Pretty

Her 14-year-old skin hung tight around my fetal curves, holding all of my innocence in the loss of hers. Not all the crayons in this box are pretty. That newly pubescent body holding me so tight I stretch marked it with the brand of my dwelling. She really loved me like she could never love anybody else; the fruit of the dogged pursuit of a statutory rapist. Let me tell you again, not all the crayons in this box are pretty.

I was ripped from that birth canal with a force I never deserved. I could have lived forever in that young, naïve, child’s frame that allowed a predator to become the only father that I would ever get to have. See, not all the crayons in this box are pretty.

She beat and used me. He spread my legs and abused me. She was all I ever wanted I a friend, because we grew up together; but she thought she knew it all, and he was in and out of prison all of the days of my life. I told you, not all the crayons in this box are pretty.

I only really ever talked to her when she was high. Whoa. Did I say, not all the crayons in this box are pretty? Well, she died of AIDS and he got life, and I lost the only parents I’ll ever have to love with a love that is so unconditional it stings; because I learned early on that you have to love the ugly too…because, not all the crayons in this box are pretty.

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Freedom

Eyes rolled behind,

trying to hide,

trying to pretend

that this weight I can’t carry

isn’t his.

Isn’t mine.

Isn’t ours.

I am

glazed over

with the residue of my longing.

The need for a man,

for a dad,

for a anyone

who would just give me the love

that the

California Department of Corrections

attempted to correct,

but only corrupted;

never saved.

Never salvaged.

Never cared to cure.

I am,

on my back

as I

slam into this same wall again

knowing that my

freedoms have

once again

become my vices.

He

ripped me open with his laughter

and all I could do was lie there,

fully aware that

this time

there was no ignorance that I could

slide into.

No bliss I could

use as crutches to

hold up my smile.

I cried blood.

I bled tears.

I turned my face

and let my god die,

let my savior fade.

I creaked and cracked.

I bent and broke.

But I-DIDN’T-SAY-NO.

And now I

find that the Listerine

won’t wash away

the burn of his lips on mine.

I find that

time will go and flow

and stop and skip

and skip and stop

and reverse, rewind.

Rewind to that day,

that fateful day

when my father blamed me

for the

confusion in his belly,

the,

sickness in his head.

That day when

night broke through

and never left.

The sun

ran away,

hid behind

the black cloudy fun

in my dysfunction.

It ground me into dust,

set me in water and,

let me rust.

Let me cover over

those days that some man

walked into my bed

and fucked with my head.

Said,

the body

I was wearing

USED TO belong

to my mom…

But I,

knew all along

that it

wasn’t right,

wasn’t fair,

wasn’t

after all I’d already been through,

supposed to happen to me.

But it did.

And so,

here I am,

four hours away

from the cell he sits in.

The cell that inmate

J17128 sits in

and waits for March 4, 2021

to come

because that is his

earliest acceptable plea for freedom.

The earliest possible day

that he can once again claim

he is clean,

he is reformed,

he doesn’t form

those thoughts

that brought him to try to

rape his 12-year-old child.

That’s the day he can once again say

he has found God,

the righteous path,

taken the holy bath.

Been once again bathed

in the light that shines on every

inmate who thinks that 25

is enough on a 25 to life,

when he,

has had enough of that,

black hole they put him in.

But it’s been

seventeen years and the sun still

has not shone,

the day still has not

broke through in MY life.

And I know that I have

become my own parole board,

but there is

no bed I can lie in and

still feel that I am clean.

No mirror

I can stare into

and not see filth.

There is no ease for me,

no way to say I am done,

I’ve been reformed

and I am

ready to move on

as a productive

American citizen.

But in all honesty,

I can,

only be free

when I am

in between the,

shackles of my memories

and the

pains of my reveries,

my daydreams that

probably look a lot more like

nightmares

when I,

think I’ve,

found god,

even if he is just a man.

To me,

it’s all the same.

So I’ve taken the key

to the shackles

holding me back.

I put it in a place that

I know I can’t reach,

and I,

keep searching,

keep working

to find the man whose

abuses run right through me;

whose

complete disregard for me

keeps me coming back

hoping that his

dick reaches

deep enough

inside me to,

pull out the key

that

unlocks MY freedom.