Thursday, 24 September 2015

'Draw no more,' sage advice to my old self.

When I was seven my teacher sat
me next to Sean McCann
and as she squatted beside my desk
she pointed at Sean’s drawing
and ask me to draw “just like that,”

but Miss missed the effect her administration
had upon me. I laid down my pens
and never drew again (or if I did it was drawing
or be kept in) the fun sucked out of it the same
as when I ran in races and came last, hateful
of each and every plodded step,
but alone in the streets when no one was watching
I would run and run and laugh and think
with the wind in the right orientation
I might all but disappear.

Truth is, before Miss misinterpreted me,
I excelled at drawing for release,
like a wild beast, I scratched and swatted
and spat and hissed and with the pens as claws
went everywhichway across the page and the desk –
the way I drew reminded me of life
and the way I felt when my dad came home
drunk or when Peter McAuliffe
sought me out just so he could paint
my face with his fists

but Miss did not like the explosion.
She wanted everything smooth and calm
all the lines heading in the same direction
like serene dolphin
when I preferred the shark’s attack.

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