The Coward -a poem

I felt like posting this poem that I wrote last week as part of making my word count for NaNoWriMo. It’s also how I feel right now. I am “The Coward”:

I say
and never do
What does that make me?

I say
I want to hurt people
Whenever
the cable company comes to my door
and says
Please be a valued customer again
I act like a bitch
to telemarketers
And I scream at drivers
driving way too fast
acting like they want to kill me
or they’re just in a hurry
I used to scream at bus drivers
when they never come
or whenever they came an hour late
And people remember me
The crazy bitch who screams at jerks
And people who only care about themselves

But I’m not a bitch
I’m not a criminal
I never hurt anyone
Because I’m
AFRAID
I’m scared of ending up in jail
I’m scared of prison
I’m scared of getting
a restraining order
Or never being able to work again

I say
I want to kill myself
I’ve screamed I deserve to die
in my sleep
But I don’t really mean it
Maybe I’m just saying
I’m having a bad day
I had a nightmare that I woke up panicked
I have never used a knife
to cut myself
Blood is not the answer
And blood gives me no pleasure
Only grief
So I hit myself
I’ve given myself bruises and headaches
Some mild tension headaches
And some of them worse enough to take
more than just two aspirin the whole damn day
But because I’m on medicine
I hit myself less and less
Every day is a blessing and a curse
But I try not to see it the other way

I say
that I’m a writer
and I want to see myself published
But my writing isn’t there yet
I pitched my work to agents
And got nothing back
Nothing but rejection
And I’m worried
I won’t see myself published until I’m 40
But I need that book now
I need the money
This can’t wait anymore
Publishing is wasted on the elderly
It’s time for the young writers to get out there

But I’m pushing 30
My youth is slowly fading
I don’t want to see my parents leave me
abruptly, without warning
and I’m penniless without a car, a home, or food
I don’t want to watch my parents DIE
That makes me terrified
I’m scared to write things about them
And I want to get published, but
maybe I’m not good enough for writing
Maybe I’m better suited for a dead end job
at a fast food chain

I have a Bachelor’s Degree
I made my parents proud
First woman to ever get a college education
First human being in my mom’s family
to go to college and graduate
Most of the women in my family
except my cousins’ wives
were too scared to go to college
They thought college wasn’t necessary
and school was dumb
They’d rather party with the cool people
Get drunk and then get pregnant
They’ve got better lives now that they’ve gotten older
and happier
But it could have been better
If they were a little wiser for the wear
when they were young

I promised my mother
I would put myself through college
get a degree in anything, even general studies
I did it and made her happy
I promised her I’d get a job
But it isn’t happening now
I need a job interview and someone to say yes
I get no phone calls and no yeses
I feel like I failed her

My high school failed me
All schools should have a psychologist
My school didn’t have that
I constantly got into trouble with the principal
And they lumped me with the “bad kids”
But I am no cookie cutter
I didn’t know what was wrong with me until
almost ten years later
They thought I would cause another Columbine massacre
They didn’t know I had a mental illness
I was so screwed up back then

So what am I now?
I will always be a coward
But I am getting better
I refuse to hurt myself or others
I don’t like physical pain
I don’t like BDSM and I don’t like hurting people
I like some action movies, but
I would make a lousy superhero
Because I run from things
I flee from bad music on the radio and store speakers
I run from nasty people doing
unspeakable things
I’m scared of getting hurt
I don’t want to die
And I don’t want to get locked up
I want someone to hear me
But it feels like
nobody’s listening
But I keep pushing
And I keep writing and posting

Because that makes me feel BRAVE.

Written November 15-16, 2017

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