightly late, which he always seems to do.  His anxiety builds like air condensing, becoming a roaring silent mass.  He remembers fear only vaguely.  He used to be scared of death, although it would be more accurate to say that he was apprehensive of what he would find afterwards.  Some aspects of the meetings overlap perfectly with previous meetings, making it nearly impossible to keep track of how many there have been–but some details stand out, giving a hallucinatory experience of labyrinthine trails of memory, worried into an archive with angry red ink.  Time has started to feel depthless, and he starts to feel as though he cannot breathe.  The loss of bearing does not feel exciting or liberatory, because he knows that he cannot escape his surroundings without an orientation.  There is no ground to kick off from, this is quicksand, a sinkhole in the nadir of the universe.

I present–without comment–a small, finite number of his drafts, which are now infinitely accumulating.

Note 1

I hate you so much.  It’s acid in me, it’s a reflex, it’s red bile up from the pit of my stomach the second your voice touches my skin.  

It’s like classical conditioning, you taught me to hate you.  You yelled every day until your veins were popping out of your head and your voice started to grate on me.

I didn’t want to hate you, but like someone who is realizing a shameful sexual desire, I grew to recognize the inevitability and fixity of my hate toward you.  

I don’t know what’s wrong with you.  Speculation seems like too much work, and irresponsible.  Your parents were nice and fairly normal.  I imagine you developed some kind of encrusted ego early on.  Your physiognomy suggests this stubbornness.  A thick teutonic skull designed to headbutt others, to aggress, but not to be penetrated by anything, not by a hint of empathy.  

You can be moral or ethical sometimes, but only in a way that serves your ego.  You always need to be able to pat yourself on the back for what you do.  

You are sometimes right about things, but in a manner that is so horribly wrong.  You hold onto those kernels of being technically correct even while everything you do is not “right” in the sense of spiritual alignment.

There are a lot of reasons I have to do this, but I needed to let you know about yourself before I go.  I guess I’m being your mirror.  Take a look.  

You didn’t drive me to this on your own, but I can’t say the way you acted wasn’t a contributing factor.

Grow up, you fucking angry, gnarled bitch!  You ingrown soul!  Stop being so angry and get to the root of the anger.

You can keep bellowing, but this time I’m really leaving.  For good.  You can yell and yell at me all you want but I won’t be here and your voice will hit the walls until they reverberate and give you back nothing but yourself and you realize you’re in hell.

Note 2

I always had grandiose aspirations.  Maybe if I had lived longer, they would have not been that.  Maybe they could have been realized.  Some people just get bad luck.  Sure I grew up with a middle-class family, some cultural and financial advantages, but not enough to offset my body falling apart.  Health is wealth.  Safeguard it if you have it.  

I’ve been sick for over a year and things are getting consistently worse.  There’s no perceivable logic to this.  I’m very alone and I”m going mad.  It doesn’t feel like only a year has gone by.  I’ve lost track of time.  

I am pathetic.  I stink.  I am disheveled.  I waste the little energy I have, since I don’t feel like there’s any hope.

My family sees me as a burden.  My family is held together only by neuroses and obligations.  I guess that’s redundant.

I won’t be what I wanted to be and I can’t be what I wanted to be.  There is a nascent animal part of me that knows exactly the cards it has left to play and knows that there are no missteps allowed.  

I need to trim the fat.  I am the fat.  I am the waste, and I am flushing myself.  I will try and face this oriented in such a way that I can fly through whatever’s coming next.  I am very frightened.  I’m shaking.  I feel a foreboding like I might go to hell, or have already been.  

Pray for me, it’s the least you can do

shantih, shantih, shantih

Note 3

Scd nt scnd tr

Suicide Note second try

Negative capabilities is the only way to

Achieve grace

I have a lot of hate saved up for you guys because you really could’ve helped me and you didn’t.  Because you were busy and it didn’t seem like a crisis.  

I actually value life a lot, but only within certain parameters.  Once it becomes formless and stretches on without resolution, an immanent limbo, it needs to be given form.  Whether that form is an end or some other kind of limit is not clear.

I am so tired and basically breaking down all the time.  

The way I can tell that I’m starting to accept my suicide is that all my memories are becoming ghosts that keep me company.  They feel closer, they are more and more fleshed out while I grow more translucent and febrile.   They are helping me have the courage to do it.  A real poet, a real magician, won’t die alone.  He will die surrounded by his very real fantasies.

The last five months have been like a bad high.  Time stretches on in a really monotonous way.  It goes by incredibly fast and I barely move.  Whole cities are built around me.  I also haven’t managed to really hibernate enough to heal , but I try and keep up and not only do I fail but it makes me worse.  

Honor suicide.  That’s what this is , I suppose.  Negative capabilities is how I can achieve grace.  Editing.  I don’t have the energy to produce much or to steer things the way I’d like them to go, but I can die with some honor just by making my life a narrative.  By putting an end to this limbo.  By cutting.  

I know you don’t deserve the hate.  And I love you.  But I can’t help but have resentment for all of the living and healthy, because I’m about to regret this forever.   In my life, it’s always too late.  

Note 4

If my meds stop working for me that would be the final straw.  I can’t accept being mediocre or having heart problems.  Neither of those two possibilities are ok.

I’m done with all of the nihilistic lies i’ve told myself or that have been told to me and i’ve believed.  I have standards and if I can’t meet them I gotta go.

Definitely one reason is things with L____ but also that’s not a fair thing to put on someone and I guess the main reason I wanna kill myself is because I know it’s not fair to feel that much about that and I know I can’t handle my emotions and instead of lashing out I just want to destroy myself.

I’ve always wanted to go to my own funeral like in Tom Sawyer, and when I think about killing myself, there’s an element of still believing that–imagining showing up to my own funeral with a sense of spite, hoping I can watch people missing me.  Honestly that’s probably not how it would go–knowing how people treat their dead bougie junkie friends around here–like mourn for a bit and then just use them as social capital…

Nobody would miss me enough to follow me down…

(baby let me follow you down)

I had a series of disturbing semi-lucid dreams last night, all set in the near future, all very real-feeling and banal…  In all of them, I was just as selfish and small-minded, just as trapped by my own petty fears and neuroses, as I am now.  Things were the exact same or slightly worse with L__, with ___L  Maybe I had relapsed with booze and it was really far from a rosy view of drinking–I was just back in the same narrow/boring/depressing space but even more intractable.  It was the worst possible outcome of my near future and it felt so hellish and dark and horrible.

I think I had respiratory depression last night–I was in a really dark heavy dream-space

The only thing I want anymore is to burn one really deep brand into the earth/into society–one brilliant mark before I leave

My old running coach got it right–my main problem is self-pity.  I always drop out early/give up because I feel too much self-pity for the pain I feel.  Everybody feels pain, but I take it harder or something.

Now my mind is going b/c of insomnia.  I don’t know the cause exactly but even when i take pills i can barely sleep 5 hrs.  My mind is eroding.  Unreality is seeping in.   This is really desperate.  I’m not acting desperate though, I’m acting passive as usual.

My body is going.  I can barely sleep through the night, and that’s what i need the most.