ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem was a commission for [personal profile] dialecticdreamer and is presented here in barter for her poem "Childish and Foolish." It fills the "waterboarding" square on my 6-10-13 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest and the "first kiss" square on my 5-22-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project. It is a prequel to the story "Don't Try This at Home."

WARNING: The following poem contains intense topics which may disturb some viewers. Highlight to read the warnings, which are also spoilers. A happy interracial relationship is interrupted by bigoted hazing. Teen boys emulate waterboarding which they have seen on TV. Unsurprisingly this results in PTSD.   If you're not sure whether you want to read this poem, [personal profile] dialecticdreamer is willing to discuss it without spoilers so you can make a more informed decision.


"Sloppy and Wet"


The first time TeJay kisses Emily
it is sloppy and wet and wonderful.

She is everything he wants,
her blonde hair bouncing,
her eyes bright and green
as bottle glass in the summer sun.

She teases him gently,
calls him her Cocoa Puff,
pulls his brown hands to her waist
where it flashes pale between
her top and her shorts.

Her lips are pink and full
as strawberries, shiny
because she keeps licking them,
and he chases the taste of
lip gloss into her mouth.

They hardly know what they're doing;
they slobber on each other a bit
and bump noses and giggle
and don't care at all.


When the jocks catch TeJay
to teach him a lesson, it's even worse.

Dan and Eric and Jonathan
hold him down on the picnic table
but instead of rubbing dirt on his face
like they usually do, Rob wants to try
something he saw on TV.

The next thing TeJay knows,
they've got someone's wet bandana
pressed over his face, and
the damp cloth feels like that first kiss
and all he can smell is strawberries
because their girlfriends use
the same brand of lip gloss
and all he can breathe is water.

TeJay bucks like a bronco,
frantic with sudden strength,
manages to kick his ankles loose
from Eric's grasp and scramble away.

TeJay wipes his mouth
with the back of his hand,
trying to stop feeling what he feels,
wet rag like soft lips that won't stop,
strong fingers that don't want to let go.


The first time Emily kisses TeJay
it is sloppy and wet and horrible.

He jerks away, desperate to escape
the clench of her hands and
the press of her lips against his.

He's choking on the smell of strawberries
and the memory of water poured over cloth
and the feel of something dragging over his mouth.

TeJay tries to explain,
but now Emily's looking at him
like he's lost his head,

Dan and Jonathan are laughing again
while Eric just stares at him
and whoever said that
high school is hell on Earth
sure knew what they're talking about.

* * *

Notes:

The First Kiss trope is popular in entertainment, but a part of everyday life too. Know how to have a first kiss.

Racism raises issues for most interracial couples, and it can be difficult to overcome. There are ways to deal with such disapproval.

Hazing and bullying are closely related activities meant to enforce social boundaries. There are alternatives to hazing that offer better group bonding. Understand how to prevent hazing and stop bullying.

Waterboarding is a form of torture intended to create the sensation of drowning with minimal risk of physical harm. You can watch a video of a waterboarding demonstration undergone as research for an article. Take steps against waterboarding and other kinds of torture.

Psychological trauma can result in flashbacks and other symptoms. Scent is particularly prone to triggering flashbacks. Understand how to cope with such intrusive memories.

High school can be hell for many reasons, but most especially for students who are bullied.

Difficult, complex, satisfying.

Date: 2014-06-08 04:50 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I postponed reading this until I was in a pretty good frame of mind, and I'm both glad that I waited, and glad that you handled something so potentially damaging with concern and tact.

The reactions are complex, which I appreciate (and usually prefer) and which also helps shift focus away from the event to its effects.

It's satisfying both because it spotlights several modern problems, and because it does so in a way which is NOT solved immediately.

These concepts /all/ need more discussion in our society, rather than sweeping them under the rug as things which happen Somewhere Else to Other People.

Thanks for posting this. OH, and please add in the header that I am willing to discuss this with a hesitant reader without giving spoilers, as this /is/ more intense than the Schrodinger's story which follows these events.
Edited (forgot a phrase.) Date: 2014-06-08 04:51 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-08 01:28 pm (UTC)
raze: A man and a rooster. (Default)
From: [personal profile] raze
This is really beautifully and effectively written. I'm impressed. Thank you for sharing.

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