childhood

THE SECRET TREE

Sally came running in the door…”Grandma I have a secret!” She yelled.

It’s a really, really good secret…but I promised not to tell.”

 

“I want to keep my promise but you don’t know how hard it’s been.”

“Trying not to tell anyone…trying to keep this secret in.”

 

Sally looked up at her Grandma…her wide eyes, big and blue…

“Grandma can you help me?  Grandma tell me what to do?”

 

Grandma took Sally out to her back yard saying…“There’s something I want you to see.

They sat down under a very large oak… “This is my secret tree.”

 

“Grandma…” Sally laughed …”This is not a secret tree!

Everybody knows about it…everyone can see…”

 

Grandma put a finger to her lips…and gently shook her head

“The tree is not the secret, silly…it’s what it holds.” she said.

 

Ever since I was a little girl…and a secret was given to me

I’d hurry home and sit right here…underneath this very tree.”

 

“And when I was sure I was alone…that secret I’d retrieve

then I would let that secret out and share it with the leaves.

 

And so this tree is filled with secrets…every secret I ever brought

secrets she will never tell…and some I’m sure I’ve long forgot….

 

With that Grandma stood up and walked away…happy as can be

leaving Sally all alone in the shade of her secret tree.

 

On her way to the house Grandma turned around and smiled…

She couldn’t be sure but she believes

Sally was whispering to the tree

 

sharing her secret with the leaves.


Fall

October's raring to get us high on sugar
with temperature falling

 

In an elevating freight elevator
I overheard a conversation between two adults

 

behind their ragged full grown beard
which could hide their faces

 

but failed to hide their
childish love for colorful things

 

They were discussing if
skittles were even considered candies.

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Baseball Everywhere

Elvin and Leroy were baseball players
From the time they were six years old
And best friends since the early days
A million baseball stories to be told

Their entire lives had been consumed
By the game of baseball which they
Played together all through school
Then pro-Negro league as Blue Jays

Even in retirement baseball was key
Games at the ball park and on the t.v.
Indeed – it was a sad day when Elvin
Passed away from a cardio infraction

Poor Leroy was hurt and felt so alone
He had always had Elvin by his side
And now without – was totally thrown
Unable to handle that Elvin had died

Leroy missed Elvin so much that he
Kept talking to him – always his plea
“Please let me know how you’re doing
So I can quit all my silly brooding”

But nothing – no answer from Elvin
Until late one night – in the kitchen
Leroy was talking - asking his friend
For a message – some sign to be sent

Leroy was sitting at the table and
Heard Elvin so asked – “that you man”
Without hesitation the voice of Elvin
Clear as day – “It’s me – good friend”

Leroy was both shocked and ecstatic
He started talking and then did ask
About baseball in heaven – and Elvin
Said – “Leroy – it really is heaven”

“They got baseball everywhere and
You should see the fields and parks
Just like we used to dream and plan
And got beautiful lights after dark”

“That is wonderful news” – said Leroy
“Wonderful – is there any bad news”
Elvin began tentatively – “well old boy
There is some bad news I brought you”

“What bad news - Elvin ” – Leroy asked
“Tell me – whatever - be what it might “
So Leroy started slow then said it fast
“Elvin - you’re pitchin’ tomorrow night”

Children Know Things

There are certain things
That all children know -
Flowers bloom in spring
When all the birds sing
The sun helps things grow
And melts the fresh snow
Rain washes things clean
And helps with gardening
The good times - playing
And bed time for praying
The very best balloons
Big ‘n round as full moons
And without any strings
Moving as the wind blows
Yep - children know things
Like - don’t step on toes
The moon is Swiss cheese
Leprechauns wear green
And all angels have wings
Yep – children know things

My Savior

He was both not there

And my savior

All in one

Because when he WAS around

He protected me

I was his daddy's girl

I was the most abused

He did what he could to help

Usually by doing dishes

 

Mother would get pissed

How dare a parent help

Their child

Their blood

Let them flounder 

Let them fail

So I can win at one more thing

And hold it over their head

 

He helped

But only so much so

Too timid to really fight

Too quiet to speak up

She ruled over us all

She was  the queen

If she wanted something 

You fetched it

 

And I did everything

To take care of our homes

The many apartments

We called "homes"

As soon as I was old enough

To hold a sponge

I was doing dishes 

Once I was old enough to cook

I made dinner every night

 

If not 

You faced her wrath

The anger that would spew

From her nostrils

Her eyes glowing red 

And a quick flick

Of her tongue

And the beatings

She would give

 

Once he passed

It was free for all

Into early adulthood

The abuse continued

I was conditioned

When I left

It trickled to my brother

She continued to abuse her child,

But now it wasn't me

And my father wasn't there 

To save him

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Written: 3/12/2018

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Sticks and stones….

Sticks and stones….

By jfarrell

 

 

(I don’t know the origin of the saying, but heard it often growing up)

 

“Squeal for me, little piggy”

Uncle Brian screamed as he beat us with his belt buckle;

He and his friend raped my cousin and I, aged 5;

 

“You always were a girl”

My dad screamed (after he heard);

Beat me so bad, I passed out.

 

“I wish I’d had you aborted….”

You can guess who said this to me;

Though she could hit hard, her tongue always hurt worse.

 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones,

But names will never hurt me.”

This was a favourite saying of dad’s… as he let loose.

 

Funny…

45 years later…

The scars from the beatings have healed up…

 

But the pain from the names….

And everything associated….

Twists like a knife in my heart, today.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

one of the greatest lies in the world.... along with the licence is in the post and of course i'll still respect you in the morning

 

tick...tock....tick....tock.....

 

;-)

Slap!!

Slap!!

By jfarrell

 

 

Stop being a girl! Stand up and be a man!

SLAP!!

Don’t let them call you names… hit back…

SLAP!!

 

Take the sweets…. and the comics….

SLAP!!

Now, take my member…

SLAP!!

 

How could I have given birth to you?

SLAP!!

You’ve ruined this family!

SLAP!!.

 

You live in a children’s home?

SLAP!!

Lick my shoes, scumbag!

SLAP!!

 

You know you want these magazines… take them….

SLAP!!

Join my gang, take these pills….

SLAP!!

 

35 years later…

My ears are still ringing

From all that slapping.

 

I think it’s called post traumatic distress disorder (PTSD)

But, every psychiatrist I see

Gives me a new label.

Borderline personality disorder, aspberger’s syndrome,

Acute anxiety disorder;

Sexual anxiety, socialphobic….

Depression….

 

Maybe,

It’s none of them things….

I just got slapped about the head too much as a kid;

My ears (and my mind)

Are still ringing from it.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

.... sorry, didn't hear what you said, you'll have to shout above the ringing..... ;-)

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School scraps

School scraps

By jfarrell

 

“My dad’s bigger than your dad!”

…... remember that, from school?

When I got home from school,

With cuts and bruises,

I’d get 7-8 slaps and hits, before

…. “Did you hit back?”

 

Once,

I hit back.

Can’t remember what the fight was about.

Jason was a year younger than me,

A neighbour, a friend, on my estate,

On my block.

 

I beat him up;

His two teenage brothers beat me up.

 

Should’ve ended there.

 

After the customary 7-8 punches,

To get me talking,

to get me to ‘share’…

He stops hitting me…

Squares his shoulders…

And storms out! “No-one gangs up on my kid, like that!”

 

I watched a hero, my hero,

Storm off down the balcony

And start hammering on Jason’s door…

“I WANNA WORD…..

“WHAT YOUR KIDS DID TO MY SON….”

…. the door opened….

 

…..I’d never noticed Jason’s dad before…..

….He was short, nose to chest, with my father…

And my father was not tall…

…..SHOUT, SHOUT, SHOUT….

One punch…

My ‘hero’, my dad, out cold.

 

I saw it all there, don’t know how;

7-8 years old;

Dad gets drunk hits wife and kids….

He’ll only hit… stand up to…

People smaller than him….

Coward… but I still feared him.

 

In 3 days I will be 50….

You know what….

I think I should stop fearing him…

After all…

He died over 25 years ago

And I’d seen him only once since I was 14.

 

3 days before 50 I, finally, realise…

I’m better than you…

And always have been!

I may not be the ‘man’ you think of….

Beating up littler kids to make me feel better….

I am MORE…. greater… then you ever were.

 

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

my dragon's bigger than your dragon ;-)

In loco parentis

In loco parentis

By jfarrell

 

The October, before my CSE’s…

My ‘parents’ went on strike;

My children’s home was closed, overnight….

Very violently.

 

I cut my ties with my family, that night; forever;

And my coursework, homework projects and text books

I didn’t realise the ashes floating past me was my future;

I didn’t even know a fire had been started.

 

Who’d worry bout all the ‘A’ grades they were expected to get;

Who’d say goodbye, forever, to mum, dad, and younger sister?

Who’d be so arrogant? So stupid?

A 15 year old kid, scared of growing up to be his dad?

 

I have always been my ‘in loco parentis’;

You see a nearly 50 year old man;

I am 6 years old, trying to talk my dad outta beating me

Learning that the ‘very free sweets, toys and comics’ have a price;

 

 

My parents were not fit enough!

And the children’s home…. I need parents… politics? Strike?

In this world, this life, that has never made any sense….

How have I done? As a parent?

 

I think, I’d have had me locked up, long ago.

 

Not fit, to be near children….

Or anyone.

 

 

 

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

i wasn't much of a brother when our children's home closed... or long before then..

my staying away from her and her family now, makes me the best brother ever...

but, it doesn't make it right

and nothing ever will...

sorry..

this is poetry, not psychotherapy, or drunks are us....

i reeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllly love you... go on, give us a kiss....

 

;-)