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Michael Maguire

Rookie (Arlington MA)

Shelter From The Storm

Junior High was a rough time
My mother would stop taking her medication for schizophrenia
at the end of the summer every year
and go psychotic in the fall like clockwork

Year after year this would happen
She would lock me out of the house at night
I had to take the unscrew the deadbolt on the porch door on the second floor
and climb up to get in

She would smash things
Rant and rave,
Talk to the devil while sitting by herself
Throw everything she could get her hands on
and even physically attack me

It was an experience of pure terror for me
I would retreat into my room and barricade the door with my dressers
Put on Headphones and crank up the music to ten
I would listen to Rush, Thin Lizzy, Cheap trick
and many other bands that were popular at the time

While my mother was out of her mind I would be filling my mind
With lyrics like those from the Analog Kid by Rush below
“You move me
You move me
With your buildings and your eyes
Autumn woods and winter skies
You move me
You move me
Open sea and city lights
Busy streets and dizzy heights
You call me
You call me”

I liked music that had a heavy driving beat
and was a wall of sound
Complex beats and great lyrics pulled me towards them
I would retreat into all that and lose myself to the hell that was my home

It is only in hindsight I can see how great art saved me
Whether it was music or books
I even had a phase when I was reading forty different comic books each month
In junior high
All of it saved me and helped me to carry on

It was constructive and expanded my consciousness
Unlike the booze that was destructive and limited my intellect

Listening to Rush and looking back
I can only think “thank god for great art”
When times get tough
Great art will help you hold on until brighter days come again

I would like to tell you how tough I am
To have survived all that
But I would be lying
Because I had a tremendous amount of help

By Michael Maguire

Submitted: Thursday, August 22, 2013
Edited: Friday, August 23, 2013

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

I retreated into great art as a kid to survive a terribly abusive environment. As an adult I was crushed by PTSD and alcoholism which was driven by the unresolved pain of my upbringing. I have had great healing in my life and do not hurt like I did when I was younger. I suppose this poem is just a thank you to all the people I never even met that helped me to survive my time in purgatory.

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