Cutters, Huffers, and Suicide Kids

September 20 Kueka Wine Trail 1311

cutters, huffers, and suicide kids
look at me over toys scattered ‘cross my office floor
as we start helping them to forsake the shelter that comes with hurting

to them, i’m “Mr. John” or the bald guy in the suit coat
who has the cool toys and asks the billion questions
that they don’t have to answer if they don’t want to
despite what their mothers say or instruct or admonish

am i not the first hope and not the last but one of an endless string
on their paths from a devastated childhood toward their ultimate hopelessness?

no, i never feel that way, not even when the budding sociopath
makes the hair on the back of my neck turn into tiny knives
when he smiles and calmly says, “hitting animals is very wrong”

i’ve seen their parents
or, at least have heard about them
fathers who beat mothers, fathers who executed mothers, homeless families evading CYS and the police
and
the molesters, the Meagan Listers who were framed by the state,
who bathed their girlfriend’s sons and daughters, who didn’t know
that girl was 14 because, man, she knew what she was doing

and, the mothers
mothers who have children with each new boyfriend
before the men magically disappear after sowing seed through before delivery, their time away measured by the length of the PFA
and discussed with the DV victim in terms of the child’s age

i’ve met the foster parents
who brave the fears their families have voiced
and opened their hearts and homes to these children
as these new-to-them parents embark on missions to provide structure
consistency and nurturance to little hearts so badly broken
they can’t fathom lives beyond cutting, huffing and suicide

 

copyright 2109: all rights reserved
Photo: Healing Hands (Keuka Lake, NY 2015)

The School Bus Ride

img_7148-2-the-school-bus-ride-1-20-17

Lifetimes ago, school bus children
Chanted, “We hate the Highams,”
And I watched the driver drive his bus as if none
Of it mattered because those were only words
Don’t you know?

Like a weed that burst forth from fear
Fertilized by my family being different
In a land of assumed homogeneity,
We undoubtedly earned the right to be hated
And this hatred to be made part of our bus ride
Back and forth to school each day
Its own daily lesson in humility and restraint.

And, the driver drove, saying goodnight and smiling
At every stop; even ours, because he was so kind.

Did the kids know how we prepared for their attack
On our home in the woods?
Did they know how I trained my brothers
And ran our house like a military camp
For what my psychotic mother and I
Knew would be their final violation?

I doubt it. After all, they were merely teasing
Pleased with the reactions they were evoking
And how each of the six of us dealt differently
With their incessant barrage. They watched TV
In their homes each day and never mentioned
Their ride, I’d guess.

These little children and their foul little mouths
Taught me the gift of stillness, the gift of awareness
In the here and now. Those lessons lasted only as long
As the bus ride home, then the hell they had sent to us
Erupted in the home once the bus had left.

We watched TV in our home and fought with punches
And kicks, slamming doors and breaking walls.
A child hated easily finds enemies, even among family,
Because such a child wants peace and harmony
And love that flows as naturally as each breath but feels
Instead too alien in the world that now drags him down.

Therapy, meditation, and living in the here and now
Transformed such trauma into numerous evolutions
Still evolving in so many directions: I do not recognize
That angry self-hating child I was on the bus ride.

But still, I must ask: Are we on another school bus ride?
Have the schoolchildren become adults?
Has the teasing turned into denunciations and accusations
Fertilized by mutual disrespect and intolerance
Coupled with an unwillingness to communicate?

And, will this driver stop and hold us accountable
Or, will he merely drive to his destination?
Can we who are denouncing and accusing instead
Silence ourselves and remember that we are
All riding the same school bus? Can we share the love
We have for ourselves with people who live differently?

If not, it doesn’t matter who drives the school bus for soon
We will all be hateful little children fighting each other
Instead of investing our energies into our shared destiny.

© 2017 by John David Higham: All Rights Reserved
Photo: Eagle and Strength (Sedona, October 2016)

Goodnight, Paris. I Love You.

November 13 2015 Windfall 033

“Goodnight, Paris. I love you,”
My daughter Lillian said
After I tucked her in.

Like me, she knew not
The names
The weapons
The ideology
Or the details.

And like me,
She knows only love.

And, like her,
I knew that
Who they were
didn’t matter.
What they used
didn’t matter.
What principles
they espoused
didn’t matter.
What religion
they followed
didn’t matter.

I know who they are,
having seen them
so many times
before on my path:
Always different
in some ways.
Always the same
in just one way.

And, like my daughter,
I know exactly how
to deal with them.

Goodnight, Paris.
I love you…
Sending in The Angels.