Wednesday, January 16, 2013

you know the toilet paper is cheap when you get paper cuts

street art, Richmond, VA

Will Robinson! Will Robinson!
it's time again,
DANGER! DANGER!

& truth be told you can find it anywhere,
even going to the bathroom

                     (if you know what you are
                                                  doing.)

his sister sits in a padded chair,
among the mothers waiting to pluck
children from the bowels of classrooms
when the bell rings (when the bell rings!)

it's been a year since they fired me,
(you can't counsel when the client is unwilling
or the guardian no longer wants accountability)

'how's your brother doing?'

'oh hi, he's great. at home with mom, home
schooling now, still out in the woods
every chance he get's.'

'that's great to hear.'

'yeah your time with him did wonders.'

'i appreciate that. they still down
in Alta Vista?'

'yeah.'

i let her go, her step son running
the shiny tiles---glad there is still space between us,
the last thing we did before, was report her brother
to the authorities. on the way to the store,
he casually looked at me, deadpanning

'wouldn't it be fun to have a sniper rifle
on top of the Walmart.'

yes,
  yes,
     YES, Will Robinson, it's time to run,
DANGER, DANGER, DANGER
walks among
us, unchecked---& they fired me
for telling someone.

written for Poetry Jam

happened about 18 months ago and while at the time i did not lose my job i lost the client for reporting his threats and behavior. the mom was afraid they would take her son away if i kept reporting on him. denial and avoidance---one of the greatest dangers.

76 comments:

Mary said...

One

Mary said...

GOod grief, there is danger around us for sure. joust yesterday they arrested a man in our state Capitol with a explosives. And he had put a video on Facebook. Good for you for reporting what you heard. Who knows.............

Kelvin S.M. said...

...such gesture shouldn't be tolerated indeed...as for me, i'd rather lose my job in doing what i feel right than be retained and feel uneasy for not acting what's ought to be... danger these days are more dominant..sadly...

Laurie Kolp said...

I remember you talking of this before... you did the right thing. So you saw her? Must have been awkward... for her.

Ravenblack said...

Scary. It's too bad when people simply don't want to see it when they shown the problem.

Susan said...

Power House Poem! "Lost in Space" can be you or he or them or . . . as a teacher, you would be fired if it was discovered you DIDN'T turn this in. Imagine--of course that's the point--that someone in the Connecticutt shooting had this "call for help"--that is what is happening when a kid says Murder/Suicide out loud, isn't it?
Again, I love your technique of Panning first, zooming in, and then back out to the bigger--or more personal--picture.

Pearl said...

Perfectly told.

And perfectly timely.

Pearl

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Wow...this is scary. You certainly did the right thing for sure. Must have been incredibly awkward running into them.

DJan said...

Someone has to start somewhere, Brian. Glad you didn't lose your job. Glad you are not willing to keep your mouth shut either.

JANU said...

Its time people understood the gravity of mental illness, more so when people around them are in denial. The government should help people who cannot afford to get treatment for their loved ones.
Nice message here.

Pat Hatt said...

Damn, that is a danger
As one treats those threats or so called fun ideas as a stranger
Just ignoring what they say
Glad you never did at your bay
People with their eyes wide shut
Need a good kick in the butt
Oh and cheap tp
Isn't somthing to skimp on either at one's sea haha

Gloria said...

OMY! Brian really dangerous! yesterday I heard was other shooting there in USA.
Only I wanna say AGAIN I hate the guns and similars!

Emma Major said...

I know that danger as well, it's hard to.support.people who don't want to

Dave King said...

Scary stuff! Yes there is danger out there all the time. You make the case for believing so with a piece which is beautifully paced. Really good.

Mark said...

As fun as it would be to be on top of Wal-Mart with a sniper rifle, you could probably do more good inside Wal-Mart with one. That was a pretty rubbish situation you found yourself in though, avoidance and denial are two of the most dangerous things a person can do.

farawayinthesunshine said...

danger...indeed...and more danger had you not told...This one is going to stay with me for a long while :/

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Scary. Our society makes it hard to do the right thing. Everybody is afraid of being sued. I fired a store manager because I caught her stealing merchandise. Because I didn't have a witness, the company I worked for hired her back (she threatened to sue) and removed that store from my supervision.

It would seem that this family prefers to hide this young man at home and hope for the best.

SueAnn Lommler said...


that sounds about right!! Sigh!
This world is truly upside down...we live in Dr. Seuss land!!
Hugs
SueAnn

Valerie said...

You did the right thing, Brian, never forget that. It's so easy for those involved to hide behind denial.

Tabor said...

Terrifying to me...even though I know this is true. Everyone understand mental health...except they don't.

Daniel said...

Man you captured the angst and emotions tossed up from both ends here. I feel for you. Perspective can be so different depending on where you stand.

Helen said...

I am sitting at my computer up in my office loft .. I listen as Natalie Morales announces the morning news. Shooting in Missouri, another in Kentucky ... senseless, tragic. Someone should have, might have been able to TELL!

Jenny said...

Brian, there should be more people who speak up, you did the right thing. Scary, most people are afraid to, even when they hear or see things that don't appear to be right!

Brandee Shafer said...

I love that you're the kind of person who does the right thing even when you're punished for it.

Gail said...

The crazies have always been among us. We must make sure the balance remains on the good side of sanity and reason.

Geraldine said...

Sometimes it is so hard to do the right thing.

Thanks for sharing this Brian. It was good of you to step up and tell what you had to.

turtlememoir said...

you did the only thing you could do, brian... being you - thank you.

love the title

Sue said...

Ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And I'm glad you did.

Sorry you paid the price for it later.

"/

Claudia said...

denial and avoidance - dangerous indeed.. i'm glad you reported him..brought back a memory.. my son and a friend were caught stealing in the supermarket, the friend's parents "fished" their son out of it "everyone does this" "no big deal" - we decided to let him go through all this..police report, he had to pay the fine with his pocket money "you did sth. wrong, you bear the consequences" and he hated us and envied his friend...but guess how it developed...? right...

Myrna R. said...

Yes. Client confidentiality goes so far. You did the right thing. Trouble is doing the right thing never guarantees the best result. Still, keep your integrity Brian. Live your conscience.

Paul said...

Keeping your integrity is really important! Good for you!

Heaven said...

I must say that the title post is sure interesting ~ Smiles ~

Denial and avoidance are dangerous, Brian ~ We want to do our part, but sometimes the consequences can be too much ~ I am glad you did what you could, but what will be the cause when it explodes sometime in the future ~

Yousei Hime said...

Those hard choices, even day-to-day hard choices, are where our depth is made evident. Proud to have met you through blogging. :)

Peggy said...

Very scary situation for all concerned. Glad they did not really fire you--in our state you would have been required by law to report him I think. I know my husband had to do some of this--always a difficult situation. You did the poem very well--made it even more dramatic with the firing.

^.^ said...

Working in psych, I feel relatively safe, because of my Boys In Blue (Security) ... being out in public is a different story ... sometimes ...

Alice Audrey said...

And he hasn't taken out a city block yet? We're all lucky.

ps. I read the title out loud to my kids and they were both horrified.

"Owww"

Tara Miller said...

How scary! Denial and avoidance of this type will most likely result in some form of tragedy. I can understand her fear of losing her son but isn't he already lost if he's in that state of mind....maybe reporting him and getting help for him would "bring him back to her" in the end.

Stranger said...

1. The title is fantastic.
2. I'm glad you reported him. I'm disappointed in a system that fires those who mean to protect and protects those who mean to harm.
3. You rock, Brian. Thank you for being so solid, so amazing and encouraging.

FrankandMary said...

What we do, what we don't do...how we feel about it later. I think if you check this that way, you know you are on the right side(& you are).

manicddaily said...

Terrible. Thanks. k.

Victoria said...

Brian, this is so chilling. I can't imagine how frustrating it is to try to counsel when you don't have the backing of administration. I bet after CT they might be rethinking things a bit. I hope.

Casey Freeland said...

Is there anything more wonderful, more supportive, more life affirming and more dangerous than a mother's unconditional love?

Good work Brian.

Casey

Jannie Funster said...

Wow, I'm really sorry you had to go through all that crap, must've been stressful.

I read this one twice to let it all sink in. TG it's all behind you now, eh, and this poem hopefully exorcises the last of it.


hope your new job's going good?!

xox

Betsy Brock said...

hmm...but if he made good the threats, wouldn't she loose him forever? Good grief.

kaykuala said...

Those were trying times you had to put up with. We just cannot explain how others would react. One's conscience is clear on how to react and that's important. Nicely Brian!

Hank

hedgewitch said...

Real life is a scary place.I wouldn;t be a kid in this for anything, and I can;t imagine working with them and trying to deal.

Rebecca S. said...

Poetry is the better weapon. Now you can shake that one off and move on to the next subject. But man, life just isn't easy sometimes!

joanna said...

yikes, brian. a lesson in this, no mistake.

nice image, too. smiles.

SaraV said...

The danger that no one wants to hear. That is frightening! You never know, perhaps there is something you said, that stayed with him, and kept him off the roofs. Excellent write.

Barbara Shallue said...

So sad and so scary. And way too common. I hope you keep reporting anyway. (I have a feeling you will.) But glad you didn't really lose your job.

Lolamouse said...

Hard to help kids when the parent won't admit there's a problem. You absolutely did the right thing. I lost a few clients in my past work by reporting but most actually kept coming. I think the key is trying to keep the connection, which is tough.

adeeyoyo said...

Noone wants to believe that a friend or relation could be dangerous, even someone you know casualy, but surely we can recognise that we don't really know anybody else - not deep down. You wrote this so well, Brian.

poeticponderings said...

...brave of you to do the right thing...very sad though that the mom felt that way. I hope they're in a better situation now..

Also, I really like how you framed this poem. It really sounded urgent... like I'm running away from something dangerous! Bravo!

She Writes said...

Wow. Disturbing. Very. Ugh. Hopefully this is the last place any of us will read about him :(.

Fred Rutherford said...

Excellent write. Love the cutting back and forth with dialog, but really love the cuts to the inner thoughts. The Lost In Space framing allusion is a great touch. Strong piece Brian. Thanks

Robyn Greenhouse said...

Wow - good to know there are people like you doing the right thing!
I was just telling my son about that TV show, the one w/ Danger Will Robinson, the other day!

Lorraine said...

REally there's enough bad stuff out there we don't neeed more stupidity Brian you're just too good for that kind of bull , forget places like that, you're just too good to fall in their trap

ps you'll find me more often at
http://lorraine.aminus3.com/

Lorraine said...

REally there's enough bad stuff out there we don't neeed more stupidity Brian you're just too good for that kind of bull , forget places like that, you're just too good to fall in their trap

ps you'll find me more often at
http://lorraine.aminus3.com/

ladyfi said...

Oh - so sad to hear about this denial that will, ultimately, not help her son.

A Cuban In London said...

Scary, mate, really scary. Glad you didn't lose your job.

Greetings from London.

Susan Lindquist said...

bone-chilling ... particularly given most recent events ... society can be a great enabler of danger in all its forms ... yes? glad you stuck to your proverbial guns ... ugh, sorry.

Susan Lindquist said...

bone-chilling ... particularly given most recent events ... society can be a great enabler of danger in all its forms ... yes? glad you stuck to your proverbial guns ... ugh, sorry.

Tess said...

I'm glad you did what you felt right at the risk of losing a job!

Loredana Donovan said...

Oh my goodness, Brian, your job sounds so stressful, to have to deal with such dysfunction day in and day out. You did the honorable thing. Denial and avoidance are indeed dangerous. We must try to expose the truth and be the light in this world. Smiles and hugs to you :)

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Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
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Patrycja Photography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Ann Potter said...

Everyone else has already said so much, so let me add that I was absolutely struck by the "Will Robinson" lines. I can hear that old robot inside my head now...

You are one masterful writer!

Margaret said...

...my husband sees it all the time in the ER... you did the right thing. Chilling poem (and I love the street art)

Lydia said...

Too frightening, Brian. Too real, too. There is a kid, now back in our neighborhood living with his grandparents. When he lived on base in Germany (stepfather in Army) I saw a pic of him wearing a t-shirt with a sniper rifle and the words, "I kill people." He is one scary guy, and for the life of me I don't know how he was hired as a bagboy at Safeway. He gives me the chills when he bags my groceries. The checkers work hard to engage him with the customers but he is totally unresponsive, inside his shell. I want to report what I know to Safeway, but........

Hilary said...

The kind of statement which makes your blood run cold.

my heart's love songs said...

Jesus, Brian! aren't you REQUIRED to report that kind of thing? it must be of some comfort to have his sister tell you that your time with him did help.

i didn't used to understand parents who are in denial {i still don't, really} until i started seeing it first hand in a close family member. they refuse to listen to anyone about anything they don't want to hear. so sad.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Geeeeeeezzzzz... when will we start paying attention to and coming up with solutions for the dangers we require people (counselors, teachers, social workers, etc.) to report?

I hope the kid is ok. :(

Cressida de Nova said...

Good reason to ban guns. If they are available they will be used.
The countries that have banned them do not have anything like the amount of gun crime of the U.S...The world is made up of 2 groups. One with conscience ,one without.I will leave it to you to determine which is the larger group.

Roslyn Ross said...

I like your take on this. Thought provoking.

Syd said...

Glad that you did what was the right thing. But sorry that there are those who don't care enough to embrace courage or responsibility.

Sheila said...

mom is as sick as the son...manifests in all ways, doesn't it?

FYI, "John Wayne toilet paper...rough and tough, and don't take sh*t off nobody" lol!