What Disney Didn’t Teach Us

This is my piece in support of Summer Solstice’s cause. Spread the word. Thank you.


House of Bricks

Samantha is nine years old
Truth be told
she wants to be a
writer or a dancer or a doctor
She has plans to cure cancer and
cook pancakes every day for breakfast
with real maple syrup
even if it’s more expensive
She wants to travel to bottom of the ocean
and answer fan-mail
But she doesn’t want to grow up
Cuz she’s scared stiff of rock-bottom families
To Sam
adulthood is a fairly common failure
of fantasy meets reality
Her life is a Grimm fairy tale
without the stale Disney edits

She was born to a god and goddess
Honestly she saw them walk on water
A daughter of the Odyssey
her father was Ares
the very meaning of manly
a well-meaning man
a magician who married
He once was prince charming
and called her darling
with a sparkling in eyes that
oversized the love for his other half
Her mother
gorgeous as setting suns
and smelling of bathsalts and sandalwood
She would spin Sam in circles
living in a beautiful family
A blissful family
A family like genie’s wishes

But family of three soon became four
for things rarely stay the same
The new child’s name?
And the licks it delivered were
like iron panpipes in Midsummer Night’s
A panic that
seemed to go bump in the night
that rewrote Daddy
a used-to-be Jolly Green Giant
He used to swing Sam around the room
by her underarms
Arm and arm they would laugh and laugh
through seven seas adventures
staying up past bedtime to
the wee hours while
reading adventures in storybooks
and turning pages with flashlights

To a child’s mind
these moments last a lifetime
but sadly for Sam
they fade faster than her mother’s spotted leopard skin
a sinful trickster tale
a lose-win bet
And how the leopard got it’s spots?
Find a sockful of quarters in his “belt drawer”
She sees him sock it to her
Hears him bruise her
Feels him abuse her verbally
Samantha rocks back and forth with her head
between her knees
The finale comes unsaid
like the silence of the gallows
or alleyways

Samantha scratches tallys in the bedpost with fingernails
for each night without tears
It’s been years since she reached
five in a row
Years since she sculpted a slow
satisfying diagonal hatch
Five times is all she asks
She wants to find a night
Without Mr. Hyde.
Without lies behind smiling teeth
Without a fiery temper
swinging blind
She hides under her bed
and hopes the monsters under there will protect her
Her mother cries the cries
of infinity angels
and Sam goes to sleep with these lullabies

At school she reads of happily-ever-after
The books flatter her
but look closer at the
last pages torn and rewritten in
rage with red pen
Find a final
unhappy end

His paycheck ensures that on the weekends it’s horrible
He is a chancre sore
more dangerous than
eating the porridge of grizzly bears
She locks herself in her room
trembling to the booming voice of the
big bad wolf
Mad, and scary
“come out of this room now or I will
The door
With pounding ringing in her ears
she hears the distant sound of mommy
soothing the beast’s ego with
passive pleas

Sam lives in diseased mythologies
of ancient Greece
A Halloween every day
Every day is Halloween,
He is a ghoul and goblin
ghost and grim-reaper most sinful

like James in a giant peach,
wants to run away in a piece of fruit
away from her abuser
Some days she calls 911 to no dial tone
on disconnected phone lines
and hopes God will connect the call
because Beast is on a rampage
and Beauty is afraid
a lady to his
tramping through the house
with booze on his mouth

This is true life
kids battle the enemies
they find in movies
Fighting off the attacks of villains
with no hands
Or hands behind their backs
They need a hand
They need a happy ending
Give them a helping voice
A second chance
to roll their own dice
They deserve an untainted life
Life can be a grim fairy tale
Give them a day without fear
It doesn’t have to be this way

38 thoughts on “What Disney Didn’t Teach Us

      1. Anansi,
        You couldn’t have timed your comment better given my post today. I also commend you for being an astute psychic.
        Le Clown

        1. Le Clown,
          It’s mostly just sleight of hand. And consulting with otherworldly creatures. But it is you I should commend, on keeping the serious trend of posts this week. The writing may be sobering, but perhaps we can make up for it with numerous humerous omments?

  1. Wonderful job with this heart-wrenching read. You paint a very strong picture with your words and hook your reader from the beginning. Interesting spin on a “fairy tale”. Hard to image that people have to go through this sort of thing.

    Well done.


    1. Thank you, my brain eating friend.
      We can often pretend that life is like an after school special, but sometimes, after hearing people’s stories, it’s seems as if the Brothers Grimm were right their first time around.

  2. Hauntingly beautiful. I will never forget that. It should be part if the 12 step program for AA. The end of childhood for children of alcoholics. I want to wrap my arms around that little girl

    1. So glad to hear it struck a chord. And thanks for the kind words. Save your cuddles for someone in your life who needs embracing, though I’m sure Sam would appreciate t.

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