Kevin Ridgeway

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My First Suicide Attempt

I took nine Tylenol and thought it was
the end for me, weeks prior to my high school
graduation.  I ran out of my room to offer
my mother my swan song.  She drove me
to the emergency room still clad in her
Albertson's uniform.  I sat on an exam
table in my boxers while a cantankerous
ER nurse gave me trouble for doing
what I did while the on-call psychologist
began the process that led to my one week
suicide hold at an adolescent  I psychiatric
ward in Costa Mesa, shitting tar they forced me
to drink to hinder any damage the meager
number of Tylenol did to the lining
of my stomach.  I got two hours of sleep,
waking up while my roommate farted
in my face twice when he decided
that I was a fucking pussy whose
suicide attempt was embarrassing
and lame, that it was too bad I didn't
succeed.  I decided it would be best
to act like I wanted to live and cooperate
with the doctors, therapists and med nurses
who did not believe me when I told them
about the farts so I could get the hell out
of a trauma that I can still smell to this day. 


Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press) and nine chapbooks of poetry including Grandma Goes to Rehab (Analog Submission Press, UK). His work can recently be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Plainsongs, San Pedro River Review, The Cape Rock, Trailer Park Quarterly, Main Street Rag, Cultural Weekly and The American Journal of Poetry, among others. He lives and writes in Long Beach, CA.