sweet dreams are made of this

Originally I went to junior college to be a poet. So many things to laugh about in that sentence. The smirking monkey in me wants a laugh, to deflect the shame.

Many people speak with pride that they are the first in their family to graduate college. I didn't graduate from high school, but got a GED at the behest of my parents. Busted smoking weed during my junior year my parents reaction was to transfer me to the high school where my mother taught so she could keep an eye on me. Ironically I spent more time high there than at my old school where I rarely smoked.

sister spirit, not my photo

I'd been given a job at the bookstore/office where we sold pencils, pens and paper, I'm guessing.

A predominantly black student population, variously kids came in and asked me to give a "solid quarter" for loose change. Several attempts and miffed explanations later I understood, "oh, you want a quarter!" It was no help that I was infrequently very stoned. Roaring in one morning my mother found me goose-eyed and afloat, thus ending of my pencil shilling days.

Terrified everyday, I sat behind a very tall boy in my home room who would turn around, eye me fiercely and say, "I'm gonna kill you." When he regularly pinned me against my locker with a low husky whisper repeating his threat, I believe him. Either he wanted to fuck me or kill me, I wasn't sure which but confident my future held something untoward.

Maybe it was after a semester at this school where I was compared by a teacher to my smarter brother as I fumbled, oh, everything. On a whim a friend and I ran away for a week, shoeless, we never left the county but house-hopped, sleeping on the floor of an orchard, we exposed ourselves to great danger, desperate suburban girls. When I returned home my mother had me arrested and taken to juvenile jail. After an unexpected strip search, shower and clothes change I took a good nap in my cell while a lawnmower hummed in the periphery. When my parents picked me up my father had adjusted the locks on the back doors to prevent me from escaping. That's when I decided it was time to check out and into a psychiatric hospital.