Better late than never?
"Colin!" I hear you asking. "Why are you posting something for July 30th on August 11th?
In the last two days of camp I sort of went ham on the handwriting. With my normal 20 lines per day rate, there wasn't really a way I could properly conclude the poem, so I just sat down and wrote til I was content. Then when I was done with that, I got super excited about completing that I launched into editing mode, disregarding my posts entirely.
But now you get them! Wow!
And, you get the edited version. Now including line breaks!
I don't 100% remember where I stopped between days 30 and 31, so this is very much an arbitrary subdivision.
I'm also giving you the entire poem up until that arbitrary subdivision. Enjoy:
There was a girl. Her name was May.
She loved the night and loved the day.
She loved to go outside to play.
She loved a lot of things, that May.
Our story starts one summer’s day
A sweltering weekend day in May.
“It’s hot outside, but I won’t stay
“inside this boring house,” said May.
“I do not mind a little heat.
“I have so many friends to meet,
“so I will go outside to play
“and have the greatest time!” said May.
So out off to the park she went
ready for a time well spent,
but soon she found to her dismay
that no one else had come to play.
She left the park and headed back
to home to grab a little snack
to raise her spirits just a bit,
but eating wasn’t doing it.
Her hunger left and she felt cool,
but May just felt like such a fool.
“How certain I was that there’d be
“some of my friends to play with me!”
said May, and so she cried a bit
and had a quiet little fit
alerting then her mom and dad
who came to see why May felt sad.
“Please tell us why you’re feeling sad
“We wish to ease your heart,” said Dad.
“We love you more than we can say,”
said Mom. “We love you, little May.”
May then stopped her quiet crying
knowing that she wasn’t dying
turned her face to Mom and Dad
and told them why her heart felt bad.
Both Mom and Dad pulled May in close
to hug the child they loved the most
and told her, “there’ll be other days
“with all your friends, and times to play”
May sniffled once and forced a grin
and wiped a teardrop off her chin.
She told her parents she felt glad,
but once they left she still felt sad.
I love my friends so much, thought May.
And they love me, and they love to play.
I shouldn’t grieve their choice to hide
While I was out and they inside.
I love them lots and they love me,
and in the future I know we
will talk and laugh and play all day.
Today was fine. I’m fine, thought May.
And though she thought with all her mind,
and knew her friends were very kind,
her heart still ached all through the day
and through the night. So sad, that May.
She felt her heart ache as she lay
atop her bed, that woeful May.
Her stomach full, no need to eat,
May laid there in the sweltering heat.
She let her eyes blur to a haze.
The coming night blurred with the day.
Reality and dream blurred too
as May fell deep in midnight blue.
At first May felt a rushing wind:
tornado breeze against her skin.
Her legs were falling, arms were not,
her mind on fire, void of thought.
Instantly the falling stopped,
and with it came a temperature drop.
May shivered in the freezing air.
It froze her nose and skin and hair.
She tried to open up her eyes
or open up her mouth to cry,
but when she tried the heat returned.
Her heart was limp and soul was burned.
And then returned that awful wind
which made her head begin to spin
and spin and spin and spin and fall
then stop and feel nothing at all.
May opened up her eyes an inch
and gave her arm a single pinch.
For miles all there was, was black.
May braced herself for an attack.
But nothing came to harm our May.
The darkness soon began to fade,
and to her shock and slight dismay
her house revealed itself to May.
"So this is what I'm given now?"
said May so very puzzled how
she went through all that spinning buzz
just to return to whence she was.
Well, not exactly, contemplated
May standing still, and so she waited,
feeling odd and ill at ease
expecting soon to feel that breeze.
Alas it clicked for her that she
had somehow traveled instantly
from in her bed where she laid
onto the home's front lawn, that May!
She knew not what to make of this
and entering would be remiss
of harsh discomfort feelings deep
inside that gave May quite the creeps.
But May's house looked the same as ever.
she didn’t wish to wait forever,
so May walked promptly to the door
turned the knob, prepped to explore.
The lights were on inside, so May
could see the strangeness right away.
Atop a chair, not very big
quite calmly sat a little pig!
"Oh no!" May cried, in a fit
that chair was where her mom would sit.
"Something here is going wrong,
"if this pig used to be my mom!"
"Oh, don't say such a silly thing!"
a voice called out in joyous sing.
Around the corner peered May's mom!
May felt relieved. Nothing was wrong.
"But, May, please be kind to our guest
“We all should put forward our best,"
said Mom who turned and walked away
and left the stranger pig with May.
"Good day, good pig," said May with a wave
trying hard to be behaved.
Then to her horror, the pig didn’t squeak.
It stood up and began to speak.
"I love the dirt and love the filth.
"I love a muddy mess.
"I stink and smell. I'm always gross,
"For that I say, 'God Bless'
"Come join me in my land of dirt.
"Come roll around with me.
"Forget this silly 'cleanliness'.
"Embrace the filth with glee!
"Embrace the filth you have inside.
"You know this 'clean' is not you.
"This virtue of a 'cleanliness'
"is fake, you know that's true.
"Give in to filth; give in to slime.
"Be who you want to be.
"Be mud; be dirt; be filth; be muck;
"be slimy just like me."
May raised a foot and set it down
a step behind her on the ground.
She looked around to find her Mom,
for something here felt very wrong.
"Oh Mother, Mother!" May cried out
stepping out the room to shout.
"Oh Mother, Mother please come near.
"I do not like this pig that's here!"
May found her mother sitting still
reading from a book until
the sound of May, running fast
made her jump, afraid, aghast.
"Now why, May, would you enter so,
"and frighten me like Hell below.
"This better be important May.
"You better have some good to say."
"Oh Mother, Mother, listen here.
"That pig is filling me with fear.
"He spoke of mud and dirt and grime
"and filth and muck and gross and slime.
"I do not want to live like that.
"I'm not a pig or filthy rat.
"All I want to do is play.
"I don't know what to do!" said May.
"Well very good!" said Mother, glad
of the conversation had.
"And one more thing, now that you're here.
"One more thing, my daughter dear."
Wishing that she had been warned
May screamed as Mother then transformed --
first head then chest then bottom third --
from Mother form into a bird!
"You need to clean your room, May. SQUAWK!"
The bird that once was Mom could talk
just like the pig. Oh dear, thought May.
Trying her best to sneak away.
"Stay where you are!" the mom-bird spat.
"I shan't have more of this!
"You'll do what I have told you to.
"Go clean your room young miss!"
May ceased escape and watched the bird
trying to make sense of the absurd.
"My room is clean," she said. "So how
"could I clean more of it right now?"
"The bed's not made. Your toys are out,
"the curtains full of dust.
"You lied about you’re cleaning May.
"I’m losing all my trust.”
"That really doesn't matter cause
"my bedroom never really was
"a place that other people'd see
"if they came over, honestly!"
“It doesn’t matter what you say.
“We must respect our guests.
“We will not have a dirty home.
“We will not share a mess.
“Their comfort is our first regard.
“Just go plug in the vacuum.
“It really shouldn’t be this hard,
“so leave and clean your bedroom.”
May made to speak, but when she tried
the pig from earlier arrived.
It tracked in mud onto the floor
that spread from here to the front door.
“Don’t listen to your mother, May.
“She’s filling you with lies.
“Come lay in dirt and filth, while she
“cleans everything and dies.
“Your mother’s mind is full of fog,
“That woman is bizarre.
“She tells you not to be yourself
“when you know who you are.
“You aren’t clean; you aren’t soap.
“That’s not anyone.
“May loves to play outside with dirt
“and grass and earth and fun!
“Don’t let this foolish birdie play
“a trick up in your head.
“Together we will live out truths
“and play until she’s dead.”
“Don’t listen May” the bird then spoke
“You’re not his, you are mine.
“You surely shouldn’t take advice
“from stinky filthy swine.”
“COME LIVE IN FILTH!” “GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM!”
“LET’S MAKE A MESS!” “GO GRAB THE BROOM!”
“Please stop this horrible display
“of filth and clean,” said frightened May.
She didn’t know what she should think,
but before her eyes could even blink
before another oink or quack
the room before her fell to black.
The spinning and the rushing came,
the falling and the heat again,
the turbulence around her swelled.
May closed her eyes and slowly fell.
May opened up her eyes to see
what her surroundings came to be
and what did materialize?
Her art classroom, before her eyes.
There was no talking pig in sight
or squawking bird to cause her fright.
Her teacher and her class were there
with paints and papers all prepared.
"Good morning, May" the teacher said.
"We were worried you were dead,
"but now you're here and you're alive
"and everyone has now arrived.
"We can now begin our art,
"so take a brush and do your part
"today we paint whatever we
"are feeling deep inside" said she.
The class all nodded and began
each painting what they wanted, and
the room soon filled with paint and grins
(and some discarded drafts in bins).
Their time ran thin but all were done
each thinking that they were the one
who had created the best art
a painting full of thought and heart.
The teacher then observed the lot
These paintings are all great, she thought
as she went looking one by one
admiring what they had done.
The teacher looked at what May did:
a painting of some playing kids
all holding hands and smiling wide.
The teacher beamed at May with pride.
May knew that her work was the best.
She saw the teacher was impressed.
She looked back down at her own piece
which made her feel all warm, at peace.
"I've looked at all the paintings now,
"and also I've decided how
"to judge and to reward the artist
"who has shown themself the smartest."
The classroom quieted and waited
anxious with their breath abated.
The teacher then ripped off her face,
an elephant left in her place.
May screamed and hid under her desk,
the transformation quite grotesque,
but no one else in class did fear
the elephant that now was here.
"Everything is beautiful
"I want to hug it all!
"Let's frame it!" said the elephant.
"And post it in the hall!
"And you there, May, don't hide down there.
"Come look at all the art!
"We can't appreciate it as
"a group if we're apart!"
May peaked her head out cautiously
and looked around the room to see
a tabby cat with orange fur
jump through the window towards her.
May loved the cat she had at home,
and this one looked just like her own.
She smiled and got up to pet
the tabby cat she just had met.
But as the pig and bird had done
and also as the elephant
had spoken words like me or you
the orange tabby cat spoke too.
He went up to the elephant
and turned his chin up, arrogant.
He stared her down like she was poor
and hacked a hairball on the floor.
"You hippie dippie silly fool!
"You think you know it all?
"You're oh so wrong" so said the cat.
"Your words have me appalled.
“You're telling me that when you look
“at all the art before you,
“there’s not even a single piece
“that even slightly bores you?
“If you are valuing them all
“the same no matter what,
“you're simply lying to yourself
“and talking out your butt.
The elephant retained her grin
and pressed her lips together thin.
She shook her head and stood up tall
so ready to address them all.
“I certainly can analyze
“each piece for basic facts,
“describing what each work contains
“and also what it lacks.
“Like these two over here,” she said.
“I'll readily compare.
“The first one's colors are more bright.
“The second one is greyer.
“Or these two paintings over here.
“This one is done in green
“The other one is done in blue
“This one is photorealistic
“using black and grey
“This one is highly-stylized
“and looks like it's crocheted!
“What’s on the page’s objective, yes.
“I will agree to that,
“But valuing one over the next is
“subjective, silly Cat.
“This piece is not a better one
“because the lines are clean.
“This piece is not superior
“because it's done in green.
“Each has a merit of its own,
“for that we all rejoice!
“So go and find another place
“to use your toxic voice.”
May stood there with her painted page,
and watched the cat filling with rage.
May liked to think her work was great
a bit concerned by the debate.
The elephant makes sense to me,
thought May, because ultimately
she wanted validation for
her painting which she quite adored.
But May could not repress the thought
that she alone was she who ought
to be the artist who was blessed
with knowledge that she was the best
Just like the cat had said before,
some other paintings were a bore,
a testament to the obverse.
She knew that some were clearly worse.
But mother always said: "Be kind.
“You need not always speak your mind.”
So may spoke not and readied for
the cat to speak a time once more.
"Please do not listen to her May
“that silly thick-skinned chump.
“Poach her ideas from your mind
“and throw them in the dump.
“Nobody here is saying that
“because a picture's gold
“it's better than the ones in blue
“or black or emerald.
“But there are standards we have set
“in our society
“of what is good and what is bad
“For goodness sakes, it's she herself
“who teaches this here craft
“who tells the youth what's good to do.
“She truly is quite daft.
“If all art is perceived the same
“then tell me what she does?
“She mustn’t teach a thing. Perhaps
“her brain is full of fuzz.
“The fact that we have buildings
“filled with centuries old art
“should tell you that there's something that
“does set them all apart.”
The elephant furled her brow.
She stamped her feet and thought of how
easy it'd be to crush the cat
beneath her feet in one fell splat.
"I give them tools to use however
“they decide to use.
“Now leave my classroom right away
“before you get a bruise.”
“I think it's you who ought to leave.
“Your words have got me bored.
“And while you're gone,” so spoke the cat.
“I'll hand out my rewards.”
“Tell him to leave,” the elephant
commanded May, starting to chant.
"TO LEAVE TO LEAVE JUST GO AWAY”
"I don't know what to do" said May
“Tell her to leave,” the cat shot back.
It's grey blue eyes turning to black.
“Choose one of use to leave here, May”
May chose instead to run away
She left her painting in the room.
It didn't matter as she zoomed
away from all the arguing,
hostility, and bickering.
But as she tried to run away
a massive force came over May
and trapped her sprinting in one place
as dusty fog attacked her face.
Her vision once again was blurred,
her dream of getting out deferred.
She fell and spun was shoved and flew
up and down and in and through
May could not tell which way was which
as she began to twerk and twitch
and fly from north to west to east
until the madness then there ceased.
“Oh, hello there. Are you okay?
“Please speak if you’re okay.
“I hope that you are well, my May.
“I think we both should play! “
May slowly opened up her eyes,
behold to her a great surprise.
Around her which had just been dark
Had now transformed into the park!
May’s face lit up. She loved the park.
She loved the grass and trees and bark.
She breathed a breath of fresh park air.
She felt the breeze flow through her hair.
“Watch out, May! Look behind you now!
“A monster’s lurking here!
“He’s moving closer with a bat!
“He’s coming very near!”
May spun around and searched the field,
preparing to attack or shield
herself from this apparent foe
this monster with a bat in tow.
And sure enough, just feet away
a young boy with a bat charged May.
He swung his bat and smacked her knee
and skipped away from May with glee.
May crumpled down onto the grass.
The boy had come and gone so fast.
Her knee was bruised, the damage done.
May looked to where the voice came from.
The voice who warned her of that kid,
a bit too late, but still May did
appreciate the kindness of
the voice she now heard up above.
"I'm flying in the sky my dear.
"I flutter up above.
"I'm sorry that that beast had no
"capacity to love.
"His kind are causes far too lost.
"They never turn around.
"He'll surely keep on knocking children
"like you to the ground."
May looked above and saw ahead
a butterfly with wings of red.
It fluttered down, and carefully
it landed on May's bruised knee.
"A talking butterfly," said May.
"How strange, but not strange for today.
"I thank you for your warning from
"a bit ago. That boy was dumb."
"Now that's the spirit, May my dear.
"Insult that silly foe.
"He made you sad," the insect said.
"Find anger in your woe."
May focused on her bruised knee
and how the kid had smiled with glee.
She looked where he had disappeared
and screamed, "your face looks really weird!
"Your bat is dumb and so are you!
"I hope that you contract the flu.
"I hope that all your family dies,
"and no one at the funeral cries!"
"I hope that wasn't you who said
"that someone else should go fall dead.
"I thought we taught you to behave
"I can't believe you, daughter May."
May turned around to find her dad
berating her for feeling bad.
But clearly he was not impressed
that she had tried her very best
to justly punish that there foe
for being rude and acting so
repulsive while she tried to play.
That's something dad won't get, thought May.
"I know what you are thinking May
"I know what you refuse to say,"
said Dad as he began to itch
and scrape his skin and jerk and twitch.
And with a yank his skin fell down
and crumpled down onto the ground
and from the heap of skin and cloth
arose transformed, once dad, now moth.
His wings were brown but face still dad
with furled brow and eyes still mad.
He fluttered over next to May,
and had his own few words to say.
"Please think about that boy you called
"a hundred vulgar names.
"You think he hurt you just as some
"unfriendly playground game?
"You think his heart is made of stone,
"and evil fills his soul?
"You think that when he bullies he's
"completely in control?
“That 'bully' that you see him as
"is human like you or me.
"His parents or his home life make
"him be what he will be.
"Our children shouldn't take the blame
"for sins that aren't their own.
"Perhaps he was or is abused
"and from a broken home.
May quieted and thought a bit
trying to wrap her mind around it
I mean, she thought, it does make sense
that he'd be mean with mean parents,
being mean all night and day
when he sleeps and when he plays
How very sad that it must be
to live a life with little glee.
"Oh, come now," spoke the butterfly
"You musn't think that way.
"Hard justice is the only way
"to go, my dearest May.
"Just think of what he said, my May.
"That moth hasn't a clue.
"If we forgive the sins of him
"Then why not sins from you?"
"That child hit you with a bat
"and made you feel a fool.
"If we forgive all heinous acts
"then go shoot up a school,
"and afterward say 'I was hit
"'by some kid with a bat,
"'so why should I be punished if
"'he wasn't punished for that!'"
May shuddered at the thought of that,
a world full of kids and bats
with no responsibility
with crimes committed punishment-free.
"That butterfly is not your friend,
"and it should be ashamed
"a guilty party does exist.
"The parents are to blame.”
"Oh really?" quipped the butterfly
"but what about them too?
"What if coming from a broken home
"of them is also true?
"What if when they came of age
"they fell onto the streets.
"You think they changed their broken ways
"while fighting just to eat?"
"If parents are the ones to blame,
"in your thoughts you're alone.
"From the start of history to now
"there are endless broken homes."
Mays eyes began to fill with tears.
Her cheeks flushed red as did her ears.
Her soul and mind both felt so sad.
The bruise upon her knee hurt bad.
She didn't want to feel that pain.
She wanted just to play again.
She wanted just to run around
to feel her feet upon the ground
to play some tag or kick a can
to skip and laugh and play with friends
to play with grass and sand and dirt.
She wanted fun. Instead, she hurt.
Her tears fell down her cheeks and chin.
They fell onto her shirt. But then
she heard a loud and thunderous crack.
And once again, the world turned black.
"I hope that this is over now,
"and I can tell my parents how
"I traveled near and far away
"I think I'm done for now," said May.
Just let me be in bed, she thought.
May's simple wish was granted not.
She looked around and with a flash
May found herself again in class
At least there's no boy with a bat,
thought May, I'd rather not have that.
But that wish fell on half-deaf ears.
A young girl with a bat was here.
"Please do not hit me, please on please.
"I do not want more bruised knees.”
said May as the girl came into view.
"I don't want any trouble with you."
The girl did not even face May.
She dropped her bat and ran away.
May looked at the bat on the floor
then followed the girl right out the door.
May wanted answers, maybe she
knew of the boy who hit her knee?
The boy had a bat and so did she,
so maybe they knew each other. Maybe.
The girl had gone throughout the halls
and taped up posters on the walls.
Each poster read, to May's dismay
"PLEASE FIND AND PUNCH THAT GIRL NAMED MAY"
May pulled a poster off the wall
and moved her way right down the hall,
but the girl was further down the hall
and quickly taped more on the wall.
May did not like that sign at all
the one that filled the hallway walls,
but ripping down could not subdue
the faster girl. What should I do?
Thought May as she fell to the floor
when next to her, opened a door,
and out of it a teacher came
though May could not think of her name.
"What troubles you my darling child?"
the teacher asked. "What’s got you riled
"up sitting on the floor like that?"
May stared towards the wooden bat.
"This poster here, Miss, take a look
"They're everywhere. It has me shook
"and scared and sad and fuming mad,
"and overall I just feel bad."
The teacher read the sign from May
and knew exactly what to say.
She fell down, grew great tufts of hair
doubled in size, and was a bear.
The teacher-bear was very large
with great big paws, it looked in charge,
but before it spoke, behind the bear
hopped into view, a baby hare.
"Excuse me if I might speak first.
"I see you're troubled, May.
"You're in a scary place. That's true,
"so here's what I can say.
"Run down the hall and to the girl,
"and tell her how you feel.
"Tell her that the signs are mean
"and how your fear is real."
May listened to the hare and said,
"that evil girl must want me dead,
"so how should I react if she
"opts not to interact with me?"
"Well, there are paths that we can take
"if she's not listening.
"The cops exist," the hare confirmed.
"Go tell them everything.
"Or even just the principal
"could get her to obey
"an order to stop this poster thing.
"It's rather simple, May."
"Don't listen to that bunny, child.
"There is no sense in that.
"listen to me," so spoke the bear.
"Go get that wooden bat.
"These signs are not some silly joke.
"They call for violence now.
"If we don't stop this right away
"Can you imagine how
"many people might have read
"these signs, just think of that.
"Right now, there could be millions
"preparing their own bats.
"The only time to act is now.
"Go get that wooden bat.
"Run after her and say your words.
"Prepare your own attack."
"If she continues on her way
"and posts another page,
"you smack the lights out of her head
"and throw her in a cage."
"Well that's convincing, I do say.
"I'd feel much safer then," said May.
The rabbit turned towards the bear
It huffed a huff and puffed its hair.
"If you decide to save yourself
"by launching an attack,
"there's nothing stopping her from turning
“‘round and hitting back.
"You shouldn't bring a bat to fight
"a fight of only words.
"You meet them where they're at and any
"further is absurd.
"But they are not just words you see.
"She's not just being curt.
"For all you know," so said the bear.
"She'll be dead in the dirt
"in just an hour's time if these
"here posters stay up high.
"Does she not have the right to stop this
"if she may well die?"
The rabbit bared its little teeth,
and so the bear too bared his teeth.
The bear's teeth snapped; the bunny screamed
while frozen May stood in between.
Thick sweat beaded from her pores
while salty tears from May’s eyes poured.
She hugged her arms around her knees
and yelled and screamed her desperate plea.
“I cannot do this all again!
“I won’t embrace the inhumane!
“I do not want to stay with all
“these animals inside this hall!
“I do not want to die today!
“All I want to do is play!
“I do not want to feel this hurt!
“I do not want to feel this hurt!”
Then like before the darkness came,
and snapped May to the astral plane.
Sensations came and left so fast,
arriving once the next had passed,
a discombobulating trip
accelerating as she slipped
from hot to cold to soft to sharp
electrifying light to dark.
May squeezed her eyes shut very tight
To shut out all and any light.
She spun and fell and jerked and popped
and twisted taut until it stopped.