Poetry and Prose from the Center for Writers
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by MARCUS BROWN
My Child, My Child
Is that a smile I see on your face child?
The reality of it all is a bit hard to face now.
Looking just like your father,
yet shining like a diamond sun in a distant galaxy.
Walking through golden sand
under the platinum stars and silver moon
that bounces off your caramel skin
as soft as angel wings.
Is that your voice I hear?
Or did I hear an angel sing?
While running with other children
is that your laugh I hear?
A laugh my lungs haven't
known for many years -
full of a joy I haven't known for some time.
As you laugh you close the eyes
that don't look like mine.
My child, my child - you spirit of peace
With hazelnut shaped eyes, calm like the beach
The sight of your beauty is quite bittersweet
The sight of your beauty is quite bittersweet
I think my name is Jerry. I’m not really sure though. I go by many names, but you can call me Calvin. I meant to say Jerry. The spirits call me different things, so I get confused sometimes. The confusion started many years ago when they told me to kill my sister. I listened to them and now they have me in Whitfield. The guards call me schizophrenic. My mom calls me homicidal. Who cares, it’s only a freaking name.
The spirits started to talk to me at eight years old. They were everywhere that I was, and they exist in everything. They exist in everything from the concrete steps to every atom of every element. I could sense their love, their pain, their joy and their excitement. I could even talk to my dog, and he grew to become one of my closest friends. So instinctively I was attached, and when he died I couldn’t take it.
I remember the day of his death vividly. My ten year old sister had been mad at me because my dad (we had different fathers) had given me yet another gift. Her dad never did anything for her. He was just a junkie shooting death into his arms or any vein that he could find. She had always been mean, but the last few days she was so agitated. It was working my last nerve. For example, she had been hitting my dog as if he were a dusty rug. He didn’t like that very much and neither did I.
A few days later I woke up to the sound of my dog yelping and howling in pain. That’s when the spirits in every atom called out to me, at the same time, to avenge his death. My sister killed him, murdered him, and took life from him. She had beaten him with a metal rod in the ribs until they had been crushed to pieces. Everything after that ruptured his internal organs. That’s how he died.
The spirits told me that everything was God’s creation and shouldn’t be killed for pleasure. They told me that in this world, in God’s justice system, it’s a life for a life. I’m just glad they haven’t taken my life yet. For now, I would like to take this time to reminisce. This is my story…in my own words without everyone telling me what I feel and what I think. It’s just the truth through my eyes, because we all have different truths.
Screams were coming from a dark alleyway, and I knew it was my dog, Bud. I jumped out of my bed to go see what was happening. At four o’clock in the morning my sister was beating Bud like a dusty rug. I ran down the project steps and tried to get her, but I was too late to do a damn thing. I grabbed her by the throat and choked her until she nearly died.
My dog, my friend, and my heart lie there on his last leg. Three minutes before he died, he could no longer speak so I just held his bloody corpse close to me and stroked his ribs gently or what was left of his ribs. My sister had left with an evil grin on her face. She was satisfied with her accomplishment of breaking my spirits and getting rid of the only friend that I knew in this world. She killed him because she didn’t have any friends and she wanted me to be the same. The spirits in every atom cried out as my dog’s spirit and soul fled from his body. Little did she know she was about to die soon.
The day passed slowly, and with every passing minute another spirit said the same exact thing: “A life for a life.”
This continued for about sixteen hours until I finally did what I had to do. As my sister slept, I snuck into her room and put the pillow over her face as hard as I could. She wiggled, she scratched, she punched, and then finally…she did nothing, just silence and the fading whispers of excited spirits.
Even with the noise to a minimum my mom was awakened by the little scuffle. She cried over my sister’s body, but I still had neither an emotion nor an expression on my face. Soon the cops arrived, and I left with a major resistance.
I partnered with my bat, and he told me to swing him as hard as I could. He swore that he wouldn’t miss if I just swung very hard. Sure enough he hit. SPLAT!!! The cop’s nose was pushed into his brain and blood gushed from what used to be his face.
Then the spirits turned against me, because I had taken an innocent life. I didn’t see it that way; I saw it as a person trying to take the perfection and peace that I had so desperately fought for. The bat seemed to quit working, and the floor was no longer easy to stand on. I collapsed, and it felt as if a million shocks were going through my body at once.
It’s funny that I remember that now. I haven’t been able to remember for years because the meds that they had me on made me numb to the world. I remember that they told me I was special because it was rare for an eight year old to develop schizophrenia … (he chuckles). In my reflection, I still feel that it was the right thing to do, and I still believe in a life for a life. I wouldn’t take back what I did for all the freedom and power in the world…it was the right decision.
Marcus Brown was born in Laurel, Mississippi. He began writing poetry in the eighth grade after reading "The Rose that Grew from Concrete," by Tupac Shakur. His mother, father, and Tupac remain his biggest inspirations.