JANUARY Featured Student Writing

January 26, 2017 | 826 Blog Post


Cameron Plesco, Age 16

I grew up learning simple things.
We all went to school,
All of us learned it was 1-2-3.
There were 26 letters in the alphabet,
Not 911.

In my time we learned what to do
When there was smoke on the other side of the door.
What to do when we find a gun.
Find a safe place.
Find an adult you know.

How do we find an adult we trust
When we are being beaten
By their belts?
Spoiled by their hands?
How do we find a safe place
When our safe place isn’t safe?
When we don’t have one?

I grew up learning that
Cat rhymed with rat
Hats were worn,
And Bat and bat were not the same thing.

But I also grew up learning that
I was not good enough.
That my voice didn’t matter.

That it did not matter
That I knew 1-2-3
I knew there were 26 letters
Not 911.

It did not matter that I knew
Tug and pug rhymed,
Mugs held my hot chocolate,
And snug was something you
Got from a sweater.

But someone out there
Doesn’t even get snug.
They get cold

They get a festering wound
Not on their flesh but
Written in angry verses
On their heart.

Verse after hateful verse,
Stanza after wretched stanza.
These someones cannot
Bandaid their hearts.

I grew up learning that
If you don’t have anything nice to say
Then do not speak at all.
But what if our words are now actions?

See, this is not just a playground war.
Punches being thrown.
They are childhood memories
Being taken.

And to the someones saying, “I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND!”
No, you don’t.
To the someones whispering, “I understand.”
Do not be scared.

Stand up and rip the belts from their hands,
Burn your not safe places.
Do not take 1-2-3
Do not take rhymes
Do not take 26 letters
Take 911.

And use it.
Do not let the world ruin you.

Dear someones,
Respect your parents
If they respect you.

Dear someones,
Do not let them tear you down.

You are NOT nobodies.
You are NOT shadows and NOT darkness.
You are NOT dogs and NOT hoodrats.
You are somebodies.
You are someones!

Artwork by Natalie Marion, nataliemarion.com

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