KNUCKLE KNOTTED LIBERTY

 

A navy jumper, twice monthly washed, a blue shirt and striped tie
with a red thread. Grey trousers growing tighter though not getting
any longer. I was 12

in patient leather shoes with points to piece the playground’s pricks,
all sweaty under pit and after-school spit and fearless, only, in the face
of other fools, the types

the teachers all cheered for, for their football field finesses
(everyone wants to fit in) and cursed, later, for lack of flare in their classes
(grade goals were not the same

as game goals). Those were the days of ruby red walls and stained floors
I’d stripped one summer, looking for a more tangible form in the simple wood
buried under a carpet

of complicated patterns- knuckle knotted boards that twisted in place
like my feet, knowing that liberty did not live in things beaten into place.
Those days when education

insisted, with its uniform and a ruler to measure the distance of the hair
from the collar, that similarity was the best way to integrate- 30 not-so-neat
navy jumpers, pulled,

stretched and torn at the cuff for the thumb to slip through, 30 ties tied
in tight knots around necks licked by the sweat of the sport instead
of the inspiration

of individuality. Those days when I turned the cumbersome carpet over
in a red bedroom, trying to carve out a single sliver of liberty, fraternity
and equality

that I mistakenly believed should have been cardinal to the classroom.

 

All words by Damien B. Donnelly. School day photograph

BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES, NO.16, NAPOWRIMO

 

For every push,

for every jibe,

for every spit

upon my childhood,

my conditioning,

my inability to conform,

I kept walking onwards 

believing I was better,

never being allowed 

to acknowledge

how I’d been broken,

how I’d carry 

these bullies like bites

to forever sting 

beneath the skin.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

BORDERS AND BOUNDARIES, NO.4, NAPOWRIMO

 

I thought I would learn something more fortuitous 

than just fear

in those hollow halls

I learned to hate,

but books were not bats

when boys became bullies. 

Fragility can grow like strength

but the wonder we weigh

on the fragile flower 

only overshadows 

the tears that stem 

beneath to petals.

All words and drawings by Damien B. Donnelly

Pride and Prejudice, Beating the Bullies

A word to the ghosts of schoolyard bullies- Pity be the Preposterous, for profanity perishes before it prevails.

Damien B. Donnelly

I crept through corridors
Crying as a kid
In the corruption of
Cusses and curses,
Cruel and cringeworthy
Comments carried on carelessly
As comedy from cunning clowns
Whose calculus capabilities
Calculated to nothing more than
Calamitous catastrophes.
And so, to cover up this calamity,
I became their casualty,
Caught up in a cross fire
Of uncultured and uncultivated contempt,
Considering themselves
Capable comedians
And casting me center court
As their callous words
Cut and crippled me,
Corroding the core
Into a clunk of inescapable
And incomprehensible confusions,
Casting a cloud on every class,
A crisis in every playground,
And causing countless
Creative excuses
For cutting school
And cowering
In the cowardice
Of my cursed
Conviction.

You frightened
The fuck out of this
Fellow you named faggot
For nothing more than fun
And festered no more in me
Than a fear for feelings
I was far too young
To figure or…

View original post 314 more words

Pride and Prejudice, Beating the Bullies

I crept through corridors
Crying as a kid
In the corruption of
Cusses and curses,
Cruel and cringeworthy
Comments carried on carelessly
As comedy from cunning clowns
Whose calculus capabilities
Calculated to nothing more than
Calamitous catastrophes.
And so, to cover up this calamity,
I became their casualty,
Caught up in a cross fire
Of uncultured and uncultivated contempt,
Considering themselves
Capable comedians
And casting me center court
As their callous words
Cut and crippled me,
Corroding the core
Into a clunk of inescapable
And incomprehensible confusions,
Casting a cloud on every class,
A crisis in every playground,
And causing countless
Creative excuses
For cutting school
And cowering
In the cowardice
Of my cursed
Conviction.

You frightened
The fuck out of this
Fellow you named faggot
For nothing more than fun
And festered no more in me
Than a fear for feelings
I was far too young
To figure or fathom,
Forcing me to fight
For a freedom I felt
I freely deserved
But fortune falsely favoured
Fools, back then,
The faculty of footballers
Whose fractions fired
Fantastical favouritism,
The fundamental flaw of the feeble,
And frowned on frail fairies
Who followed the rules
But failed to find
Firm footing
On the field.

I drifted
Through dark days
That dug their way
Into darker nights,
Where dreams drew you
As demons
Distastefully delegated
To degrade me,
Deflate me, detest me,
Depict me
As depraved
Despicable deviant.
I didn’t know
That I’d dared to be
That different
Though I thought myself,
Even then,
More deserving
Than the deluge
Of your devilishly displaced
Discrimination.

I wonder now
If you’ve been
Withered and wizened
By your wicked ways?
Have you watched the world
And witnessed it grow?
How is the grown-up now,
Grown up?
Grown gradually good,
Greater, grateful
Or just more greasy,
Grim and grotesque?

Do they still bark of your bravado
Behind the bikes sheds,
In the bar rooms,
At the ball games?

I am better now,
Brighter and braver,
Reborn from the bullied boy
You couldn’t break,
Built a backbone in spite of all your backlash.
I am better balanced now
And see your barbarian banter
As nothing more than beastly, base, banality.
I am beyond your belligerent beliefs now,
And have broken
From the blemishes
You bored into me,
Bored me with,
By your bigoted bitterness,
Through your blackened brutishness
And see the blasphemy
Not in how bent I was
But in the bloodthirsty bully
The boisterous brotherhood
Begged you to become.

I have since grown
And gained
In all the gaiety
That a graceful God
Once gave me
And I see now,
Nothing more,
Nothing much,
Nothing lasting
In the power
You once pretended to possess
over my Pride and your Prejudice.

Pity be the preposterous
For profanity perishes before it prevails.

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