Tuesday, July 7, 2009

it's enough to make you want to give up, but don't


-by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

George Tooker, Lunch, 1964



JonathanAquino said...

Hurray for Dorothy for that stanza; did you ever notice that good poets can also moonlight as ad copywriters? So okay, there's so many things that make suicide a complicated affair (like Life itself) but why focus on the negative? I mean, that is, if you really want to, you know...

Chuck Dilmore said...

that painting is pretty intense!
what a statement, eh?
poem is also good.

i look forward to reading you!


the watercats said...

Ooohh.. that's a bit deep and dark.. not sure what I was expecting from the post title, lol. Nice simple rule of thumb to live by though :-)
I always believed that suicide sounded like such hard work!

YogaforCynics said...

Hmmm...doin' alright, Lydia?

La Belette Rouge said...

It is one of my favorite of her poems---funny and sad at the same time. I love it when writers can hit two notes at the same time.

Erin Davis said...

I've always loved this one! It allows one's pessimism to talk one out of ending it all...

Friko said...

Dear me, I am a great believer in Dorothy Parker and quote her frequently. This is one of her better pieces of advice, right? Have a look at a piece of advice on my blog: "what is this life, is full of care....."
Another one to take to heart.

M Riyadh Sharif said...

There is always light out there behind that dark clouds. So we should never give up. Cause today or tomorrow we will face the light instead of darkness!

Melinda said...

I absolutely love this poem, Lydia--and love Dorothy Parker as well. I used to have so many fantasies about being part of her circle at the Algonquin in NYC. Of all the eras I would have loved to take that time capsule back to--that would definitely be one.

The accompanying picture was quietly perfect, also, my friend.


Darlene said...

Too bad that guns are now legal. If they had been when Dorothy wrote this poem we may never have had her wit and wisdom.

Lydia said...

@Jonathan- Dorothy's words are crystal. I love the humor there. I guess my wish this day is that all who are so depressed that they would even consider suicide find humor in the human condition and realize that we're all in this together. No one should feel that alone...

@Chuck Dilmore- First, it was great finding your blog, and congratulations on your book!
Somehow I don't think you ever have been or ever will be consigned to living a life like the one pictured in the painting. :)

@the watercats- Sounds like hard work...that is funny and quite true. Didn't mean to bring you, or anyone else, down with this. I've had the picture in drafts and last night it fit my mood. :]

@YogaforCynics- You are pretty great, ya know? Thanks for asking, and I'm fine. I lost a close cousin to suicide in early July in the 1980s and he has been on my mind... Then I read a post at the blog of a unique (deep and dark, to quote the w'cats) young writer I'm following and it was the catalyst for this post.

@La Belette Rouge- I love it when writers can hit just the right description of the work of other writers!

@Erin- Well, ditto my comment to La Belette Rouge!

@Friko- I love that you quote Dorothy Parker often! We should pop over to your blog to read the quote you mention...ready? go!

@Riyadh- How beautifully written your advice is. :)

@Melinda- Oh, I can so see you sitting with Ms. Parker at the Algonquin! Especially after seeing the photos you posted of yourself during the theater years!
I'm glad the poem and picture appealed to you this day.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Makes me want to get another cup of coffee and long for the days of automats:>)

Lydia said...

@Darlene- Good point about the legality of guns and their relation to her poem!

@Distracted- Hm. I had too much coffee today. I saw an automat once in NYC and I was enchanted.

Nancy said...

Hmmmm something to ponder.

Lydia said...

@Nancy- Yes, and thank you for being here.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

When things get bad for me i usually turn to the blues - but if you want an inspiration for the bad times you can do worse than listen to the Peter Gabriel/Kate Bush classic "Don't Give Up"

Beautiful post - thanks for sharing and please, please, never give up xx

Lydia said...

@Pixies- Thank you for your friendship, and for the lead on the song. I'm not familiar with that one so will check it out.
I'm hanging in there for the long haul!

Ande said...


A great poem! We all have these moments. I don’t really like Oscar Wilde (he’s to British to me ;)), but I love his words: “what don’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Lydia said...

@Ande- In an office I once worked in one of the managers had just returned after traveling across the country to bury her beloved father. An office assistant, 21-year-old guy whose timing wasn't the greatest, recited the Wilde quote to her. She looked like she was almost strong enough to kill him! I see that whole scene in my mind when I hear the quote. :)

Ande said...

Lydia – Yes, quotes isn’t a very good thing to go around declaring, all the time. On second thought, and after hearing your story, I don’t think I love that quote anymore. It is quite annoying. :)

I remember once on the train from Edinburgh to Newcastle, I was behind a very English gentleman and a couple of women who all new each other.

He quoted different writers and
politicians’from the past at least twenty times before I got to Newcastle.

I vividly remember the women’s voices at the beginning of the journey being quite friendly, only to be replaced by more and more dreariness as the man continued to rant on.

It felt quite funny at the time, and I laughed for myself: shared a good story with my friend afterwards.

I’m sorry if I accidently send this to you many times, don’t seem to pass the word verification (I think).

Lydia said...

@Ande- Oh, don't let my goofy office memory wreck the quote for you! It makes a good point, after all!

The train episode you recalled in your comments was vivid and so funny to read. Seems like it should be a scene from a movie...

(only got the comment once but I don't mind those kinds of glitches anyway!)



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