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hancock suicide, chicago, dec 1994

So me and the guys were just taking a break from the construction on the hancock building. you know they’ve been doing construction work there, right? they put that big wall up around the block, the tall fence, and they’ve been doing remodeling stuff.

well, i had been working on some tile work and we were just walking around the building, me and three other guys, walking kind of like a square, in formation, sort of, and i’m at the
back and i stop and step back to check some of the grout work, so i just kind of lean back while standing still.

well, one of the guys says he heard it coming, like a big rush of air, like a whistling sound, but much heavier. i didn’t even get a chance to look up, though one of the other guys did and saw it coming a split second before it happened.

and the next thing i knew there was this loud cracking sound and i felt all of this stuff hit me, like wet concrete thrown at me, but i didn’t know what the hell it was.

and i opened my eyes and looked down and i was just completely covered in blood and there was just this heap of mass right in front of me. it took a while for me to realize that a woman jumped. she hit the fence, her head and spinal cord were still stuck on the fence and the rest of her was just this red pile right in front of me.

the police had to take all of my clothes. every inch.

they say she broke through the glass at the fiftieth floor, i don’t know how, that glass is supposed to be bullet proof or something.

and the one thing i noticed was that she covered her head with panty hose, in an effort to keep her face together. funny, she was so willing to die, but she wanted to be kept in tact.

i know i won’t hear about this on the news, they try to downplay suicides, but other violence is fine for them. and they say she was handicapped, but then how badly, and how did she get the strength to break the window and throw herself out of the john hancock building? she must have really wanted to die.

it really hasn’t sunk in quite yet, seeing her fall apart in front of me like that. i don’t think i’m ready to think about it yet.




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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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