The life of Benjamin

Poem by: MaddieJMPC


Submitted: January 21, 2013

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Submitted: January 21, 2013




In first grade,
I wrote a poem.
It was about a butterfly.
My teacher,
Mr. Mills,
Gave me a gold star,
And told me I was smart.
Mum gave me a book
So I could write more things.
It had blue lines
With a red margin.
By fifth grade,
I wrote a story.
It was about a woman
Who wore a butterfly coat.
My teacher praised me,
But said I needed paragraphs.
My dad gave me a baseball bat
And told me to toughen up.
So I got myself a new book.
It had green lines,
And no margin.
I didn’t use the baseball bat.
In eighth grade,
I wrote an essay.
About workers in Pakistan
Who made coats
And earned next to nothing.
My teacher who I called Sir
Said that my technique was impressive,
But my language is limited.
Mother still encouraged my writing,
Father started working late.
My mother got me a notepad,
So I could write
Whatever I wanted
Whenever I needed to.
There were no lines.
No margins.
In tenth grade,
I studied the loss of habitation
Of the orang-utans in Borneo.
I was asked to write
A debate speech
On the subject.
My teacher,
Whom I called Lynn,
Said I was very persuasive,
But I tended to stray
From the main argument
Because I stated that
More animals than the orang-utans
Lived in the forests.
My mother
Sat in the crowd,
And cheered “Hear! Hear!”
When I made a point.
My team won that debate.
Dad didn’t see me win.
He and Mum got divorced.
He said it was my fault.
I didn’t get a new book.
Out of school,
With bad ATAR scores,
I started a blog.
About nothing really.
I pondered things,
Like what life
Would be like
For a butterfly
In the forests
Of Borneo.
I wondered
How a working woman
Who got paid next to
Knew what they looked like
Or why she even cared.
I wondered,
How the system worked
With getting the coat
She made
Overseas and into shops.
Onto the backs of wealthy women
Who strolled leisurely
Down the streets.
My readers disregarded
My thoughts
And criticisms arose
About my meaningless
Internet existence.
I wondered about it myself
When I was twenty-two,
I attended TAFE,
And took a course in
It was an easy course,
And I got a job
At a local car repair shop.
My professor
Whose name
I didn’t bother with
Told me I had potential
For so much more.
I ignored him.
My hands were greasy
All the time
Which made writing details 
My fingers smudged
The white paper
With oil
But I could still read
What I wrote,
So it didn’t matter.
My dad spoke to me,
For the first time
In years.
We met at a pub
He was glad I was a mechanic
He toasted me,
And said “Cheers! Cheers!”
Mum wasn’t there
To see that my dad
Was proud.
She remarried
And told me 
She was
That I hadn’t followed
My dreams.
That I had potential
For so much more.
Dad didn’t say that.
So I ignored her.

© Copyright 2016 MaddieJMPC. All rights reserved.

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