Everything Must Burn

(CW: suicidal ideation. And I am ok. Wrote this a decade ago.)


I want to run my car off a cliff 

into someone else’s skin.

I want to run away as far as I can 

and find a new sin

to pin the pictures in

my mind upon;

I will clean out the closet and

sell all my skeletons.


Everything must go.

Everything must burn.


The hammering in my head

has my tongue tied to the steeple.

I cannot stammer out a prayer;

I say fuck and it sounds feeble.

I would crucify again

the creator of all this bullshit,

but as much as I want to spit and

take an army up the beanstalk,

to make a bloody mess of the heavens,

I simply cannot:


It’s hard enough to wake each day

without a Red Bull and Clonazepam,

and it hurts enough just to live.

I have but one skin

and I cannot find another.

I feel it burning atop my insides

and I’m so sorry if it must go.


Everything must go.

Everything must burn.


I am pouring kerosene on

every corner in my mind,

and I do it methodically like an

arsonist bent on escape

or a serial killer trying to

right all the wrongs

in all the wrong ways.

And I know it’s too late

for a fairy tale ending but

at least we’ll get fireworks

and a great big bang.


I’m sorry if it stains.


But everything must go.

Everything must burn.

Published by R.L. Stollar

R.L. Stollar is a child liberation theologian and an advocate for children and abuse survivors. The author of an upcoming book on child liberation theology, The Kingdom of Children, Ryan has an M.H.S. in Child Protection from Nova Southeastern University and an M.A. in Eastern Classics from St. John’s College.

4 thoughts on “Everything Must Burn

  1. R.L.: I don’t know you well (as in, not at all beyond a fair number of blog posts you’ve written over the years), but you are sounding suicidal to me. I have no idea what may have spurred you to begin thinking and feeling as you are, but you are scaring me . . . in your behalf.

    Should you/can you check yourself into a mental hospital?

    Someone who knows Mr. Stollar better than I do–and who may actually live somewhere in his general vicinity: Can you get him help?

    1. Hey John. Thanks so much for the concern. I wrote this about ten years ago and was definitely suicidal at the time. I am ok now, though. I’ve done lots of therapy in the last ten years and am on a good medication regimen! I still have bad days but I am in a safe space both physically and mentally now. Just was editing this piece today and felt like sharing. Thanks again. ❤️

      1. Whew! Okay! Good. Thanks. I was very concerned.

        Thought: Perhaps, when you re-post, you could add a comment about when you first posted and, even (perhaps), what “inspired” you to re-post.

        I knew you had HAD issues in the past. But if you were suddenly having a breakdown in the present . . .

        !!!

        (I have dealt with one close relative who has struggled with bi-polar [used to be called “schizophrenic”] episodes for going on 40 years. It is scary stuff when someone goes into a bad place. . . . I found myself, as a young man, having to check her into a mental hospital because I really was concerned for her physical safety. . . . Very, very disturbing.)

        Again, thanks for replying.

      2. That’s a good idea. I added a disclaimer when I shared it on Facebook; should’ve done that on here, too. Will add that. Sorry to cause you concern! But again, thanks for being concerned and checking in. Much appreciated.

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