Lip

I can’t remember a time

when I didn’t have the lip

from first

being able to talk

I learned

that I could infuriate folk

by telling them truth

this incurred fist

then shh!

or

don’t!

violence behind the scenes

then I made the bullies cry

by telling them

what nobody else would

their history

futures

creating nicknames that stuck

fat tony

for the one who loved

to throw his weight around

he learned to stay away

& pick on others

who couldn’t fight

lip quick

my lip was faster than their fists

my fists

& yes I’ve been cruel

for fun

the easy laughs young girls need

give young men reason to accept

teachers competition

in their arena

theirs the art of the controlled put down

snide asides

& I learned

this was their floor

to let them have their show

ours were the hours later

to pick apart their jousts

let the pain drain away

until we were strong enough

to have learned their tired routines

& prod them into submission

that is the problem

of teaching with hate to kids

we pick it up

real quick

 

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