I Don't Like To Remember My Childhood

I don’t like to remember my childhood
my eyes like red slivers watching stripes
forming over mommy’s face by the whip
of daddy’s knuckles

I don’t like to remember my childhood
I had to hear them screaming as loudly
as machine gunfire in the middle of the night
my defense in the beginning was to concentrate
on the music of the cricket orchestra outside
chirping to calm me

I don’t like to remember my childhood
as I returned from school, and mommy’s black
eye would greet me first at the door
I hated myself for not being there
trying to convince my doll that my body
could have acted as a shield

I don’t like to remember my childhood
I feared waking up caged inside the eternal
nightmare of daddy’s hands becoming boa
constrictors around mommy’s delicate throat
robbing her of oxygen and the five kids
she loved

I don’t like to remember my childhood
his intimidation like a pistol forced her to
kneel execution style,
slowly, slowly he was killing us
all with his rage

I don’t like to remember my childhood
my existence reduced to an abnormal sob
I was accustomed to the maternal screams
cutting me open from my sleep
at the oddest hours I always anticipated the sounds of glass
being destroyed in the kitchen
daddy pacing the halls in search of sanity

I don’t like to remember my childhood
of playing referee and counsellor to a husband
and wife whose union was shrapnel
I didn’t understand my affection had become
like a drug, and that I was only cocaine
to be sniffed,
my presence bred their destruction
and we lived like drug addicts
our happiness had become like
an expensive opiate

I don’t like to remember my childhood
like a veteran who never opens
up their wounds to discuss them
the scars are the explantions that
you’ve been there
I heard of Vietnam
and was 8 when it ended
no government would end
the hostilities where I lived

the police would come often
only to insult my parents
my daddy hauled away
handcuffed for the moment
my mommy they would taunt
with their badges as if to mock me
with the impotence of being a child

I don’t like to remember my childhood
I vowed I’d escape
I’d dig my way out of this frightened
flesh and disown the scarred blood
that I carried
the offspring of natural antagonists
and after awhile I fought hard against them
and even harder against the treason
inside myself

if I was respectful to one
I betrayed the other by my kindness
I was an accomplice by taking one side
over the other
I was a traitor and living with them
became Russian roulette
daily I put the pistol to my own head
and pulled the trigger hard
as a reminder
that I was their prisoner

I don’t like to remember my childhood
whose frantic heart was a soldier’s
storming the next house
out of breath
driven by the bone instinct
to survive, just survive
begging strangers to complicate
themselves in a situation
whose implications were a labyrinth
of complications and where twisted
wrong turns were crimes
in themselves
and left my self esteem
as scattered rags on the front lawn

I don’t like to remember my childhood
as a toddler I was drafted and inherited
a civil war
whose battle lines marked me like a map
necessity made me a sentinel at 7
with sunken eyes as two drowning people
I pried those droopy eyelids open
with my older brother “Boi”
we guarded mama like a princess
late at night from daddy who became
a tyrant giant wanting to eat her

we had to prevent her olive skin
from changing to those colours
I hated seeing her wear black
and purple
we internalized his thunderous
voice which was meant
as a formal humiliation
by scalding our souls
with the heat of his temper
the screams always lasted longer
than the pocked bruises
it was his brand tattooed
into us all
seared on our lives
as a reminder
that we belonged to the race
of the “conquered”

I don’t like to remember my childhood
daddy’s torn knuckles wanted to “define me”
and mommy’s bleeding gums forced me to
abandon my purpose of freezing my teeth
on popsicles

I don’t like to remember my childhood
where love suffered to survive
and faith struggled to grow
I started to learn that wounds were necessary
in a relationship and blood an ingredient
for romance
misery always came before forgiveness
and humiliation before acceptance

I don’t like to remember my childhood
which wasn’t the Brady Bunch
Mike never called Carol a bitch
and Carol never referred to him
as a “jack ass”

and mom wore her bruises as medals
the arguments were her negotiations
of a failed peace

after awhile the days teach you
to put on your fatigues and wear the
camoflauge, carry your canteen of tears
and drink it as water

the years became natural teachers and made
me cover my fear as I would my breasts and
after awhile the need to be normal is silenced
and numbed, gagged by the soldier inside

my brown eyes were cameras
photographing the violence
keeping it in albums inside
there were the times I wanted to look
for them again
and cut myself open to find them
but they were deep down in storage
places I had forgotten

and so I never spoke of this again, my voice
was lost and I taught my past to confine itself
and I buried the past like toxic waste
deep beneath shy skin

and so I don’t like to remember my childhood
its graffiti carved for all time
I am like bark with the words daddy hated mommy
back somewhere in that other place
like a memorial to the war I had survived.

©mattybduran2009

I Don't Like To Remember My Childhood

Matty B. Duran

Joined July 2009

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Artist's Description

I went through this, but through the Lord Jesus i have overcome the wounds of domestic violence. I Praise God for taking me through the years, for His Grace and His Mercy. Every child needs a Saviour. Every man and woman on earth is still a child in the Lord’s eyes. ALL PRAISE TO JESUS!!

Artwork Comments

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