Poem: An Explanation of Young Violence

This was it…
In the comfort of my hatred,
my tongue knifed at the outside world
and I was protected by its sharpness.

See, every kid goes through their hazing period.
Every kid has their time when they need to prove themselves.
Like the first time I ever landed a punch on someone’s face
(it worked.)
Blood spilled from his nose…..his head shot back,
and in the charge of that moment, I felt reborn.
In the surge of aggression, time stretched tightly
like a wire under too much pressure.

The strain was tremendous; or better put, it was electric……..and I snapped.
The sight of blood was a victory, so I kept pounding as hard as I could,
and for that moment, there was comfort in my rage
and I wore it like a shield.

I punched and fed into the violence.
I felt my knuckles crush into some poor kid’s face
because after all, I hated him.
But, I hated him perfectly,
and every time he cried, or whimpered
I hated him more.

Every time my fist met his jaw
every time he screamed for me to stop,
the fuel turned my anger into flames.
It was as if I turned into an animal
or as if I had no other choice.

The thing is –
The boy I punished was only a mirror; he was a reflection to my awkwardness.
He was a reminder that there are three sections to the world.
The good, which sits on the right side.
The bad, which sits on the left
and the in between.
That’s where the unnoticeable sit.
They are the faceless.
They are the uninteresting.
They are socially stagnant.
They are the reflection of how I felt about myself;
a reminder of my fears
and insecurity.

And the boy I punished….
he was a reminder of how little I fit in.

See…

Everyone wears their own mask, or has a dance
and they use that dance to warn off the world
or draw them in.

I lost that day.
I lost the way water loses to the drain
and I spiraled down without any choice…..

There used to be a billboard on the east side of the 59th Street Bridge.
It said, “Perfection is not an accident.”
And it’s not…
Perfection is the performance.
It’s the poker face, or the hustle of a chess player.
No one knows your next move.
All they can do is guess, and your walk becomes like a strut,
which smooths your entry……..so you can glide.

Perfection is the way you light up a cigarette
or hold your drink.
It’s the way you lean, or smile,
or glance at a girl as if you never cared.

Perfection is the bluff.
It’s the way you put your clothes on at 3:30 am,
It’s the way you walk out the door,
leaving her to wonder if you’ll ever come back
or call.
Perfection is the total act
or the way you protect yourself.

To me,
perfection was the absence of awkwardness

……….and I was far from perfect.

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