My sister works as an Art Therapist. Some of her clients are teenagers who’ve had to learn how to endure years of being abused. They are defiant, wary, all they imagine life will consist of is more cruelty and abuse. Very often their only happy memories are of starting school, because they were treated kindly, it’s the one shining light in nightmare darkness. My sister has to teach them to expect consideration, politeness and kindness. Such virtues are unbelievable to them
I hated and feared the meatrack shoppers
so I laughed and took their dirty, hurtful money
and let them hurt me by being dirty.
I laughed because they were fumbling fools and liked it
I laughed because my anus tore, because I bled
I laughed because I had to get their money.
They feed me here but lock the doors
they send me to Art Therapy
Miss Court has weird hair and loony clothes
I laugh at Miss Court because she’s nothing to laugh at.
Miss Court says: “Don’t be silly, Johnny.
Paint something.” So I get involved in paint.
I am frantic to announce my shame but it would be
the blue-lit dazzle of shock Miss Court would see.
Not me! Not me! Not me! Not me!
I remember starting school
Miss Bonham drew my name
you could have milk and a little piece of fruit.
I learned to draw my name on my painting
Miss Bonham pinned it on a special board
you could thrust pins in, so you didn’t hurt the wall.
Miss Court, it wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t hurt the wall
if you pinned up this painting of me
I did what you said Miss Court I painted it
and now I’ll tell you all about it.
I’ll tell you right out loud in front
of the other hard-nut children and they’ll kick my head in.
She saved my life she told me this was private
she took me somewhere private and she listened
I told her all my shame and hurt, my present.