When the Shutters Close



We live in normal houses

in Midwestern America

we are a concentrated, suburban, legacy

long after we are gone

our worlds will be memory.

Lives have been led

along facades, frames, fades.

We need to recognize

in a word, life isn’t what it seems.

When I look at you across the avenue

I debate about what will happen

when the shutters close.

Same old story perhaps;

what if someone wondered?

How about the truth

that every night

when frustration mounts

you punch your daughter

for your own misgivings!

I noticed the other afternoon

tending your garden

she wore long sleeves in the humidity

such a sweet young smile

hides the pain that well, yeah,

when the shutters close, rage creates.

This morning in class

her monologue brought tears to my eyes

I questioned how such a beautiful woman

survived only menacing glares all night long.

And then her eyes glanced the room

she smiled a lovely elegant manner,

she talked of her mom and how she misses her.

A weep dropped a tear from her eye

that without words anymore

spoke aloud:

I am a survivor.



Remember me

The kid you put all your energy toward

Without knowing why

Just because

In a moment

You decided today was going to be

My destiny in your hands


Funny thing a face

Can be recalled

More quickly when alone

Rather than in a crowd

Seems every instance of pain

Amplifies the surrounding

Elements of discord


A year away and you’ll forget

So many faces have crossed

Paths with your angst

A simple pleasure, whilst

That individual cried out-loud

Walking toward you

Reflection of another day


Imagine how we might embarrass a bully

With an altogether assortment of faces

A Bully Moment (Will There Be Shame)

Today’s ‘moment’

Came in a picture

A little boy

And I do mean little


Young enough to cry

Innocence that creates naïve

Mystery mixed in with the ugly

Reality of actions that may

Resonate throughout his

Remaining childhood


If childhood exists any longer


I see the boy standing

With a badge of dishonor

While mom ‘looms’ nearby

Not sure why

But I can’t see any humor

In her eyes

Though there is that pain

I can’t tell in the fuzziness

Of the glossed over moment

Whether there are tears

Or strains of rage


Someone took the photo

Who are they?

Family friend of torture

A passerby that knows no


Just wants to recognize

A display of pure ugliness


Who am I today

Another passerby

Noticing a moment

A little boy

Carrying a sign

With pain in his eyes

I wonder about him in ten years

When he reflects upon this day


Will there be shame?bully


I don’t like you

You scare me

When you look happy

I feel threatened

I don’t care about you

Just give me attention

When I hate you

People think I am happy

You understand right?

When I slap you it matters

You’re my investment

I have to hurt you …

So I, uh, well I’m not ready

I won’t apologize

For living this way

Not caring about you

I mean

I don’t know how to

Any more

Than you know how to

Prevent me from

Treating you like a




Dis me

And I will slap you …

People watching

Need to know

I won’t back down

Until you are crying

Until you recognize

The lies that you believe

Are simply the


The why

The lie is why

I want to feel strong

People like me

People choose me

I’m a safe bet

I’m an American boy