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For Fred

 June 20, 2018

What happens to black boys when they commit suicide?
when the thought of not being able to stand it any longer
creeps into their head and
when life has become too great a burden to bear and
when they begin to make a plan to relieve their suffering…

Who do they tell?
when the world turns their suffering away or
doesn’t recognize it packaged in this way and
when trauma threatens to drown them
because they never learned to swim…

How do they cope?
when they’ve poured out enough Hennessey
for other black boys who will live forever and
popped enough pills to try to forget them…
because prescriptions and therapy are an elusive myth,
mostly to them…

Where do they go?
when schools cut guidance counselors and
social workers before security guards and
teachers who seek to close achievement gaps,
with white savior complexes and…
…and everyone forgets to ask

“How are you?”
“Are you ok?”
“Do you want to talk?”
What happens to black boys when they commit suicide?
What happens to their sister?
What happens to their father?
What happens to their mother?
What happens to their brother?

He was beaming from ear to ear. About a girl and about the
direction his life was headed. He was excited to celebrate his 22nd

I got the phone call and dropped to the ground. My body had a
reaction that I couldn’t even control. I heard my sister say Fred’s
dead. And I screamed. Being so far away I felt powerless to do

I found out that you had, had a twitter war with Honey something.
She was cruel and callous she probably didn’t know how much that
could affect you. Your tweets had turned suicidal and no one called
me or my sister or Ruben. All of us were doing other things. I
wondered who called your mom, dad, and sister.

Someone found you already gone in your car. With a shot gun in
one hand. I don’t even want to think about the scene that they saw.

I read your tweets afterward and it broke my heart. I talked to my
sister as they wheeled your body bag out.

And drank tequila

I found out that you had done molly which can cause very bad

I talked to him three days before… He was happy. He had a lot of
things in the works and was progressing in his career.



“The day before my brother died he was the happiest I’d ever seen him. Everything seemed to be finally falling into place for him. When my sister called me hysterical to say that he had committed suicide I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what had gone so horribly wrong. The fact is that it wasn’t just one thing, there was years of untreated trauma. That trauma developed into depression and anxiety that also went untreated. This work is so incredibly important for Fred and many other young men.” ~Lyn Patterson

Lyn Patterson is a poet originally from Seattle, Washington. She has lived all over the east coast and currently travels while teaching online courses to aspiring teachers. She is inspired by poetry because of the healing and reflection it provides both author and reader. You can find her on Instagram @poetryntings.

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