David Starkey

Tomorrow’s Suicides

David Starkey

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They’re still alive today, of course,

which makes them kin to us.


Their final, faceless act is as yet

only a powerful idea, a yearning.


At the moment, they are standing

in the doorway of their childhood


bedrooms, counting the dusty books

on the flimsy shelves. They stop


at the gas station to buy one last

pack of Kools or Winstons.


The conscientious write checks

to their creditors; the others feed


their bills into paper shredders,

cackling a little at the unpayable debt.


By nightfall, they are huddled

beneath the bone-hooded moon,


trembling in the darkness, cursing

at the stars, or regretting them.


Tomorrow still seems an eternity

away, although it is creeping closer


by the minute, like a long shadow

rising from the pavement


as dawn subsides quietly

into the necessitude of day.



David Starkey


David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2010 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in seven full-length collections, most recently Like a Soprano (Serving House, 2014), an episode-by-episode revisioning of The Sopranos television series. His textbook, Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), its third edition.