Sunday, April 10, 2011

Discipline (Prompt: Never Again Poem)

It was a typical spring afternoon
in 1977
and my younger brother and I
were bickering 
the way teenage brothers do,
the way fathers hate.

Some fathers spent all day
listening to other peoples’
bickering and sniping,
and my father must’ve had
a particularly crappy day
because it was the same 
picking and bitching 
we always did
but this time,

Pop snapped.

He wasn’t huge,
but he was fierce
and pained
like a Chihuahua with
a tortured pitbull psyche.

He roared into our room,
I don’t remember 
what he said
but within a second
I was in the middle of a
violent fantasia
of screaming and
veins pulsing
and his thick belt
coming down on me
again and again,
sheets of black leather pain
against my forearms
me cowering in
the corner of the couch.

Before he could get to my
younger brother
my mother interceded,
she protected him.

I don’t remember how
I got to the bathroom,
but I locked myself in there,

wondering how would I hide
or worse, explain
the bright pink welts
now forming on my arms
to the kids at school the next day.

Sitting there on the toilet
gasping and sucking in for breath,

I remember thinking
through my boiling tears

“I don’t care what I have to do,
how I have to be,
but he will never ever
hit me again”

and he never did,

and that was my first lesson
in self-discipline.


  1. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Oh, Mosk, this took the breath right out of me. You must have been scared to death. There are all sorts of hurts parents inflict upon their kids, but your description of the chihuahua/pit bill scared the crap out of me. Thank you for having the cojones to write this one.

    Your sis, A

  2. Wow. Yes, Amy got it right. And thanks to Paula Wanken for sending me here from the Poetry Chain. (I don't get out much, but this was worth the trip.)

  3. Another good one, Mosk...posted this link for day 2.

  4. Wow - Mosk ... I was led here from the Poetry Chain by Pamela ... what a searing scary poem ... actually shot me back to a forgotten incident with my own late mother ... she was a tyrant of sorts; I'd forgotten about her physical abuse almost because as my brother and I got older she moved onto psychological and verbal abuse that never abated...A really powerful, haunting poem, that, as Ames put it - scared the crap out of me also. You're remarkably well-adjusted, you know?

  5. "like a Chihuahua with
    a tortured pitbull psyche" ... Ha. :)

    I LOVE this:
    "but within a second
    I was in the middle of a
    violent fantasia"

    "his thick belt
    coming down on me
    again and again,
    sheets of black leather pain" ... You poor baby.

    Boy does this say a lot about your heart, who you are:
    "my mother interceded,
    she protected him"

    Damn, D. This is an amazing poem! I guess sometimes you have to pull out your worst experiences/memories to produce the best poetry.