Gibley Finds: Poetry

I came across this poem a while ago and, to get to the point, I think it’s brilliant. It really stuck with me and I think it’s very well written. I would go into a description or introduction about the piece before you indulge but it speaks so clearly, it’ll grip you quickly, so I find it unnecessary.

/u/mhwillingham, the author, posted this in the /r/ocpoetry subreddit and allowed me to feature it. Enjoy!

—–

On Hell

The draft never came for us,
not in my lifetime.
But, I knew a lot of boys who wished it had.

In grade school, a fire-faced boy
with freckles like gunpowder,
cheeks like red balloons
gut-punched
me
so hard that the atmosphere left
my lungs limp and lonely.
Darkness crept into my eyeballs, from
the edges.
My whole body gasped.
I kissed the ground as I fell,
only the footprint of his soles remained
by the time I opened my eyes again.

By high school a reptilian shit eater
with slick, black hair like a locomotive beat me
like I was worth something. He beat me
like I owed him something. He beat me
like I could make things better.
But things never got better,
everyday the beatings came,
but nothing ever changed.
I tried stopping him,
once,
but my fist cracked against his concrete rib cage.
So, I wised up and told the world that the fucker
had locked me in a locker during football practice.
It wasn’t true.
He was expelled and ended
up having to repeat the ninth grade.
I’ve always wondered who he took it out on after I left.

After his divorce,
my father took my brother and sister and I
to church. The preacher waxed lightning
with his tongue
the way silver shines.
He spoke of sin
And Hell
And forgiveness
And money.
And I learned how to pray for forgiveness
because I was a sinner.
Everyone there was a sinner
and we mostly lived up to it.
In that holy hall,
loneliness draped over me like a fireman’s blanket;
smothering my weak, electric rays- reaching out.
Its hard to make friends
in a place like that
when you never
understood the meaning of
appropriate.

I spent endless nights,
looking into the darkness,
talking to God.
If only I had known that
the darkness was the answer,
then maybe I would have
survived.

The draft never came for us.
Who needs a war when you can live like this.

 

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