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Julia Origo: Portrait of E. & Observations

Julia Origo

(1965 – 2005)


Portrait of E.

The short and desperate life of E.

(the girl nobody noticed on November 4th 1990)

rubbing shoulders, smiling dreamily,

with a thought bubble above her head saying:

“I said I would NOT tear up”.

E. tied a ligature around her neck,

strangled herself in a similar fashion

as many times before.

Although on suicide watch,

in the short time she was unobserved

she did ENOUGH to starve herself of oxygen,

trigger brain damage.

In a vegetative state,

transferred to hospital,

she would not recover

A nightmare of guilt to follow.

A decision to switch her off

life support was made seven days later.


justifies the means.

(Suicide is the act of deliberately killing oneself. Risk factors for suicide include mental disorder, such as depression, personality disorder, alcohol dependence, or schizophrenia, and some physical illnesses, such as neurological disorders, cancer, and HIV infection. There are effective strategies and interventions for the prevention of suicide.)

(from: Escape, 1991)


Thoughts and observations on man and nature:

my mental temperament is highly developed,

if you were a gentleman you’d offer me a ride

and hear the satisfaction in my voice,

maybe I would blush, every now and then,

maybe not,

maybe I’ll write a poem.


(From: Transfusion, 1987)


Julia Origo poetry

kempis poetry magazine

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