Once I Was A Loser Child

Jumping from rock to rock,
Mama said I’d “lose my head”.
Apparently writing wasn’t enough, then.
I was young.

I could imagine the feeling of grass on my small, smooth feet,
and the fields that stretched for an eternity—
Frolicing amongst the beetles, the corn, the cattle—
and coughing and shaking my head at the first taste of beer
that I was given when I was only a toddler,
and how I sat on my father by the window in my first home.
I only write about that, now.
I’m older than I was before.

I used to be drawn to the television;
I had videos and music keep me amused for hours on end;
subconsciously using them as a means of escape
from the terrifying events around me.
Soon he was gone and I
would learn to create.

There was a time where I remembered feeling sad
about not being able to go to the “Daddy Daughter Dance”.
There was also a time when I no longer cared that I couldn’t go.
I was no longer a daughter.
I was no longer a girl.
The head (I lost) fell off and rolled away.
Only ink on paper could lead me to it, again.

He threw the television
and it smashed to the ground.
It’s gone, now.
I could hear the screaming around me,
but I can’t find it, anymore.
Crying on the playground and being greeted by children,
it was a vicious cycle:
Leave, make friends, and leave again.
I forgot how to see trust in others.
‘Cause my eyes were in the head I left behind.
Nobody came to help me, that time.
I turned again to the paper;
long strokes creating a new world beneath me.

It was during this time he grabbed my wrist.
I remembered the pain and misery
of being punished for doing the right thing:
I wouldn’t tell him what I had sworn not to say.
I couldn’t call for help into the past,
but I can write about it.

I remember when my brother was born,
as I peered into the room
to see my mom
and him for the first time.
He would inspire so much.
Would he have known it?

I thought I knew what love meant,
Until I had it used against me.
My mouth was on that head of mine.
The pictures I took that would scar me forever were in
the memory of it, too.
I couldn’t hear them, anyway.

The manipulation would have kept me quiet, as it did,
And I couldn’t hear my own fear anyway.
I left my ears on that head I lost.
So I blindly felt fear and self-loathing when he touched me.
It hurts to even think about it.
But here I am, writing, writing, writing, again.

One of the worst things to experience
is when my mom is crying.
I always wish I could make it stop—
But I don’t know how, because I cannot think.
The head, I think, had my brain inside.
His name.
All of their names.
They were there too.
But I see them on this paper before me.

It was me that hurt myself
when I felt like nobody loved me anymore.
It wasn’t like playing and knowing nothing but innocence
on the farm where I once lived;
Where the walls filled with bees
to the point where we had to evict ourselves.
The poetry professor enjoys the bees,
when I write about them now, years later.

I may have been taught too soon
about things a kid needed not to know.
And I’m tired, now.
So I guess I’ll sit down,
drifting into a world of inspiration;
A fascination with dinosaurs that I would never give up on;
Blocking out the memories of hiding in the bathroom,
crying my eyes out and hoping for the end.
The paper gets a good grade.
The life I put into my poetry has meaning.
I can finally sleep, inside.

Now I sit on this rock,
Writing about the times I wouldn’t jump at my stepfather
out of fear when he laid a hand on my brother,
and wanting to grow up, thinking that
I would have a job and money and a life of happiness.
I write about being a child.
It’s time to write the last stanza
and rest for just a minute…

(Featuring words from “The Loser” by Shel Silverstein)

This poem is about: 
Me
My family
My community

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