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your mother fights with your father
over anything and everything.
you realize at a young age that
your parents will always put
more effort into hating each other
than they'll ever put into loving you.

your mother surprises you and
picks you up from school one day.
she tells you that you're
going on a vacation,
and you're happy because
she's never done this before.

she takes you out of state,
and she promises that
you'll go to the beach soon.
you're so excited.

a few days go by
and you finally realize
that your mother took you
away from your father,

and that once again,
this is about hating him
and not about loving you.

you never go to the beach.

as you get older,
you figure out that
your mother does drugs.

you mop up her *****
some mornings, and you
worry about her health.

there's a program at school
that tells you all about
addiction and drug abuse.

you act like it's dumb,
and you say that you
don't want to sit through
some boring presentation
because that's what all
of the other kids are saying.

but secretly, you want
to know everything.
you can't understand
why your mother
would do something
that hurts her so badly.

you watch your mother
steal money, and you begin
to hide your own cash
in a hole in the wall.

there are times when
your mother runs out of money.
you know that when this happens,
she is going to be very mean.

your mother runs out of money
again. this time, she tells you that
she tried to have an abortion,
and that you are only alive
because she didn't have the money
or a ride to the clinic.

she tells you that if you weren't born,
nothing would be the way that is is.
she says that you were
the one child too many,
the final unwanted responsibility
that she needed to push her off
the edge of sobriety.

you believe her.

as the years go by,
you try every drug that
you come across.

you do drugs to forget.
you assume that your mother
does drugs for the same reason.
you wonder what she's
been trying so hard to forget.
you think that maybe
she's trying to forget you.

your mother leaves your life.
you blame yourself
because she blamed you,
and even if you didn't believe
a single word that she said,
you know that
she truly believed it.
and that hurts.

you move in with your father,
who makes it obvious that
you aren't wanted there either.

you've never had a curfew.
but when you come home
around midnight, your father says,
"only ****** come home this late."

your ask your father what time
to be home, and he tells you.
but he starts locking the front door
a few hours before
whatever time he gave.
sometimes, you sleep outside
on the front porch.

by sixteen, you rarely spend
nights at your father's house,
and you have no idea
where your mother is or
what she's been doing with her life.

you've been told
by your parents that
you are a *****, a failure,
a failed abortion,
and a waste of space.

you tried to commit suicide once,
and when you came home,
your father complained
about the hospital bill.

he wasn't worried
or sympathetic.
he was angry.

in an argument later
he tells you,
"next time, do it right."

you've been told
by your parents
that you don't matter.
you aren't loved.
you aren't wanted.

your parents were
your first tormentors.
they were bullying you
before you even started school.

society tells us that
our parents are always right.

for some kids,
that's good advice.

but if your parents
tell you the things
that my parents told me,

when they make you feel
the way that they made me feel,

you are being told that
you're supposed to believe them.

I still feel like I should be sorry
for not believing their words,

but if I believed everything
that my parents have said,

I would have listened to my father
and made sure that if I tried to
**** myself again, I would finish the job.

if I believed everything
that my parents have said,

I would be dead right now.
I never crouched better
to your chest
like now
when you are
Mummy sparrow leads her chick
Into the garden.
A fluffy baby bird
Beak wide open
Demanding food.

So mother duly catches a grub
To drop it into
That wide open
Clamouring mouth.

Meanwhile, indoors, mamma dog suckles
A crowd of pups
All clambering at her belly,
Grabbing *******
And ******* like there’s no tomorrow.

And in another house
Mother cat is feeding her kittens.
Indeed all around the world
All sorts of animals
Are getting fed by Mum.

But ah, I must stop writing.
My own Mum has called me to lunch:
Glorious stew and dumplings –
Dumplings so soft
With a hint of crust on some.
Followed by her tasty sponge
And custard.
Gran has helped her too
And brought us sweets
For later.

Mums and grandmas:
You can’t beat them.

Paul Butters

© PB 23\10\2020.
Miss You Mum! :(
Tell me mother,
how are your lungs.
how many layers have the tobacco leaves peeled
from those sacs of flesh which give you life.

Tell me mother,
how is your heart
how many years has anger stripped away
from this vessel which keeps you in motion

tell me mother,
how is your brain.
how has the loss made you refrain
from understanding what you have done to me

tell me mother.
will we ever be the same?
or will we stay like this, you frozen
and I, terrified of loving you.
Dearest Mother
I’ve seen your tears
Basked in your smiles and bursts of ire
I’ve seen your hard work
Your hands are calloused,  worn, and brown
But they’re a gentle caress
As they smoothen my frown

Sweetest Mother
You’re all I’ve known
You raised me and loved me
Care is all you’ve ever shown
The taste of your cooking is the call of home
A flavor sweeter than a honeycomb

Joyous Mother,
I will always be grateful
Truly and forever
For all you’ve done

Remember I love you
So smile, laugh, and cry
It'll all be alright
Cause I’ll be here
Right by your side.
My mother, she
Knows more than me,
Though she, like anybody,
Has her own insecurities;
That she doesn’t have a degree;
But she’s been teaching me
Twenty twos years and 5 months,
My sister 5 more years;
She’s been teaching longer than  
most of my buddies;
It’s even worse
For she can’t just fail;
Give F’s and maybe a retrial
My mother,
I tell you she,
Deserves an honorary college degree
For though she says I now know more than her
She was the one helping me through
my cries and utter misery.
It is unfair how the world at large
Took away your student at heart
But I need to apologize
For that in turn
Helped me realise how to learn.
My Mom © 2020 Jana Pelzom
Dedicated to my mother for all she has been through for me. Not everyone gets as lucky but I hope some end up being the lucky strike for other children instead.
in this restaurant
I've never been
your hands are drier than mine
in your eyes the streets get lost forever
in mine they still have life

the brighter your face is
the sadder is mine

like when you told me not to lose hope
because you'll be able to fly someday

like a bird
caught in the shot of the gun
you tell your six year old daughter
all about stranger danger.

“don’t get into a car
with someone you don’t know.”

“don’t listen if they say
that they have a puppy
or candy or something fun.
they don’t.”

your six year old daughter
knows exactly what to do
if she is ever approached or touched
by a strange, unknown man.
but does she know what to do
if the man who touches her
has a seat at the Thanksgiving table?

you tell your thirteen year old daughter
that someone who she loves
should never hit her.

“if punches are thrown, leave.”

“use that can of pepper spray.”

“if you have to hit back,
aim for the eyes, or the groin,
or anywhere weak.”

“run away.”

your thirteen year old daughter
knows to never let a man hit her.
but if he yells at her,
and degrades her, and scares her,
and maybe even grabs her
but not quite hard enough
to leave a bruise, that is still abuse.
did you tell her that?
does she know what to do
if he doesn’t leave any marks
and tells her over and over again
that he’s sorry?

you tell your sixteen year old daughter
to yell “fire!” instead of “****!”

“people will care more
about the well-being
of their own property
than they will about your life.”

“they will come running,
but only if the situation
affects them too.”

your sixteen year old daughter
knows that people can be selfish,
and if they don’t want to see something,
they’ll simply turn the other way.
but there is good in this world too.
there are people who will care
and who will love her
and who she can trust.
did you tell her that?
if she stops believing in love
and genuine people,
does she know what to do?
or will she settle for the first man
who gives her any attention,
thinking that he is all
she will ever find?

you tell your twenty-four year old daughter
that one day, you hope
her future is beautiful.

“marry an amazing man.”

“have grandchildren.”

“live happily.”

when you tell her this,
you unintentionally add
your hope for her happiness
at the very end of your sentence,
almost like an afterthought.
your twenty-four year old daughter
wants to get married
and live in a nice house
and give you grandchildren.
but does she know to put herself first?
or will she marry a man because
she thinks he wants her to,
and have grandchildren
because she thinks that’s what you want?
does she know that
she has her own voice?
did you tell her that
she doesn’t need anyone
other than herself
to find happiness?
means creativeness
Mother is solacement
in sadness

Mother is the
basic nature of existence
Mother is synonyms of

Mother is the
symbol of strength
Mother is

is entirety
Mother is

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