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Osoanon Nimuss

Absolutely Nothing

Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it 'Chops'
because that was the name of his dog
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and a gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo
And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed alot
And the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's
and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him in bed at night
And was always there to do it.

Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it 'Autumn'
because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new paint
And the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
And the girl around the corner laughed
when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed alot
And his father never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad
when he cried for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
And he called it 'Innocence: A Question'
because that was the question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his professor gave him an A
and a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle's Creed went
And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around the corner
wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her
but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at 3am he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly.

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem
And he called it 'Absolutely Nothing'
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen.

Submitted: Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Edited: Sunday, March 20, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Absolutely Nothing by Osoanon Nimuss )

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  • D.l. Aceves (5/1/2014 6:43:00 PM)

    A little Googling came up with the following:

    [“Brian Snow June 10,2013 at 10: 48 a.m.
    The poem was written by Dr. Ruem (Reum) in 1969 – used in several school districts peer education on the prevention of teen suicide – was used by Stephen Chbosky in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”. Used over 130 times in research articles – was not written by a teenage suicide as indicated, but very effective.
    This poem has changed many lives, mine included. I even lost loved ones to suicide.
    Thanks – I hope this helps.
    Dr. Brian G Snow ”
    Finally and after many detours we let the poem as it appears on the site Genel Hodges, written by the pen of Earl Reum until proven otherwise.
    The Yellow Paper (A Person, A Paper, A Promise)
    by Dr. Earl Reum] (Report) Reply

  • Rose James (10/20/2013 6:33:00 PM)

    Doesn't it make it all the more powerful how the poets name sounds like 'O so anonymous'? (Report) Reply

  • Barry Grandon (9/16/2013 2:34:00 PM)

    Today, I was looking through some old, forgotten items from my basement. In a box, I found a hand written copy of this poem that I have had since I was in high school, I graduated in 1968. My hand written copy gives credit to Jake Fisher as the author, so I don't really know who actually wrote it, but it has been in existence for at least 45 years. (Report) Reply

  • Mo Riah (6/20/2013 11:32:00 AM)

    By Osoanon Nimuss? At least credit Stephen Chbosky for writing it. (Report) Reply

  • Tiana Webb (5/7/2013 6:59:00 PM)

    Your poem is so hauntingly beautiful and sad. I loved reading and I love how, in each stanza, you write about a new stage in life. You have depicted the best and worst events a person goes through in their life. The ending is simple, but powerful. A lovely and powerful poem.
    Tiana xx (Report) Reply

Read all 10 comments »

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