HOW TO SET YOURSELF ON FIRE

step one
look in the mirror
you owe it to yourself
to have one more conversation with the person who knows you best
we have this inability to truly move on from anything
without saying goodbye

goodbye

*note: when setting one’s self one fire,
i suggest you make an itemized list
of the necessary items
these things take preparation

1 costco-sized bottle of lighter fluid
1 lighter, any brand, may supplement matches for classic effect

in addition to these two quintessential items
1 should make any necessary preparations
to make sure others do not get burned

step two
if you are seriously dedicated to setting yourself on fire
buy a notebook in whatever color you prefer
locate a pen and

make a list of pros and cons
i.e.
pro: dramatic, incendiary death at a time and place of your choice
con: serious burns, death (debatably a pro or con), this is an irreversible decision

it’s just the responsible thing to do to discuss this with your friends and family in vivid detail

note: sometimes we burn in pairs, holding hands, as the world watches

step three
relocate pen and pad
and write a letter to everyone you care to inform of your decision
there are several sources in written and digital form to assist you
with proper letter writing format
essentially you can decide whether it should be formatted as a business or personal letter
tell your mother you love her
tell your brothers and sisters you’ll miss them
tell your stepfather fuck off
tell your ex-lovers it’s all their fault
tell yourself “i’ll go to heaven
or i’ll just be dirt in the ground
or i’ll be reborn as a phoenix
or i’ve accepted the fact i will go to hell”
i can’t tell you which is the truth
but it’s still worth considering
tell everyone you care to tell
you’ll be setting yourself on fire

step four
dress for the occasion
the tricky part is
if you wear your favorite band shirt
it will get ruined
and that band may get the impression they were involved in this decision
when you and i both know never hearing them again was on your cons list

note: before moving forward, it is important to consider who will be the one to sweep up your ashes.

step five
drench yourself in lighter fluid
it is more difficult than you would think to do this by yourself
it will be cold
do not be conservative with the fluid
you only get one chance to do this right

note: as i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil

step six
i suggest counting your final breaths
you can countdown from 10 or 3
essentially it’s up to you, any number is okay
but i do suggest you do this
these are the last breaths you’ll ever breathe
make them count
breathe slow
close your eyes
escape from reality for a second
trust me though
these breaths are worth counting

step seven
click the lighter

step eight
your final breath

step nine
the last thing you’ll ever see

step ten

step ten
touch the flame to the fluid
set
yourself
on fire
you will burn until you burn out
but first you will have a short time
to relish in how it feels
to live in one thousand degree celsius temperatures
eighteen hundred thirty degrees fahrenheit
you will burn
and you will be missed
no longer engulfed in reality
you will burn and burn
ashes to ashes
dust to dust
flight 11 to l.a.x.
first degree
second degree
third degree
murder
burns
like wordstogether
bones’ dust
splayed across the earth
charred debris
in an urn
you will burn
until you burn out
you will be missed.

COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2012

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44 thoughts on “HOW TO SET YOURSELF ON FIRE

  1. Such an interesting theme in this poem. It makes one wonder why anyone would want to set themselves on fire in the first place… It has such a nice flow to it. It’s definitely very gripping.

    • Thanks, Susan! Most of the time I write my poems on the fly and let them be but this one took a lot of reworking, so I appreciate the kind words.

  2. what i like best in this poem is this line: “note: sometimes we burn in pairs, holding hands, as the world watches”

  3. Umm–wow! Powerful imagery for a gripping subject. There is more than one way to burn. I’m liking that this poem reminds me of Bradbury and Bradbury makes me happy even when he deals with fiery issues soooo–I really enjoyed reading this.

  4. Excellent words…entertaining…acutely insightful…ridiculously profound way of saying life is worth living…if not for any other reason but to see what the crazy (and I mean crazy in the the most flattering way) poet comes up with next.

  5. Pingback: COMING SOON | FLASHLIGHT CITY BLUES

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