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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Skinhead

My mother speaks softly – yet, with urgency and with passion –

her mouth very close to my ear

So I will clearly hear her –

so I might plainly understand…


“let it end here” she whispers,

“let it end here with you”


(I am 13 years old)

____


My brother’s black combat boots were made for stomping

Plath would describe them with German words…

But that isn’t exactly the case here -

they are English (very English) with proud yellow threading…


I sit alone in a corner painted unblemished white,

my young, uneducated, and ignorant skin, delicate -

my older brother is hardened and cracking alabaster (he is 17)

boots and braces – boots and braces…

I watch him – I watch them -

with unrestrained curiosity and with the longing to belong


“why don’t you come join us?”, she asks with a gentle and genuine smile –

She looks at me sideways, as if I am a dog…

She sits next to my brother on the couch, his hair cut short

I return her smile – “okay”, I say as my shyness instinctively looks down at the floor

I look up to see her skin – it glows like flawless pearls, like fresh ivory in the sun

I see my brother smiling, his arm authoritative, protectively and lovingly wrapped around her

“I’m Julie, your brother’s girlfriend” she tells me, while extending a hand of welcome and hello

“I’m Jimmy”, I bashfully whisper

and from that day – I was always included…


Nobody picked on me at school again –

Nobody – ever – not even once


“1488” my brother says in a serious tone with a cig hanging from his lips –

as he cracks open another beer -

His testosterone mates sit around us – on the loveseat – in the floor –

on plastic chairs we’ve brought in from the outside patio…

Our home is a sort of meeting place…

Julie sits half on my brother’s lap and half on the couch armchair -

She smiles at me warmly – and I smile back at her…


My insecurities and social awkwardness (for years) cut into me like fresh wounds -

Then, my brother’s girlfriend brought with her thread and a needle –

She stitched me up. She made me feel whole again (or, for the first time)

At first she called me “Little Bird” – now she calls me “Betrachtung” –

because I am becoming my brother… quickly


“All cops are bastards”, my brother’s best mate says

“Fuckin’ right (!)” my brother says loudly and with authority

…I sit on the floor, proudly chalky – and nod my head approvingly as I sip my first beer –

with anarchist boots on my feet, a plaid shirt buttoned all the way up (boots and braces) -

I’ve learned to look at people sideways – as if I’m always judging them – as if they are dogs -

and I do it well (I’m now 15)

____


They are like the unwanted bleeding rust on metal farm equipment –

They are like the vomit that follows a good night of alcohol on the town –

They are the vermin that walk our streets…

____


Into our home…

They bring it into our fucking home…


Like molten lava that has been vibrating fiercely beneath the surface that suddenly explodes – they force themselves through our front door –

knocking my mother backwards as they shove passed her…

It is white hands against black bodies and black hands against white bodies –

…with unrestrained violence -

Fists and anger and reputations and judgements and fists and fists –

and blood…and a young black boy near the fallen television is knocked down and is no longer moving…


Unstable and already wobbly cheaply-made tables and chairs collapse as human faces, backs and limbs are crushed by them –

The sloppy upholstered couch with gaudy flowers is quickly upended as glass bottles and ceramic dinner plates fly through the air –

Smashing against people – smashing against the fucking walls


It isn’t until the living room lamp falls to the wooden floor beneath does my mother begin screaming…

The clay lamp shatters – dramatically smashing against the hardwood…

…with my mother fucking screaming…


Julie’s face is bloodied…

– my brother is fighting like hell –

My brother’s best mate has a knife, and he uses it – it’s the first time I’ve watched someone get stabbed…


Moments later my brother gathers me in his arms and wraps his bomber jacket around my body – protecting me –

he motions to Julie and to our mother to follow -

we run into my bedroom and lock the door…

…as all hell rages on beyond us


The sounds from the ambulances and the police cars are growing louder…

____


Two months later, my brother dies…


A black boy stabs him to death in our front yard during the glaring light of the early afternoon Saturday sun –


I watch his body hemorrhage upon the grass until it no longer does –

His eyes, then, stare blankly and are still and without emotion into the mournful sky


I listen to my mother scream –

and she hasn’t stopped…

____


“It ends here”, I say with authority

“it fucking ends here”


It motherfucking ends here, with me

____


The world is truly a magnificent place

When you accept its beauty – all of its beauty

It is multicolored and breathtakingly splendid in all its shades…


and I see it all…

Finally - I fucking see it all (I am newly 16)


I look into the grey sky above – the rainclouds are quickly moving away…

Re-introducing beautiful light blue,

the storm clouds being replaced by cottony white…


“It ends here with me” I scream with urgency and with passion

into the clearing sky above


I scream these words so that others will hear me –

so they might plainly understand


Glossary/References


German language reference is from Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy”, from her collection of poems, “Arial”. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48999/daddy-56d22aafa45b2


Braces = Suspenders


14 – 14 words used by neo-Nazis/fascists (and known as “14” – often spoken as a greeting – sometimes followed by “88”): “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."


88 – Heil Hitler. “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet and spoken alone or after “14” (1488).


Betrachtung – German for “Reflection”.


Photo: Jimmy Broccoli with the mask from his second collection of poems, "Rabbits".


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