Strip Wood by Andrew Scott
Part I – Laying Thinking
I can feel it slowly slipping away.
Each expanded breath is getting slower
clogging my throat even more,
I can taste the thick liquid that is choking me.
Cannot move at all,
the pain is too much for me.
I have tried
and felt the snapped bones
grind together and separate.
My insides are scrambled,
so many blows,
the body gave in under the punishment.
The human animal is savage
once the tribe attacks.
As I lay here all I have are thoughts,
replaying what placed me here.
Wasting away so slowly, thinking
Part II -Early Morning
This morning started like any other,
hitting the alarm clock around six.
With a brother and two sisters
there is always a fight to get ready.
Only so much room to maneuver.
Our father does not really guide us
or the havoc that come with this.
He just sits there about to say something
and then realizes that it will not change
what happens over and over every morning.
Dad has never really been in charge of this.
When our mother was here, she was the controller
until about seven or eight months ago.
She just left us in the middle of the day
without any of us to say good bye
and really have not heard of her since.
Now this circus does not have a ring leader.
There are times that we are not close to being on time.
This morning may be one of them
but at least I can say it will not be me.
Today I am right on time somehow.
Interlude I – Mommy
Laying here, thinking of her.
I am not sure why Mom left,
she just walked out and then hid.
There was such a mess left behind.
If I ever get to talk to her again
I would tell her I understand leaving Dad.
Life changes in time for everyone.
I do not understand why she left us
and stopped talking to her children.
That part is the confusing part.
Felt it was all of our faults.
How could a person just give up on us?
I was trying to make up lies or truths
so it would not drive me.
I know now what drove her away.
I think, still not sure
but if someone finds me here
before the blood smothers me
I want to tell her, I forgive her.
Part III – Morning Classes
Herds of kids running to classes.
Mornings are like that here.
So many trying to get that last social call
or cigarette in before the next break.
I have math and then law.
Numbers have never bothered me,
actually that part is easy for me,
it is the theory behind it that gives the brain a cramp.
Law has always been interesting
or more the vein of
how to break it and get away with it.
To me is seems to be what it is about.
Each class has familiar faces
and ones that it takes the term to get to know.
This is our city’s only high school
so sooner or later you do meet everyone.
Very neat to see people that you
only will see during school.
People say they will meet up but rarely do
in the outside of the school world.
Today is Friday
so we all started watching the seconds
ticking away around nine.
It makes time so slow
but I cannot help it.
I know a little get together
would be so much fun
during the night fall.
If it is being planned,
I fidget, I cannot wait.
Part IV – Lunchtime
Life is starting to wake up
when lunchtime finally hit.
Today seems to be dragging a bit.
Probably because of the day it is.
The weekend is only a few hours away.
I met up with a few friends
trying to figure out what to do tonight.
There are rumours of a field party
on the outskirts of town.
Those are usually the best ones,
outside with a bonfire and fun.
If that is the plan, I cannot wait.
The best part about the parties
are the kids that have too much early,
passed out, forgetting everything.
I learned the first time not to do that,
was so sick for days.
Pace myself now so I can enjoy.
Interlude II – Cheryl
My lips are starting to chap,
feeling the dryness with each breath.
I am trying to keep those short,
the pain in my ribs hurts each time.
Air is the only thing these lips may ever touch.
I was saving the first kiss for someone special.
It is not because I was taught a certain way,
always just wanted the moment to be special.
In my head the girl was going to be Cheryl.
She is a sweet kind
and everyone who has met her
can see it through a smile
from so far away.
Cheryl would look you in the eyes,
it did not matter who you were,
she would make anyone feel good it seemed.
Each morning a smile was given
when we were at our lockers,
I was even going to muster talking.
Now it does not feel like that will happen,
even if someone finds me,
I will not be or look the same.
A mirror is not needed to know
the cuts and bruises left on the surface
that will be there forever.
Cheryl is special
but who would even think
to give that first kiss now.
Part V – Afternoon Classes
Times does start to speed up
in the afternoon after lunch is over.
I am still looking at the clocks
but they seem to move faster now.
First class in the afternoon is English
and always goes fast.
I like to read
but have a rough time analyzing.
Someday I will figure it out.
Last period is another subject I like.
The history of our world
and seems to me
how we are doomed to repeat all.
Even with all of this, we never learn.
Minutes are buzzing by today.
Rumours are coming true
about a pit on the other side of town
and we all feel anticipation
and full of curiosity
about who will or will not be there.
The final bell sets us free
for the weekend activities.
We patiently storm the halls
to get out to the sweet smell.
Interlude III – The Future
I actually like books and learning.
They always made the mind
travel to faraway places
that I am starting to feel I may never see.
The fetal, pain position I am in
is starting to really feel like my last destination.
Everything is starting to feel numb,
at least the full pain has stopped,
even thinking does not hurt anymore.
I had plans for the future,
high school was done in a year and a half,
my marks are high,
and attendance is good.
Was going for a scholarship
to help pay for a full degree.
I would have been the first
in my family line with one,
excited about the prospect.
The two siblings before me
went straight to work
so this would have been my time.
The future does not seem important now
I just want to see the next day.
Part VI – Festivities
I arrived shortly after the sunset.
Suppose to meet friends here somewhere,
could take awhile to find them,
we all had to get here somehow.
I am not sure about them
but I ended up taking three buses.
They are so slow here.
I can say I am finally here.
To make carrying easier
My pint of gin was in my pocket
with a bottle of juice to wash it down.
So gross without mix,
I have learned that lesson before too.
People are already here
and the bonfire has been started.
We all will be around the fire
many times as it gets really cold
as the night moves along.
Some folks are getting paired up already,
cute how booze will change relationships.
I doubt that it will last past the week
but really who ever knows.
I hear my name being hollered,
walking over I realize it is by the fire.
A couple of seniors from my neighbourhood,
sober they never talk to me,
but they are beyond tipsy now.
Seems that the neighbours just wanted
to say hello and turn away.
It will be like that all night,
all conversations will trail off.
Before I left they handed me a party joint.
I usually just drink at these parties
but decided to join in for a bit
and moved on my way
to enjoy with each new dizzy stagger.
Not sure when I forgot to mix,
I did not even notice the difference.
Part VII – New Friends
The night and my booze was wearing on.
The crowds were mostly gone.
Teenagers that had their fill
and either went home or a friends.
Same thing every time.
I caught the sight of the older fellows
that I ran into at the bonfire earlier
when I was stumbling to leave.
I never did find the guys I was
suppose to party with.
The older guys called me over
to the edge of the thick woods
that were guarding the pit
from the outside world safely.
Both of them were smiling stoned
and offered more of what they were having.
Not thinking straight I took
and I was so dizzy.
I barely felt what was going on.
Part VIII – Strip Wood
I did not see the first hit to my head,
I went straight down.
I felt the boots that crushed my ribs,
they were heavy and hard,
there were so many sets of them.
I was able to hear bottles and laughing
that were being passed back and forth.
More motivation for them.
One of them leaned over my face
and whispered to me,
asking if I was enjoying it,
before he stood up and I felt the next hit,
across the cheek and eye,
feeling another break.
They rolled me on my stomach
and laughed worse than I have ever heard
when I felt the hot stick
stroke right between my cheeks.
I could not stop the blind pain.
While taunting one asked
if I enjoyed it like my father did.
I did not understand
until they said they saw him
with another man.
With one more hit
they strutted away, satisfied.
Interlude IV – Father
I am finally laying in a bed,
there is no comfort here,
every sore is breathing stinging air.
I cannot open my eyes still.
Have heard the checking doctor
talking about all the swelling.
My face will never be the same,
the body will not either,
broken ribs on the right,
arm on the left side,
more cuts and bruised to count.
I may never heal.
I do hear sobbing over in the corner
from what I can piece together
by the periodic conversations
it is my Dad
He does not know what I do know
about why I am here
and why Mom left.
It all makes sense now.
I cannot reach out to him
hurts to move in the slightest
and how would I even tell him.
Does not really matter.
When I need him, like now,
he is there doing his best.
I do not think I will
ever let him know what happened.
It is best, he is my Dad
and always will be.
October 22, 2013
© Andrew Scott – Just A Maritime Boy 2013
Andrew Scott is a native of Fredericton, NB. During his time as an active poet, Andrew Scott has taken the time to speak in front of a classrooms, judge poetry competitions as well as be published worldwide in such publications as The Art of Being Human, Battered Shadows and The Broken Ones. His books, Snake With A Flower, The Phoenix Has Risen, The Path, The Storm Is Coming and Through My Eyes are available now