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Runaway Child, Go Home

August 19, 2016

Sean Michael, July 2016

I sat at the table with a cup of decaf—
All they would allow in the psychiatric ward.
I clipped the story of your murder from the paper and put it away,
Now I see you in my dreams.

Oh, runaway child, you remind me of myself,
I shed one thousand tears for you,
Because in my mind I know you so well,
Lost and too trusting in a world that is cruel.

I scream at the injustice!
Pillow made of concrete,
Oh, runaway child, what causes you to run?
Thirteen years young and life had just begun.

I’m transported to my past,
And I’m running beside you.
Take my hand now and we’ll travel through the years,
Searching for something:

Freedom,
Love,
A hand to hold,
A peaceful place to rest until the rising of the sun.

And this is why we run,
But no more.
No more running,
Go home and take back these tears.

National Network for Youthhttps://www.nn4youth.org/

Posted for  dVerse Poets, Open Link Night #178, August 25, 2016

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From → BLOG, Poetry

49 Comments
  1. A pillow made of concrete says it all… I just hope we could help more of all those lost children… i hope our poetry can help.

    Like

    • I hope to be able to reach out with my poetry, blogging and other writings. Hopefully, I can at least be a voice for them. For us. Thank you for letting me host d’Verse. It was fun and I think t is a good idea to feature writers in this way.

      Like

  2. The second stanza is intense. One thousand tears – that number, so high, indicative of the large numbers who are represented in this poem. “Lost and too trusting” those words show the innocence within these runaway children — even when they are becoming hardened to a world that seems to have forgotten them. May they all have a hand to hold —

    Like

    • When I hear about these people, I write their names down on a piece of paper. It makes them more real to me. Some I’ve forgotten, but many I remember. Jaycee Dugald, Chelsea King, Amber Dubois, Alyssa Gomez, Sara Kruzan, Tommy… and many more.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So very sad. These runaway children – too trusting, too hardened. I too hope we can help these children/adults. One thousand tears – such a small number for the large number of lost. Perhaps the bitterness has sponged away the tears.

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    • It is sad. I used to run away from my placements. Luckily, I mostly encountered people who wanted to help, not hurt me.

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  4. Yes, that pillow made of concrete – I can’t imagine. I’ve slpet on a few floors, and out of choice, but not on the street, thank fully, thankfully. You write with such honesty and so directly, but also with a wonderful ethereal feel.

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    • Once I ran away and wandered the town until I literally fell down on the sidewalk and went to sleep. I awoke to someone pacing back and forth near where I was, and when I got up, they just walked away. I like to believe they were looking over me, but the world sort of scares me — who knows how many dangers I’ve escaped…

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  5. This speaks to my soul. Great to meet you Sean…I’ll be following and look forward to reading more of your offerings 🙂

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  6. Oh, runaway child, you remind me of myself,
    I shed one thousand tears for you,
    Because in my mind I know you so well,
    Lost and too trusting in a world that is cruel.

    This is soo touching.. so deep.. so poignant..!

    Like

  7. I’ve run away a few times but was always lucky and landed on my feet. Looking back, I could so easily have been that runaway child. Such a heartfelt poem that hits you like that concrete pillow. Keep writing, Sean.

    Like

  8. Shawna permalink

    This is fantastic.

    My word … this:

    “Pillow made of concrete,
    Oh, runaway child, what causes you to run?
    Thirteen years young and life had just begun.

    I’m transported to my past,
    And I’m running beside you.”

    Incredibly powerful, moving poetry.

    Like

    • I’m glad you are moved by the poem and got to hear from someone you can relate to — me — cool!
      If you ever wanted to write and talk to me, I’d write back. My address is on the “About” page.

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  9. Thanks for letting Bjorn post your story at dVerse today. We all walk such different paths, but need to hear each other’s stories in order to learn and grow. I’m sure that, like today’s poem, you can understand the hurts and fears of those runaway kids better than most of us. Great honesty in your writing!

    Like

    • Thank you. I’m glad Bjorn was able to post my story, too, and I’m glad for the turn out. I’ve written lots of poems about the struggles of young children in adverse situations, and ultimately, I hope to be a voice for them and help them in whatever way I can.

      Like

  10. I love the compassion in this for the runaway child. I’ve long thought that if we must go through difficult — even impossible — circumstances in this life, if we can at least let us teach us compassion for others it’s not a complete waste.

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  11. A heartbreaking and powerful piece. Your words will inspire. ❤

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  12. So poignantly expressed, Sean. I worked for many years in a juvenile prison, and saw first hand the effects of this life and circumstances in the lives of many children. It’s heart wrenching. Lovely poem.

    Like

    • I wanted to have my juvenile record sealed and work in a Juvenile Correctional facility. I always told staff “You don’t understand.” I do. The thing that disturbs me about the juvenile system in California is there are no real therapeutic groups to teach kids social and coping skills, things like filling out job applications, or any future-oriented programs. It’s more about trying to manage the troubled youth for benefit of the institution’s security. All the years I spent in juvi, I spoke to a councilor once.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a shame. I could go on about the problems here, but we did have therapeutic groups, as well as individual counseling, that were beneficial.

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  13. Glenn Buttkus permalink

    Sean, I feel your words, feel the breeze from your vibrating poetic soul. As I sit here at my computer, ready to do research, reliant on spell-check, access to images, quotes, data–I think about you sitting quietly at a table scribbling something on paper that will find its way to your grandmother who upgrades it to the web–& I have to applaud you. I write first drafts in longhand, but as for the rest, you outshine all of us/ Keep writing, for the love of it, for the sanity, & the fellowship.

    Like

  14. Thanks for sharing your journey with us Sean. And I hope you continue to write and pour yourself to words that speaks honestly of your challenges. I love the ending and the hope for all those young runaway children lost in the streets. All the best!

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  15. Great piece. Thanks for sharing your story on dVerse. Continue writing. 🙂

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  16. I was thinking going “home” for the 13-year old was heaven. For many runaways, home is hell. Very strong piece, as is the topic.

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    • This is true and just goes to show how powerless and helpless children can be–with tough decisions and no real guidance.

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  17. Sean, I read your piece at dVerse and wanted to send you a message. First of all, this poem is very moving, and I can see why you understood that young boy who was running from a life that was too cruel, as you made the same difficult journey as a child and young adult and now are making a longer harder one. I applaud you for writing – and for caring – and am pleased you have a book out. You mentioned the cost in your feature and I wanted to let you know that there are online self publishing places that are affordable and easy to use. I know you dont have access to computers right now (you should ask a counsellor if there is a way you could earn back those privileges? because you really need them) Anyway I use lulu.com. You choose the type and size of book you want, select the template and download it. Onto your hard drive. Then you simply input your poems onto the template, when it is done you upload it and they turn it into a book. I did one with over 200 pages, paperback, bookstore quality for just under ten dollars a book. Then you can sell it through lulu, through your website (direct access, people click on the link and order right from lulu, you dont have to do a thing) and there is the option of having it marketed on amazon as well…….all for the at-cost price of the book………..you can add a few dollars to the price if you wish, and the difference comes to you…….but the main thing is it is affordable, and gets your work out there – plus it feels so great, doesnt it, to see your words in book form? Without access to the internet it makes it tough – how good is your granny at inputting poems onto a template? Tell her I’m a grandma, and I managed it, though I never would have dreamed I could. All the best to you, kiddo…….stay strong, and keep caring for those young boys whose lives are so damned hard.

    Like

    • I have read about Lulu and a couple of other services. Page Publishing handles distribution to retail outlets, royalty generation, ebook conversion, establishing wholesale accounts, insurance, shipping, etc. They’ll only receive 10 cents a book after I recoup my costs. Right now I’ve got my eyes on an agency that handles short stories, poetry, and non-fiction. All areas I am interest in, but I have taken notes on many ways to publish and keep options open. Thank you very much for your kind advice.

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  18. Such an intense write….I liked the way it ended, with hope. Write on and write on…. so much respect for your grandma…

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  19. THis is so beautiful and intense and heartbreaking. You write so well.

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    • Thank you. My book Stygian has some of my very early poems and some more recent. For a long time, I have written about poverty, drug abuse, neglect, and my own struggles with self-mutilation, depression, and suicidal ideations. I want people to read about these problems and know they are real.

      Like

  20. A sweet and touching tale. I hope you are released soon….I know writing helps. Cross your fingers and click your heels three times, things could be worst.

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    • I go to the parole board in 2032. A couple of years ago, I was charged with manufacturing a weapon and plea bargained for 32 months added to my 25 years. “soon” isn’t likely, but hopefully, someday.

      Like

  21. Sean, your poetry and your story touch me so deeply. I believe you have so much to offer wherever you are. Sorry I missed OLN–I was with my mother who I thought was dying until she decided she would rather have a Big Mac and Fries. 95 years old.

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    • Go Mom! Good choice. I know you are on Goodreads, and my grandma recently started a Goodreads page for me, if you are interested in linking up,.

      Like

  22. I missed OLN also but I read your presentation and knew of you through your former posting on dVerse. I applaud you for sharing your words and your soul, with others. You never know when something someone reads will impact their lives and bring about change for the better. You have a powerful message to share. You’ve been warmly embraced by this dVerse community and I hope your grandmother sees this message of deep gratitude for being the bridge that connects us to you.
    Gayle ~

    Like

    • Yes, I have been warmly embraced by dVerse, and I’m glad my grandma found it. Hope to continue to post and comment back and forth with you. I appreciate all the support I get, even if it is only clicking “Like” or “Share” or commenting with feedback, advice or information. I hope to network with other poets and make positive things happen.,

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      • I’m glad your grandma found us too. And it sounds like you have a good plan in place. I wish you well, Sean Michael!

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