Martin Ruveve

Listen To What Happened… - Poem by Martin Ruveve

I was in grade four. One day me and my friend went chasing butterflies and we forgot to come back until we caught the butterflies. I was late for class. My teacher asked timetables. I didn’t know them. He said ‘stretch out your hand! ’ then he hit me. From then on, i wasn’t able to learn timetables. It wasn’t a matter of couldn’t it was a matter of wouldn’t. My teacher recommended that I go back to third grade. I wept. I was in grade four and I couldn’t just go back. Kids can’t do things like that, and I’ve realized that neither can adults. I asked for one more chance. He gave me two days. At home, with grim fierce determination, I utilized every ounce of myself, selecting the toughest questions on the page.., using both toes and fingers, I sorted them. thereby expending more energy than need have been. My teacher asked timetables again. I knew them. I stayed in grade four. A week later I was doing very well in arithmetic. A month later I was solving high level problems. I was the only one in the class who could solve them. I was the youngest in my class. Success elated me so I decided to go a further mile. I studied nights. Now I was in seventh grade. Already, teachers were using me as a model of a perfect student. Everywhere they pointed to me as the example of every parents wish for a child. Now I was in high school and being shown off to boys and girls of my class. Boys and girls of 14 and 15 hate, with fierce hate, a young boy of 11 who could show them off. During recessions they picked on me and teased me. So I had no friends. I compensated for my social deprivation with more study. Now I studied nights in torment and anger. Soon I began to develop scruples, splitting headaches and body fatigue. at age 14 I graduated from high school with flying colors, attaining straight A’s and managed to squeeze in an A+ in Latin language. Success elated me. But by now id already began to feel the effects of my social failure and felt I couldn’t handle it. At 14, I entered college, now I began to fear crowds and people. Everywhere people terrified me. My social deprivation had affected me so much that I wished for death. More than once, I took off the lid of a poison bottle, longing for one good long drink that would end all my suffering. I knew I’d go to hell. Hell couldn’t be worse than my life, but it lasted longer, so I screwed back the top. By now my little mind and body had taken all it could. I broke down with mental maladjustment. After 3 months psychologists decided I was ready to face society again. But I was still scared. However, I decided to go and face reality with the same grim fierce determination with which I once faced arithmetic. But society is different; you can’t do things like that. So once again mental maladjustment stretched out its hand, and I needed a friend!

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, May 7, 2011

Poem Edited: Monday, May 9, 2011

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