Whipping Out the Ornery

Whipping Out the Ornery

some things
are real
some things are true
and accepting them
is like spanking 

as a kid
breaking a window
scratching my father's car
getting a bad grade
were things
i prayed
would blow over
that might escape
or things
i could lie about
to escape the punishment
of a spanking
a paddling
a whipping
a whooping
a swatting......

i'm no longer a kid
and i still don't like spankings
never grew into the taste
but sometimes
you still gotta tighten those ass cheeks
and give yourself
a good old swatting
not with a switch
or a yardstick
or a ping pong paddle
or a flat hand
or a belt
like my father used to
but with what you know
you can't hide from

i was swatted enough as a kid
that i finally got tough
and didn't allow myself to cry
and i still don't
but every now and then
something comes along
that wants
to make me cry

i hate it so much
i usually turn the hate of crying
against that thing
that's trying 
to make me feel
but that's unfair
cause the thing
that wants to make me cry
doesn't deserve a whipping
so sometimes
when i'm alone
i let it
give me
the whipping 
i deserve
and i cry
like a child
for just a second
where nobody else
but me
and that thing
that makes me cry
can tell

i remember 
as a kid
shooting a neighbor's cat
with my slingshot
it didn't kill the cat
i wasn't meaning to kill
i was just an ornery 
sometimes mean
but somebody saw me do it
and they told my grandma
so she whipped me
with a switch
i'm gonna beat the ornery out of you
i know
her whipping 
wasn't malicious
cause malicious
would have been
telling my father
about the slingshot
and the cat
and maybe
in spite of her whipping
that's what i loved about her
the most

it's rare
that i take a whipping
but when i do
when i allow myself
to beat out
whatever it is
that comes out
when i give myself that switch
i don't know what it is
that gets beaten out
but sometimes
i think
it might be love
a love
i refuse to feel
or accept
until i've beaten it out
with the truth

whipping that thing out
that i notice
only comes out
when thinking of her
a stark truth
that maybe
whatever that thing is
it might be love
for my grandma
for her love and protection
in the paradox
of her whipping
that saved me 
from him

fucking paradoxes
like the pleasures 
in tracking down truths
but the pain 
some reveal too
in truth's 
all or nothing game

pleasure and pain
like that mean kid
with his slingshot
going after cats
that ornery little bastard
who was mean
but could also

all of it
the paradoxes
directed inward
beating her love for me
my love for her
out of myself

those truths
between the incongruities
painful to acknowledge
but pleasing to chase
like this honest pursuit
of fitting things together
the labor
of beating it out
whatever it is
like the ornery 
she tried beating
out of me
a long 
time ago

but alone now
without her
to swat it out
so it's all on me
to swat it out
by myself
with some truths
i just can't leave alone

beating it out
with these words
giving rise 
to those musty feelings again
for a moment
by their escape
and their odor
they're still in there

those feeble old feelings
mere reflections
of some sad old truths
old truths and feelings
well hidden
but struggling out
once in while
for a glimpse of daylight
and a breath of fresh air
giving me pause
to want to cry
while warming my coffee
but loathing their tenderness
fearful of their weakness 
so stuffing those relics 
back inside
before anybody else
but her
and me
where they went

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