I don’t know…

I never know
when it was
that my social interactions
in my veins
when my innocence

was it the shouting in the night
the chair hole in the wall
was it the poverty I felt
but not of money
but of
                        of life
                  of living
                 of being
                      of ….

…all things
children should be
growing up as I did

I fought the school
                  the system
                bigger men

they knocked me down
I just got up
the children shouting
“Just stay down”
I just got up
don’t back down
don’t give up
till sixteen
I fought
                 uncared for

Was it that
my father’s poverty
        his anger
his inability to
his continual
        put downs
my inability to withdraw
As he knock’d me down
        time and day
         and month
         and year

till the war
and I lost my place
but not
I just got up

In my war
with a partner
I tarnished more
blood an’ brain

more poverty
more contraction
more anger
lashing out as history
played again
the marionette
singing of the rust
consuming the iron’s

True poverty
rots a person
It’s not about
just the money
proper food
proper clothes
care              love                belonging

looked down on
never given a chance
              to be schooled

I now reflect
on the holes
the broken windows
my own blood
on my fists
and bits of glass
in the wounds
stopping an argument
in desperation
this is the past
That ever defines
the better man
I now grow long

Forever warned
where poverty
and the ugly head
of wrong
and past

forever mine
to brush the
rust off

12 thoughts on “I don’t know…”

  1. I wish you hadn’t had to go through those things but I am glad that you are here now, the kind loving man you became despite them. The inner child within you still should know that he is cared about, loved and accepted and he belongs here in this new life xxxxx

  2. A really excellent life poem Bruce! To say I enjoyed reading it kind of seems wrong to say that considering what you have said, but I did, in the right sense. You’ve expressed a difficult subject very well indeed!

  3. Bruce, you reminded me of the boxing scene in “Cool Hand Luke” when Luke refuses to stay down for the count even though the much larger “Dragline” is literally beating him to a pulp. That movie has always worked on my insides and your poem -which is just beautiful- is working on my insides too. I had to share this at my blog.

  4. Powerful Bruce. Especially love “I now grow long
    and that the poem grows into that ironically humorous last stanza. A beautiful turning of life before our eyes.
    So glad Jeremy ReBlogged this one as I somehow missed it….WP reader issues…

    1. Thank you Johnny, yes a last stanza to reflect how my personality stays afloat sometimes, through the strength of humour 🙂

  5. experience given a voice….
    you are very gifted in that voice…
    Take Care…
    You Matter…

      1. you are most welcome
        I enjoyed wandering through,
        and will continue to do so

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