By Katie Marshall

We all know that the line between pain and pleasure is non-existent. They are response signals that are activated from the same part of the brain – so the symptoms overlap and the impact seems the same. You know that your friend is about to fall in love with someone as soon as they tell you “I can’t stop thinking about how much I hate them!” We can be backwards beings, but we mean well.

Doc Luben’s poem, “14 Lines From Love Letters Or Suicide Notes” proves that two of the strongest feelings a human can feel – suicide and love – are just as closely related. This poem can be digested in one of two ways: as either a suicide note to a loved one, or a love letter to a new love. It is beautiful, poignant, and powerful both ways.

At one point, when recalling a memory with his grandmother, Doc says, “I cannot imagine how we forgive ourselves for all of the things we didn’t say until it was too late.” Later, he asks, “How do we forgive ourselves for all the things we did not become?” Both of these thoughts stick with me, haunting me the way Doc says he haunts his own apartment, in either a love letter or a suicide note, or both.

Read his poem here, or watch it below.

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