From Detention to Psych Hospital By Rob Lavender

6 Aug

Got a hyper teen,

a live wire,

talking nonsense,

just to hear himself rattle.

Got legs like a bandy rooster,

a corn-eating smile,

his hair greased down like

a country bumpkin,

like that joker in O’ Brother Where Art Thou?,

He has cuts all over his arms.

Looks like a cat done

got a hold of his ass.

Boy done cut himself so much

make you hurt looking at him.

But he likes it like that.

Wears them like war wounds.

Wears them as a way to disgust you.

But cutting isn’t for me.

I’ll keep my pain inside.

Never seen a cut on my body

that looked like a release valve.

The sight of my own blood

doesn’t make me feel better.

This boy is fresh

from a detention center.

We get kids like him

on a constant basis.

They want a vacation

from where the judge placed them.

And they sit in their cells,

until they can’t take it anymore.

Then they tie a bed sheet

around their necks or

they cut themselves.

Then the white van appears.

The side door slides open,

out they come—handcuffed and shackled.

They tell me that the psych hospital

is like a vacation.

“You have better food. You have girls.”

It’s true,

we have girls

that are as mutilated as them.

Seeing them together,

walking the halls of the hospital

is like seeing moving road rash,

like they’ve had a serious

gang motorcycle crash.

A domino effect.

Bent spokes,

torn seats,

flat tires,

scratched gas tanks.

Now they’ve emerged,

looking for new ways

to bleed,

like something inside

is scratching to get out.

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