The young poet filled a paper cup with water in his room at the end of the corridor of the halfway house. He locked the door. It was Friday, October 28, one o’clock in the afternoon.
He swallowed several capsules of two powerful barbiturates, secobarbital and amobarbital, enough to kill himself three times over.
He stepped into the closet and placed a blue blanket on the floor. He closed the closet door and lay down on his right side, making himself as comfortable as possible on the blanket, his right hand under his head. In his left hand he held a small stuffed panda bear.
He closed his eyes and let the drugs do their stuff.
He went spinning off into oblivion.
His body was discovered the next day, Saturday.
On top of the chest of drawers were several poems he had written throughout his teenage years, one containing the line, ‘The only way anyone ever died was alone.’
With the poems was an essay he had written earlier that week entitled, ‘The Supernatural — Does it Exist?’
There was one other thing on top of the chest of drawers — a copy of a short story collection by William Saroyan titled ‘The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze.’
The book was face down, open near the end of the first story:
‘He accepted the thought of dying without pity for himself… Through the air on the flying trapeze, his mind hummed. Amusing it was, astoundingly funny. A trapeze to God, or to nothing, a flying trapeze to some sort of eternity; he prayed for strength to make the flight with grace.’
The coroner put the time death at three o’clock on Friday afternoon. The young poet was nineteen.
The Supernatural: Does It Exist?
Does the supernatural exist? To begin with, the word supernatural suggests a concept that is basically unsound: the idea that anything which we perceive could be more or less than “natural”: that anything in existence could be other than natural is obviously a pointless proposition. What we term natural is nothing but the whole of existence: the only context for anything that manifests itself, through whatever set of dynamics.
We are natural beings and anything that our senses perceive or that our feelings and thinking can relate itself to can only be also natural. It is an old and common mistake to blame our own inability to supply an explanation for something on some imagined area of reality where that explanation is withheld and something exists only “in itself.” Such a vacuum of unreality has nothing to do with a rational perspective.
There is no “other side” to reality but madness or nothingness. There is also an almost limitless amount of the human experience that remains unexplained and unresolved. What some call the supernatural shouldn’t be allowed to suggest to us “another reality” colliding with “our own.” The so-called supernatural should only remind us of how much we still have left to discover about the internal dynamic and the rational meaning of all things.