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I was a seventeen year old senior in a coed, catholic high school. Our gym classes however were still all boys and all girls. My senior year we had gym every other day and music every other day in the same time slot. The music classes, therefore, were also all boys or all girls.
She was a twenty-eight year old nun in her first teaching assignment. She was in way over her head. She was about five-foot-four and weighed practically nothing. The nuns in our school no longer wore habits and I remember thinking it was a good thing because she would probably fly away like Sally Fields. If you don’t know what I mean by that then you are too young to be reading my story.
The music class was a mad house. She could not control a room of twenty some boys bound and determined to make her life hell. I mean, music class? Really?
We never did the homework assigned; never answered her questions seriously; never believed her threats at discipline; wouldn’t accept the demerits she tried to hand out; and basically goofed off for the hour that was supposed to be dedicated to learning about music.
For some reason, she seemed too proud or too green or too determined to go to the principal or another teacher for help; and, sensing that, we knew we could get away with our childish behavior and so we did.
One day, a handful of us “got in trouble” and she said she wanted to talk to us after class. I was the only one that actually stayed. She tried to lecture me on my bad behavior but I guess my smirk was evidence it was not sinking in. Then, she started to cry, and for the first time I saw her as a person.
“What am I doing,” she cried. "I can’t do this. I am trying; I am really trying, but I am not cut out for this. Why are you boys so mean and hateful?”
I stood up in front of her not knowing what to do or what to say. I felt like a real jerk. I was a real jerk.
Tears poured down her face, which I finally recognized as being a pretty face. She bowed her head and just sobbed. In my awkward seventeen year old manner, I slowly opened my arms and allowed her to lean into me. And I hugged her while she wept.
At seventeen, I was no ladies’ man, and this crying nun was the first woman I had ever held so close to me. I could feel her breasts pressed against me; the heat emitting from her body; and, the delicate nature of her womanly form in my arms. I knew then that I was destined to go straight to hell for the thoughts that were going through my head and the feelings I felt between my legs.
She pulled away and whispered, “I am so sorry, I should not have done that. You may go.”
I simply said, “You know, you are doing fine, you just have a class of a bunch of butt holes”, and walked out of the room. It was that night that she started coming to see me in my dreams. To hell I go, for sure.
I wish I could tell you I had the moxie and the influence to whip that class into shape, but I did not. The mad house continued with one less student joining in the fun. I tried my best to behave, answer her questions, pay attention and feign interest in the topic of the day – but I was just one in a sea of monsters. I stayed after class and after school a few times to talk with her, ask her how she was doing, and see if I could help in any way. She was actually starting to get the hang of things and was able to focus on the few classes that were willing to learn.
At the end of the school year, I was one of the few students who had not enrolled in a college for the coming year. Because I was one of the better students, it caused a little bit of a fuss and a number of teachers talked to me about the huge mistake I was making taking some time off before going to college. It seems they were all convinced that if I did not start into college in the fall, I was doomed to never go to college. I challenged them by saying what they were really worried about was their statistics of percentage of students who went on to further their education.
During the last day of classes, the music teacher asked me to stay after class. It appears, it was her turn to try to talk some sense into me.
“So, I hear you are not going to college,” she said.
“No, I’m going to college … some day, just not this fall.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know yet. Take some time off. Work. Nothing. I don’t know. Why is it so important to everyone? When the time is right, I’ll go to college.”
“They just care about you.”
“Bull loney,” I said, only it was another word.
She smiled at me. I had been dreaming about her now for six months. I changed the topic.
“Have you ever kissed a boy?”
She laughed, “You know, I grew up the same as every girl in this high school. I did have boyfriends.”
“Yeah, but have you ever kissed a boy,” I challenged.
“No. Not the way you mean.”
“Do you ever wonder what it would be like?”
“No. Never,” she lied.
“If I told you I will register for college if you kiss me, will you?”
“No. I believe you when you say you just need some time off. I think that is a good idea.”
Then she walked up close to me and stopped a heartbeat away. Suddenly, she reached down between my legs, grabbed the crouch of my pants and said, “Just don’t let this thing get you in trouble.”
She abruptly turned and walked out of the classroom while I tried to catch my breath.
During the graduation ceremony I saw her sitting with the other teachers and shared a private smile with her while walking back to my seat after being handed my diploma. I would never see her again … outside of my dreams.
I often think about my high school music teacher and my ticket straight to hell. Unfortunately, I never heeded her advice. That body part of mine she grabbed ahold of for a fleeting second those many years ago, has gotten me in trouble time and time again.
sometimes i talk to myself,
my mind is racing,
i dont know what to do...
so hard to explain.
depression isn't a stage
or a faze some kids go through
it shatters you...
i saw it all.
she cried silent in her bed,
blood stains covered her favorite jeans,
her every shirt,
long sleeve ofcourse...
she suffered through it all with few people to call friend
and more to call enemy
even more to say where quite dissappointed....
her first name in school,
not started by a bully
or a mean rival,
but by her sister,
and it echoed through her soul,
repeating in her mind... over and over again,
like the ripples of still water
when a pebble is dropped
flash frozen in time
over and over again...
It was the first name they gave her,
millions where created over the years,
some repeating again, just as the first had..
gothic they called her,
emo, fat, ugly....worse things.
but in her mind, things where worse.
everything was repeating,
over and over again,
finally she believed it.
she asked for help, from everyone
tried to explain to parents she wasnt well,
got called a psycho for asking to see a theripist,
not from a teacher,
not from a class mate,
but from her own father, who wouldn't, couldn't,
believe there could possibly be a thing wrong....
finally, crying, she confessed her bloody secret to a teacher.
rather then giving her time,
she is sent back to class crying her eyes out, as if she wherent going through enough...
she is sent to the principals office a few minutes later, after breaking down in class...
the princlipal says she needs help,
sends her and her dad for a risk evaluation,
her dads crying as she shows him her cuts...
they walk into a hospital room,
it smells of chemicals and hand sanitizer,
the lady at the desk gives her a smile.
then she goes into a room with a lady,
her cheeks are sunken in and shes wearing way too much makeup,
the girl is gaging on her perfume,
and she looks really intimidating....
her dark brown hair looks dead and flat
even though its a bit wavy,
and she wears somewhat of a mocking frown.
asks her all these questions,
is mommy beating her?
is daddy raping her?
is she doing drugs?
is anyone beating her?
did anyone molest her?
oxcarbezapine, trazadone, citalipran, clinazapam, colonipan,
valium, lithium, more.......
and thats what they gave her,
some numbed the pain
some brought it out
tearing through her organs,
she became an addict by the time she was fourteen....
over dose after over dose
some for pleasure
some for pain,
gashes on her legs getting deeper,
this time she didnt tell a soul,
not even those she had come to call friends....
wakeup she screamed in her head over and over again
as she dropped weight like it was nothing....
you cant controll it she argued as things became worse.
at age fourteen she attempted suicide,
she didnt quite succeed.
the medication took away her aappitite....
she liked it
she hated her body
felt out of controll
found a new way to cope
as she shoved tooth brush after toothbrush down her throat
to keep her body from nuitrients...
as she whent weeks and weeks spitting food into napkins and making excuses
I ate at my friends house....
spoken as a whisper
heard like a sentance
echoing in her mind over and over again,
along with that word, all the words,
ugy, anoying, stupid, fake, worthless, nothing...
one bite she would say
rocking back and forth
craving nothing but food
her body racked with hunger pain
one bite and there she was again
over and over and over again
back to a toothbrush
this time she sees blood
she saw her ribs
she saw her bones,
it wasnt good enough,
she almost died, again....
choking on this deep dissappointment in herself,
gaging on everything they where pushing down her throat,
their words, and their insults, their criticism.... their drugs
all shoved down her throat like candy
and just as she was was trained to do she swallowed despite the bad taste
or the hurt
or the fact that at the rate she was going she would be dead soon...
and you know why?
because daddy yelled
and couldnt accept what was happening
not because he wanted to hurt her
but because it hurt him,
and she let him believe,
because she could take the hurt if it meant he didnt have too.
because mommy didnt want to sit in her room all day
practically having us raise ourselves,
she didnt mean to take anger, or frustration or hurt out on her daughter
she suffered everyday in her solitary confinement,
and from a young age she accepted her bedroom was the cage
her mother had created for herself.
because sister didnt want to effect her the way she did
she was just frustrated
fed up with the way things where
scared, she needed someone to take her cruelty
and to help heal her pain...
because people in school
who where so cruel
had to have learned from somewhere
and she wasnt going to play into their games,
and they knew she was an easy target
because she would never attack someone so weak
and she accepted her suffering was a sacrafice
to help all these people....
to help her dad,
every person who was beaten abused or hurt
and felt so weak at home they wanted to feel strong in the one safe place they had.
because depite the fact she had died inside,
and almost passed away on the out,
it was a saccrafice she was willing to make
so that no one else would have to feel that kind of pain,
and they all inflicted it and broke her down'untill there was nothing left but a shell
of somthing that could have been
and never had the chance
because she would take it and wouldnt strike back,
because sometimes "just taking it"
isnt so much about the weakness not to do anything
but about the strangth not to hurt others the way they hurt you...
as the PROPHETS of profits, WE lead and WE’re fair
while WE’re living the life of the poor BILLIONAIRE
– silver yachts, pearly castles, cash (plenty to spare) –
with the world on OUR backs... ah! the burdens WE bear!
being HAVES (not the have-nots) as nature decrees
means WE’re certainly the better (they’re vermin on sleaze).
if they pray for a lift in their dark fantasies,
WE just kick ’em downstairs, get ’em off of their knees.
yes, WE offer great jobs (much too busy OURSELVES!)
for maintaining the toilets, restacking the shelves,
and WE teach ’em to fear god and play with the elves,
thus dispelling ideas where the dark demon delves.
though they build mighty bridges, twin towers and more,
peddle pizzas and popcorn, sell guns door-to-door,
still they gotta have BOSSES to tell ’em the score
else WE’d never be needed, WE’d thrive nevermore.
when OUR profits are plunging, they do their part too
for they dine on the dole! yes, no hullabaloo!
soon OUR fortunes redouble, rebound and accrue –
since WE fare well without ’em, WE bid ’em adieu.
’stead of wishing for welfare and standing in queues
or parading with pickets (look! holes in their shoes!),
they’d be better off scabbing to save union dues
... while WE whistle and warble, they’re singing the blues.
whether heros or hoboes, like spiders and lice
they just crawl all around us in life’s paradise,
but WE’re patient, big hearted and oft sacrifice,
spewing charity, kindness (though each has its price).
if they’re beaten or punctured or suffer assault,
are unhealthy or crippled or walk with a halt,
or retarded or helpless, it’s all their own fault –
just like US they should worship the DOLLAR exalt!
protesters and loud mouths, you’ll find ’em aplenty
some older, some younger, the worst not yet twenty.
they’re shameless and brazen (unwashed, soiled and scenty)
impugning the prestige of brave COGNOSCENTI.
if they’ve got clashing colors (or shades in between)
or opposing beliefs in the hidden unseen,
well, WE’ll always exploit it, deflecting their spleen,
for with god on each side, would WE dare intervene?
WE promote many methods to keep ’em in chains –
daily rags and the tube spin OUR circus campaigns
“to pretend you’ve a voice”, an announcement explains,
“you can vote and decide on which ONE of US reigns”.
OUR policemen protect US, they stay on the ball
(they arrest ’em, no questions per law’s protocol,
and then jam ’em in jail with their backs to the wall) –
if you’ve lucre for lawyers there’s justice for all.
down the ROYAL road of justice WE march all alone
– WE condemn their defiance, set ways to atone –
since WE’re sinless, unsullied, WE cast the first stone
(while WE cloak REGAL fetor with eau de cologne).
politicians, bald bankers, grand idols galore,
attend meetings, fete banquets in which they explore
how to rid US of rodents (the weak and the poor) –
well, just round up the riff-raff, dispatch ’em to war!
ah! OUR wars are.... well, just...... just a thing of the past
........... and the present............... and future... WE sure make them last!
if they frown as they gaze (armageddon!) aghast,
then WE smile back with pleasure, OUR treasures amassed.
useless ranting and raving (in rags, when they’re clad),
leads to losing their teeth (my! their gums are... egad!).
WE’re unselfish, indulgent, WE’d never be mad
if they drowned in the sounds of themselves feeling sad.
as the paupers are princes in midnight’s domain,
they have pipe dreams to lose, certainly nothing to gain
if they’re hoping OUR fortunes will wither and wane –
for “WE’re here by god’s will” as WE often explain.
yes, they wish to be US, with OUR wisdom and grace,
keeping up with ol’ CROESUS, maintaining the pace.
but perverseness or rancor? they’ll see not a trace –
for WE hold ’em at bay with a fist in the face.
WE’re la CRÈME de la CRÈME, yes! the proud UPPER CRUST,
and OUR clothes are the finest, OUR hair never mussed –
WE imbue ’em with piety, duty and trust
and they’re fed bread and water (if feed ’em WE must).
but they’re thieving, aggrieved, want a piece of OUR PIE
and request WE endure ’em, see EYE to black eye.
since they live in OUR land where OUR strict rules apply,
they must feast on the crumbs that may fall from the sky.
though OUR largesse and bounty WE don’t mean to flaunt,
yet the pittance WE pay ’em they surely can vaunt –
salty peanuts and pretzels (what more could they want?)
thereby keeping their kiddies so healthily gaunt.
yes, there’s room for the rabble (the back of the bus)
’cause WE treat ’em like equals, so what’s all the fuss?
all can rise to the top (yes! it’s always been thus),
to the suites in OUR penthouse (to sweep up and dust).
while OUR CHILDREN have tutors, the finest of schools
(being bred for the forefront, THEY’re nobody’s fools),
the ol’ school of hard knocks teaches: “follow the rules”,
building brawn ’stead of brains and broad backs strong as mules’.
and to keep ’em in line (to ensure WE prevail)
WE now monitor phone calls and read all their mail
(civil rights? what a notion! at best a detail!)
and if worse comes to worst...... well...... guantanamo jail!
WE’ve OUR quandaries and questions and headaches full blown
(like deciding design and decor of OUR thrones...
whether diamonds or rubies... to ivory WE’re prone) –
when WE deign to appease ’em, WE chuck ’em some bones.
now you know all OUR problems, OUR pains and travails,
– like preparing foreclosures, evictions and sales –
but WE’ve no need for worries or gnawed fingernails,
’cause WE’re sailing OUR yachts through tempestuous gales
(with them bailing OUR banks when OUR stock market fails)
sipping daiquiri sours, champagne, ginger ales...
You might wonder what happens during the course of the day with a profiler. I'm known as the watcher. Little insignificant things can make the difference in cracking a case. A subtle glance, a dilated pupil the tightening of a jaw. Let me take you back to yesterday so you will understand.
"Rick I need you to come in here." "Alright captain, what do you have for me?" "We have an Arson on our hands, Rodrigues is interviewing the family now." "What do we know about them captain?" "Husband and wife are separated, the daughter was living with the mom in the family home. Nothing left of the home, burnt to the ground." "Do we know where the fire started?" "Yes it looks like it started in the girls bedroom. Enough talking Rick lets pay attention to what's going on."
Captain Branson is an impatient man, he thinks this watcher stuff is a pile of bullshit. He's all about old fashioned police work. Still here I am detective first class with a pile of successes under my belt. So the upper brass have thrust me upon him. He tolerates me, in private he tells his buddy's I'm a lucky sh*t and one day my luck is going to run out.
I looked through the one way glass into the interrogation room. The dad was sitting furthest away. He is dressed impeccably dark blue suit, white shirt and a red tie with matching handkerchief. He also sports a hundred dollar haircut and speaks with controlled precision. While he speaks he looks at Rodriguez with a certain disdain. His arms are folded and he keep looking down at his watch.
The daughter is a contrast in opposites, unkept purple hair and wearing a black loose fitting dress. There are scratches on her arm that she is picking at. Several piercings adorn her lips nose and eyebrows. On her shoulder there is a broken heart tattoo that says Daddy's Girl.
The wife is a thirty something beauty with long blond hair. She is casual yet elegant, a natural look that has taken hours to achieve. She is on the opposite side of the table from her husband and somehow it does not seem far enough. As her husband speaks her left eye has a subtle twitch.
Rodriguez fidgets with the earbud as he asks the dad if he wants something to drink. The dad snaps back " let's just get this over with I have to get back to work." Rodriguez just smiles and asks the wife and daughter if he can get anything for them. The daughter continues to pick at her arm. The wife politely says "no thank you." "Well then we can get started." Rodriguez gets up opens the door and a large matronly officer enters. Rodriguez asks the daughter and mom to accompany her. The daugter rises and walks with a slow detached gait, her mom follows with a practiced elegance.
Rodriguez looks at the man and says, "let's start with what we know, we know the fire wasn't accidental. There was an accelerant used in your daugters room." The dad looked Rodriguez in the eye and said "so why are you talking to me? I don't even live there anymore." Rodriguez asks the dad where he was between nine and eleven that morning. The man quickly responds that he was working at the office with his assistant. Rodriguez asks if anyone else may have seen him that morning. He says not that he's aware of. Talking through the earbud I ask Rodriguez to end his questioning for now.
Captain Branson says, "we checked the Navigation on his BMW, it shows his vehicle didn't leave the parking lot till three this afternoon. Personally my money is on the crazy daughter, I checked and she started a fire a few years ago behind their neighbors shed." "Ok captain we'll start with her next. I'll be back in a minute I need a cup of coffee." I leave the room just as the dad leaves the interrogation room. Rodriguez motions for him to sit down. As he sits he crosses his legs and I notice he is wearing a new pair of shoes and there is a small white stain on his cuff. Once again I notice him looking at his watch. I walk by him to the coffee machine without him even giving me a glance.
Back in the interrogation room Rodriguez is sitting with the girl, she has yet to make eye contact with him. I tell Rodriguez to start the interview. He does the usual attempt at rapport building but it garnishes no warm and fuzzies. Enough of that he asks her where she was this morning. She says she was out behind the bleachers at school. He asks if anyone can verify her being there. She says no, she was by her self. He asks about the fire behind the neighbors shed. She says "it looks like you have already made up your mind. Why don't you just lock me up?" This is the first time she looks him in the eye. Rodriguez says he just wants to get to the truth. "The truth? No one cares about the truth, why would I burn down my own room?" She looks defiant and hurt, the look of someone who has been accused of many things. I tell Rodrigues enough for now. The captain says "what? Is that it?" "Relax Captain she's not your girl. Rodriguez bring the wife in."
The wife looks a lot more relaxed without the husband in the room. She sits back easily in the chair with her legs crossed gracefully at the ankles. She pulls out a lighter and cigarette and asks if it is okay if she smokes. Rodriguez apologizes and says there is no smoking on the premises. She says "that's okay I'm trying to quit." She tells him she started again after the separation. Rodriguez asks her who she thinks started the fire. She says she has no idea but she can't imagine who would want to burn down their home. She loses her composure for a moment and starts to cry. She looks up at him with her big blue eyes filled with tears. Rodriguez passes her a tissue and asks if she is okay to continue. She says sure she just needs a moment to compose herself. He asks her to tell him about her husband.
OUR BABY GIRL TURNS 21
ON 1ST JULY 1990~ THE ANGELS DID SOMETHING ALMIGHTY
FROM HEAVEN THEY SENT US OUR LIFE-LONG DESIRE-A PRECIOUS DAUGHTER TO LOVE AND ADMIRE.
TRUE TO YOUR NATURE YOU ARRIVED WITHOUT FUSS OR PAIN--THE FIRST TIME OUR EYES MET WE KNEW OUR LIVES WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME
AS A BABY AND TODDLER YOU MADE US SO PROUD
YOUR VERY LONG HAIR, GREEN EYES AND SMILE-
ALL THOSE GOOD LOOKS MADE YOU STAND OUT IN A CROWD
YOU STARTED TALKING EARLY WITH MANY VOICEPRINTS
YOUR CHARM AND GOOD LOOKS HAVE NOT STOPPED SINCE
YOU LOVED YOUR DOLLS AND PRAMS-- DREAMT OF BEING A “SINGER”
AND VERY QUICKLY LEARNED HOW TO WRAP YOUR DAD AROUND YOUR LITTLE FINGER
YOUR BIG BROTHER DEVON--BEST FRIEND AND PROTECTER
MOST OF THE TIME YOU GOT ON PERFECTLY TOGETHER
FROM AN EARLY AGE YOU SHOWED YOUR LOVE OF SWIMMING
AGE TWO AND A HALF YOU WERE ABLE AND WILLING
TO SWIM UNDER WATER AND DO MANY LENGTHS
THIS WAS CLEARLY ONE OF YOUR SPORTING STRENGTHS
AT AGE THREE YOU COULD BARELY WAIT TO START PLAYSCHOOL
“MISS INDEPENDENCE”, WAS YOUR GENERAL RULE
THE SLIDE AND JUNGLE GYM WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SPOTS
AND TO OUR HORROR YOU WOULD CLIMB RIGHT TO THE TOP!
AT AROUND THIS TIME, YOUR FIRST BOYFRIEND YOU MET-
HE LIVED NEXT DOOR, AND HIS NAME WAS BRETT
SOON IT WAS TIME FOR PRE-SCHOOL
YOU LOVED YOUR TEACHER--YOUR NEW FRIENDS WERE COOL
‘SPRING BONNETS’ AND THE END OF YEAR SCHOOL PLAYS
THE TEDDY BEAR CLASS GAVE YOU SOME REAL SPECIAL DAYS
NEXT WAS ‘BIG SCHOOL’ AND YOUR FIRST CLASS
WE WERE SERIOUSLY ANXIOUS BUT FOR YOU JUST ANOTHER ‘MISS INDEPENDENCE’ TASK
LETTERLAND, MATHS AND LEARNING TO READ
YOU EXCELLED AT ALL THAT WITH INCREDIBLE SPEED
YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS CONTINUED THROUGH GRADES 2, 3 AND FOUR
YOUR PLACE IN THE SWIMMING TEAM HELPED YOUR SCHOOL WIN MORE
OUR MOVE TO AUSTRALIA… SAD FAREWELLS TO YOUR FRIENDS AND YOUR PETS
BUT, GREAT EXCITEMENT YOU FELT AT ADVENTURES TO BE MET
A NEW SCHOOL--“METHODIST LADIES COLLEGE”
NEW FRIENDS--JUMPING A GRADE-- MET WITH SUCH POSITIVE COURAGE
YOU MADE US SO PROUD IN THE WAY YOU ADAPTED
MRS. WILLIAMSON SAID YOU WERE THEIR NEW CLASS ‘ASSETT’
THE ‘MR BEE’ SPELLING AWARD AND MANY MERITS LATER
WE ALL GOT HOMESICK-- BUT YOUR POSITIVE NATURE DID NOT WAVER
THE DECISION WE MADE TO RETURN TO CAPE TOWN
CAUSED YOU HEARTBROCKEN TEARS AND A PERMANENT FROWN
ONCE AGAIN A SAD FAREWELL TO YOUR NEW FOUND FRIENDS
RETURNING TO S.A. FOR OLD ONES TO MAKE AMMENDS
IT WASN’T VERY LONG THAT YOU PICKED UP WHERE YOU LEFT OFF AT ALL
ADDED TO YOUR TALENTS WERE NOW TEAM HOCKEY AND NETBALL
AS YOU APPROACHED THE FIRST OF YOUR TEEN YEARS
WITH YOUR LOOKS AND CHARM, INEVITABLY THE BOYFRIENDS WOULD APPEAR
SHOPPING, MOVIES AND MANY PARTY SLEEP-OVERS
CHOOSING TRUE FRIENDS AND DUMPING THE LOSERS
DANCE SHOWS AND DANCING EXAMS… YOU EXCELLED AT HIP- HOP
FUN AND OF COURSE THE DESIRE TO SHOP
THE END OF JUNIOR SCHOOL-- THE FINAL ASSEMBLY—AWARDS
TROPHIES FOR SPORTSMANSHIP AND YOUR S.R.C. PRIZE GOT MANY APPLAUDS
SAD FEELINGS AT LEAVING YOUR OLD SCHOOL BEHIND
EXCITEMENT AT STARTING HIGH SCHOOL WOULD SOON COME TO MIND
NO PROBLEM TO YOU, IT WAS ALL JUST A BREEZE
AS YEAR BY YEAR YOU CONTINUED TO ACHIEVE
SWIMMING AND ‘A’ TEAM HOCKY MATCHES ON THE ASTRO TURF
YOU EVEN STARTED TO LEARN HOW TO SURF
FRIDAY AFTERNOON CHRISTIAN MEETINGS AND EVENING CHURCH YOUTH
WE WERE SO HAPPY YOU FOUND GOD AND HIS TRUTH
THE REST OF HIGH SCHOOL PASSED IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE WHILE
YOUR LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS REMAINED EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH
YOUR ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS WERE ASTOUNDING
COPING WITH TOUGH SUBJECTS LIKE MATHS, SCIENCE AND ACCOUNTING
IN HOCKEY AND SWIMMING YOU MADE THE TOP TEAMS
NO SURPRISE AT ALL THAT SWIMMING COACHES MOVED IN ON THE SCENE.
THEY CULTIVATED YOUR TALENTS FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
EVERY YOUR NIGHT YOUR PASSION SAW YOU DOING MANY LENGTHS
WEEKENDS OF GALA’S AND NATIONAL SWIMMING
S.A.SHORT COURSE, YOUR P.B’S, AND FAIR SHARE OF WINNING
TOGETHER WE CELEBRATED YOUR PLACE IN W.P. SCHOOL CHAMPS THAT YEAR
SO PROUD OF OUR BEAUTIFUL SWIMMER ALWAYS AHEAD OF HER PEERS
FIRST YEAR AT UNIVERSITY YOU BECAME SO INDEPENDENT
STARTING YOUR STUDIES AS A B.Sc. STUDENT
IT WAS ALSO THE YEAR YOU LEARNED TO DRIVE
GOT YOUR LICENSE—DAD SPOILT YOU—NEW CAR—RESPLENDENT
YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN THE LORD STILL REMAINS FIRM
AS YOU WALK AND GROW SPIRITUALLY DAILY WITH HIM
SO MUCH HAS CHANGED, AND YET SOME THINGS REMAIN
YOU BEAUTY AND TALENTS SO EASILY MAINTAINED
YOUR LOVE OF SWIMMING AND OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS IN WATER
YOU KNOW WE WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR NO. 1 SUPPORTERS
AND NOW YOU ARE 21, SWEETHEART
YOUR WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF YOU-- TODAY IS JUST THE START
IT SEEMS LIKE JUST YESTERDAY THAT YOU WERE BORN—
OUR DAUGHTER~LOVES BRIGHT SHINING LIGHT~ WE ADORE
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED IN EVERY WAY
WISHING YOU GOD’S RICHEST BLESSINGS ON YOUR SPECIAL DAY
HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY TO OUR BABY GIRL
TO HAVE YOU AS A DAUGHTER HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE
-YOU HAVE AND ALWAYS WILL BE OUR MOST BEAUTIFUL TREASURE-
(FOOTNOTE: OUR DAUGHTER WILL BE 23 THIS YEAR, HAS COMPLETED HER BSc. AND HONOURS DEGREE’S IN PHYSIOLOGY AND GENETICS AND NOW DOING HER MASTERS DEGREE IN EXERCISE SCIENCE. SHE IS ALSO A PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETE—DOING SWIMMING, CYCLING AND RUNNING AS ONE DISCLIPLINE)
Sometimes I have the courage to think of the things that made me what I am today,
My memory takes me back to terrible things far away far off into my bitter past,
My mind like a maze of dirty black alleys that smell of waste, loss and disgust,
The losses, the drink ripped away, not happy until it was all gone respect as well.
Invisible thinks of a garden where roses clustered with lilies scent on the breeze,
Bees found stores of honey in the petals of a thousand and one different flowers,
Lovers walked hand in hand along its winding path a beautiful dream of the man,
Bright with the embroidery of nature where children played in new myrtle flowers,
As Invisible thinks of this garden it is neglected but flowers can grow with weeds,
It could put a smile upon his face, a face that had never known any joy recently,
He hopes a gardener can covert this garden get rid of ruined waste, back into Eden,
Tending all the beautiful flowers that spring up with the weeds and smell gladness.
If he helped the gardener in his quest a hand might hold his and guide him through,
Maybe a hand would go around his waist to support him as well as guide his hand,
Dare he wish that the guiding hand and the support would be his angel from heaven,
A dear person to help him clear his garden and walk down the winding path as lovers.
An angel that would smile at him maybe hold his hand and squeeze it so very gently,
Would the angel talk to him and tell him that one day they would be together again,
Her beautiful grace shining warmly as she looks up to him, to her he is her hero,
Not a drunken mess that cannot cope, not a dirty vagrant, but her knight her love.
The tenderness of this beautiful scene in his poisoned mind became real he smiled,
He grinned as she sat down next to him as close a she could get then wriggled closer,
Warmth from her body not only warmed him but gave hope this what he has waited for,
She whispered sweetly she loved him and would be waiting for him and they kissed.
Invisible woke with a start and was she not by his side, was she ever with him,
A dream another heart wrenching let down and how could he have dreamed the dream,
It was so real he still felt the warmth, the impression of her hand holding his,
But it must have been a dream his own mind conspired to deliver the hardest blow.
Lost in a grief so deep, his loneliness complete he talks to Sam his imaginary friend.
These days get worse Sam they really do please help me,
I need to change but I need my drink more what can I do,
But I need to change so desperately Sam can you help?
My world has cracked and I've fallen into the crack,
But what I don't understand Sam that I was once good,
If I had any courage Sam I would be laying in my coffin,
Why does life drag you along with it I don't want to go,
Just a bit of icing on my cake Sam it is freezing cold,
Did you know this is where I was brought up my friend,
Did you know that most of the people that walk past I knew,
Sam! I know many of there people but they don't know me,
Why do they all walk past I wish somebody would help,
Maybe when I have drunk more cider I might feel better Sam,
I can remember being happy but not what being happy is like,
As Invisible sits drinking shoppers give him a wide berth and they look at him with hate.
These people Sam they look at me as if I have hurt them,
The people they are not our sort of people they hate me,
Has the world changed like I have but in opposite ways,
My life is full of sorrow drunkenness and dreams Sam,
Old sorrows wont go away new sorrows should take over,
So we have to face both the old and the new that's bad,
At night I try to close my drunken eyes it all returns,
Sam is that the same as you can you close your eyes,
Can you remember the valleys Sam the ones we used to play,
When we ran about all day Sam in the sun rolling in grass,
The old stream that twisted and turned, it had lost its way,
Floating lolly sticks watching them bounce away on ripples,
Buying bangers in November and throwing them into the water,
What I wouldn't do to go back for just a couple of hours Sam,
Just to feel the innocence and try to bring it back to now,
To enjoy what there is to enjoy and maybe get better Sam,
But that will never happen Sam we are lost on an island,
A well populated island but an island all the same Sam,
People are not like ships they don't bother to rescue people,
They just walk around or just walk away all the nice ones gone,
I remember my school Sam it's now been knocked down and left,
It has all gone, all gone no primroses in spring or bluebells,
Do you remember Sam the bluebells used to nod in the wind,
But they have all been built on, whats the use in talking,
Nothing changes from bad to good Sam remember that, eh Sam,
Still drinking his cider tears well into his eyes his nose runs and begins to quietly
to sob. He sits on the shopping parade seat, shaking as he sobs. His throat has a lump
in it so he stops talking to Sam. Invisible sinks his wet face into his overcoat
hides his misery from the people that walk past he just sat there lost and confused. His
greatest sadness an angel paid a visit to the maze of dirty black alleys that smell of waste,
loss and disgust,
Well, GI Jack is welcome back, he left his legs in 'Nam.
He wakes at night in sweat and fright, then drinks another dram.
He doesn't know quite where to go, so seeks his uncle, Sam.
One can't ignore - his ma was poor, and life was sometimes cruel,
yet Jack was brave and well behaved and surely no one's fool
so joined the ranks that man the tanks, as soon as he left school
He learned to kill our foes at will (ordained a sacred rite),
and packed his bag and wrapped his flag and went away to fight.
And yes, the tide was on our side (for, clearly, might makes right)
Through tangled days in jungles' maze, he sought the enemy
behind the trees where, ill at ease, he fought the Yellow sea -
Upon the waves of sunken graves he sailed a killing Spree
The napalm dropped and cooked the crops, burnt huts along the way
and tanks, with ease, mowed down the trees and villages of clay.
Yes, turret guns were loads of fun with roaring roundelays
While on the hunt with other grunts, he burned some babes alive
and wondered why frail things must die, while evil's phantoms thrive -
When folly ends, he'll make amends if only he'll survive
With booby traps (sticks dipped in crap)... yes, Charlie fought unfair.
He hid in holes like snakes and voles and snuck up everywhere
and like a mite beneath the night, caught Jackie unaware
At battle's end, Jack sought his friends - their souls were washed away
and only he and destiny were left in disarray -
With bed and pan, just half a man, the man of yesterday
When Jackie woke, beyond the smoke, his frame no longer whole,
he found instead a medalled thread, some wraps to hide the hole,
and realized another prize: a chair on wheels to roll
Across his chest (you've surely guessed) his medals shone, arrayed.
His head felt light, as well it might, at Victory Day Parade
for when he rolled, while others strolled, his boots no longer weighed
Well, Jack stayed home (no roads to Rome) to start his life anew
receiving dole (that took its toll) which fell in Sam's purview,
but soon enough, when times got tough, his uncle, Sam, withdrew
To walk the streets with fine elites (or someone else who begs)
or find a job (or even rob) requires both your legs,
and those that don't and those that won't are those we call the dregs
For getting by he tried to ply and mine his medals' worth -
A tinny cup, a hungry pup near loamy pits of earth,
and best of all, per protocol, beneath a bridge, a berth
He clutched a sign 'A dime to dine?', if anybody cared,
but soon he found, as time unwound, that victors seldom shared.
And Jackie's pride was slowly fried by vacant eyes that stared
He took to drink to break the link with thoughts of what he'd done,
though threads of doubt began to flout the yarns Big Brother spun
of freedom's ring and other things like what it was we'd won
He told the breeze his vague unease; his words infused the air
and like the fogs above the bogs, soon floated through the square
where people sat at tea to chat, and thought 'How could he dare'
But freedom's price is never nice: like storms before the flood
the Daily Rag was on a jag, was looking out for blood,
deemed Jackie's thoughts untamed and fraught, then dragged him through the mud
By snooping clues, they plucked his views like grapes upon the vine.
Big Brother came, blamed Jackie's name for thinking out of line,
shut Jack away from light of day while letting freedom shine
The Junta Brass, with eyes of glass, were dressed in fine array
to hear the words (though slightly slurred) the witness gasped to say,
while Justice snored (the water board awash with Perrier)
Well, Jack was charged with laws enlarged in secret dossiers
within the guise of spreading lies and leading thoughts astray -
The Jury's out... the rabble shout 'well someone's gotta pay'
The Judge (who fears the mind’s frontiers), he turned his head to yawn
while making haste through courtroom waste, though slightly pale and wan -
The voodoo Lune withdrew as soon as Night condemned the Dawn
While in his cell, the verdict fell - the sighs of Silence, rife
While in his cell, the verdict fell - the Reaper played a fife
While in his cell, the verdict fell - the price was Jackie's life
While censor’s cooks are roasting books (and truth) on stakes ablaze,
well, Jackie's head (though chopped and shed) still thinks about the praise
for deeds once done in victories won when cruising in a craze,
and then again about the sin of thinking, nowadays,
where, absently, humanity is served in urns on trays -
And, reconciled, it simply smiles at fortune's funny ways
A mind was caught while thinking thoughts neath Sammy’s prying gaze
and forced to stop by concept cops, else join the castaways.
For now it's law to hold in awe the brave new world's malaise
and dance like mimes to rigid rhymes (which no one disobeys)
and celebrate with white-washed pate, adorned with dead bouquets -
With freedom’s death, time holds its breath, and waits for better days...
It was in the early days of our lives
She was so beautiful
My eyes could not stop admiring
My heart kept racing
Every time it sensed
her good-looking approaching
But we were too young
To give full meaning
To the love language
Time kept flying
We lost contact
But the memory of our past
We lugged with us
Fate found us
And brought us together
We have now grown
So big and sweet
We both glitter
At each other’s presence
We were ready to do a recap
of where we left off
We laughed and joked about our past
We talked about our hey days at the National Theatre
We remembered the beautiful past that reflects our true self
We both haven’t changed after all
At that moment my heart spoke
The love language again
I knew I was in love with her
It wasn’t today
It started from when we were kids
Man must gather confidence
And speak out his feelings
Thoughts of what she would say;
Don’t laugh at me,
We all do it sometimes
We were sweet friends
But now, I want to take
The friendship a step further
My heart in full swing
Of abnormal beating,
It beat faster
It spoke two different languages
Say it; and keep it
Don’t know which of these to believe
I was shy
I was afraid
I was confused
I was happy
I was sad
I felt insane
There she was,
Standing in front me
In their house
Beaming with smiles
Nii, she said tenderly,
‘I thought you said you had something to tell me,
Come on, I can’t wait any longer
My ears are itching’
My heart just jumped out
And now I want to escape from her presence
I wish I could vanish into thin air
Stop laughing at me
I’m not mouth lazy
I was just afraid of the outcome
What if she said NO?
What if I lose her as a friend?
What if she vanishes into thin air?
And the what if’s continued …
Once in a man’s life time
He must draw together courage
To speak out his feelings
After all, I would not have violated any law
For telling a sweet scented woman
Gorgeous, attractive and stunning
About what I feel for her
So my nerves were clamed
This was how I started…
Esther, I mean, Naa Adjeley
The confusion has started
Errrmmm, you see,
Still didn’t know what to say
Hmmm, hope you are doing great?
‘I guess your brother, Thomas,
Is doing fine?’
She stared at me intently
The smiles on her face kept
My hopes alive
And my heart awake
I knew she was expecting
Something more than making those comical remarks
It’s was now time to speak
Naa Adjeley, I travelled from Cape Coast
To Accra to come see you
To tell you I miss you
Please let it out
The small voice inside me whispered
I left campus to Accra just to let you know that
I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU
She laughed aloud and said
‘’are you serious!’’
‘Oh! Yes I am’
I said confidently,
Her face suddenly darkened
The smiles misplaced
I wanted to fade away from her presence
After all I’ve let my feelings out
That was what mattered to me
But I did not have that special magic
How long have you felt this way towards me?
The next question to answer
‘When we were kids,
But it was revamped quite recently’
I could see the confusion on her face
She needed some more time
To think things through
I was excited let it out
But she was confused
I went back to school,
We enjoyed chit chatting on the phone
But the answer to my request was still hanging
She mentioned in one of our conversations
She might be travelling
But didn’t say when
She was a nursing student
I was a tourism student
The beauty of having a friend
You know and love
kept my mind awake in school
School was on recess
I arrived in Accra
Left my things unpacked
Borrowed money from my old girl
Picked a cab to Banana Inn
To see the woman
That has taken my heart hostage
I kept bagging at their gate
Agoo! agoo! agooo!
Waiting in anticipation to see
Her fine looking face
And present her with my first gift
Her brother, Thomas opened up
‘Hey! Where have you been?
It’s been a while’
Was the first question
The only interest I had was to see her face
I wanted to see the woman
That makes my heart beat
She was all I cared about
Where is Naa Adjeley?
I enquired from Thomas
I saw the shock on his face
My breathe was not catching up
with me properly
I knew something was wrong
‘Where is she’,
I asked again
‘Didn’t she tell you
She was travelling?’
My face dropped dead at once
I felt a sharp heart ache
I almost fainted
She left for the U.K
Without even saying bye bye
Was that why, she didn’t give any reply
to my proposal?
Why did she keep my heart awake?
I left her house, depressed
Her gift was a bonus for the cab driver
My face drenched in pool of tears
I know it hurts
But I felt more relieved
My feelings had been made lucid to her
I now walk with my chest out
Ready to move on
Ready to open myself up to happiness
I still remember
My first love story
The one I have kept furtive
Over the years
My old time love.
for René Etiemble (Jan. 26, 1909 – Jan. 2002)*
Barely a few speechless moments before your first words
burned the « Coplas por la muerte de su padre » :
‘Nuestras vidas son los ríos
que van a dar en la mar,
que es el morir ;
y llegados, son iguales
los que viven por sus manos
y los ricos.’
Is the open back door which emboldens courage
No untarnished name to be remembered by
No selfless mate to lay by your honour
No issue laying about themselves for your prize
Decidedly it was a door of stealth
As if choosing it you let it be known
you were only merely passing by
and stopped to hang your hat here for a while
Yet you let your kin and callers believe
your whims were worth putting up with
your mischievous tantrums and gripes
merely the mental athlete’s unwinding antics
The poïetic birth pangs of imminent glory
just the mounting stones in the monumental lighthouse
that ages from hence would pick forth
your works your unfathomable literary resource
You upheld dozens who did leave behind a name
a lasting name not quite torn from solitary pain
Yet who could deny you could have bettered their fame
What undisclosed pain you harboured in your brain
Oh so strangely were you endowed with the intelligence
of the Chun Tzu - that uncanny eagle’s scan
To rout out of the mazes of your students’ past lives
just that one passqge through their Tierra del Fuego
But then you who completely espoused the rigours
of that step by step mounting of respectful steps
Were unsparing in your demands of adherence
to old Master Kung’s hierarchical obedience
An open hand ready to sign any cheque
to succour the caller’s needs
was alas ! also the whip hand
To keep the renegades in constant check
You were possessed of a rare brand of anger
which shook the land about you
At those who bent justice to their unsavoury will
such thunder boiled from the guts of the earth
Now you’re gone and empty lecture halls echo your
uncontainable ire where forged resounding silence
You said at the start of a seminal master-seminar :
« Nul n’est prophète dans son pays ! »
With the distaff side hanging on your every word
wondering if your plans were for something yet undone
No stray notes lie about to record your travail
No visible correspondence to make it all credible
Only books and books files magazines and books
and an overcrowdedly conquered mental pad
jumbled words scratched into shaded inchoate sketches
ganglia synapses shot-up neurons
no clues to a ragingly flailing mind
none to record the lives you succoured
nor even the beneficiaries’ hurriedly scribbled thanks
nor besides to the beclouding relations with one and all
not even a hint at why you may have refused
to forge a name beyond the beaten path of fame
Would going by the front door
in a fanfare of tv talkshows conference papers prize-giving ceremonies paper- interviews in ample studied poses and thoughts for future auto-memoirs volume one to seven the rest put-together posthumously in an omnibus
expurgated version with prefaces notes introductions critiques eulogies
would it have been less like you
to exit by the side-door
the baywindow leading to reflected glory
in a cool cloister of loosened leaves
stray poems in the tradition of your schooled masters
or did you burn them all
in a fit of (cou)rage
tore them to bits incinerated by your fiery mind
or squashed within yesterday’s leftovers
not caring who thought what
the mocking condescension
* The late Professor René Etiemble held the Chair of Comparative Literature at the old, pre-1968 Sorbonne University but retired in 1978 while a professor at the Sorbonne-Nouvelle University. In later life, he even refused nomination to the French Academy of Letters, though he did accept the Academy’s Prize. He was a prolific critic, essayist, and memorialist, having published some poetry and three novels. A renowned linguist and grammarian (a graduate of the prestigious and elite Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris), he remained until his very last days an inveterate Sinophile. He edited the Gallimard-instituted UNESCO oriental literary classics series, a fitting tribute to his encyclopaedic learning.
© T.Wignesan, 6 novembre 1997, Fresnes-94, France (from the collection : Poems Omega Minus, Paris, 2002)
Molested the first fifteen years of my life. My mother remained silent the whole time. As the molesting continued all those years. Forced to live a pretend life all my childhood. Beaten and punished every other day. For no reason other than being a child. After all this I figured I was a unwanted child. My mother couldn't love me abusing me. She brought me fancy expensive clothes every year. To cover up all her verbal, mental, and physical abuse. She tried to hide me from people, family and friends. So that they wouldn't see the embarrassing scars and bruises. Sometimes so bad I couldn't even go to school the next day. Or I would get into fights or act rude to get a suspension notice. That would have allowed my body to heal. One time I even tried to get ex-spelled. However, it didn't work. I only came home to more beatings. Her boyfriend watched and help hold me down on the floor as she would beat, and beat, and beat. Maybe this gave him a idea that it was ok to abuse me. Being that my mother was already doing it. Yeah! From the outside looking in my childhood was perfect. Every child wanted my seat. Name-brand clothes, shoes, computers, and almost every toy in the Jc Penny catalog. From the inside looking out I was screaming to get out. Scared, alone, abused, and still a child. So there was nothing I could do. I had no brothers or sisters at the time. All my family wouldn't believe me.No! Not him they would say, and did say at age fifteen I started getting older, and more developed. I had to put a stop to this. So after talking to some school friends. I decided to talk to my mother about what was going on. So later on that night I called my mother in to talk to her. I had told her what had been going on. while she was a work, and out late shopping. She in return asked me to draw a picture of his *****. As if she didn't believe me on the spot. What! I thought to myself. How could she ask me a thing like that? After one hour she finally called the police. I was brung in also for video questioning. I told them what had been going on in the house while my mother was away. The police in return asked me "what took so long for me to tell" I replied" I was scared, alone, and threatened. I had no one in the house to protect me. From my mothers abusive ways. I thought people would tease me." The next question was to my mother. The police asked "How could you live in the same house, and not know that your child was being raped?" My mother sat quietly and had no answer. So she got charged with neglect. My mother's boyfriend got charged with child molestation, and a few other things. I can't remember them all. After all that I was still scared, but finally free. Free to be a kid again.
Awh, hell the relationship between my mother and I went down the drain. After trial she hated me even more. Every day she was threatening to kick me out of the house. I was only sixteen so she couldn't just kick me out. Yet! She even got so angry at times. She went as far as not letting me communicate with my newborn brother. She even told people to keep him away from me. That hurt me so bad everyday. I prayed to God everyday to soften my mother's heart, but it never happened. When I turned eighteen she finally kicked me out the house for real. With no place to go, no money , and no food to eat. I ended up living with family and friends until she let me back in. I don't know why, but I thought things had changed. About a week after moving she called the police and told them that I was prostituting. Which was a lie. Thank God I didn't spend time in jail. Due to her lies and deceit. I never thought I would have to leave my own mother alone. However, after that incident that was my final decision. Sporadically I call her to hear her voice, and check on my brother. Unfortunately she never answers the phone. Her guilt for abusing me won't let her answer the phone.
I moved to Albany, NY for a fresh start. A new beginning! There I met more friends, moved into a brand new apartment, and fell in love. I wasn't expecting to fall in love, but I did. With a adorable, hot, and sexy Italian guy. For the first time my life was great, and I was happy. I even tried some plus size modeling, nursing, and I started self-publishing my writings. I was accomplishing things that my mother never encouraged me to do.
After about four years I started feeling homesick . So I came back to Virginia. Wow! What destruction was happening. My whole family fell apart. Nothing or nobody were the same. They all became police property. That was a sign to continue to stay away from them. Continue my happy life. Continue self-publishing my stories. Praying to God everyday. that I remain successful. This is a true story. Unfortunately it happened to me. From a mother who brung me in this world. Only to use and abuse me my whole entire childhood. Then pretend that nothings even going on.