Richard Cambridge

baby buddha bouncing

just before
i came down
just before I forgot
the angels said
     your parents are in need of correction
     be as bad as you can
     when you pop out
     turn around
     make an ugly face &
i did
she screamed
     he’s sooo ugly
     he can’t be mine
     where’s the knife
     take him away
     before i cut him in two
i had just been born
i wanted to die
i screamed & she said
     give him a plastic cow
     with a rubber tit
i sucked so hard i got so fat i
couldn’t crawl or walk
i bounced
i was a
baby buddha bouncing
i broke my first year
a baby buddha
i was
13 months
before i walked
i was a 
moonchild cancer
& spreading
they didn’t know what to do

they took the plastic cow away
& locked me in a room
i learned my lessons from the screen
my teachers were puppets & clowns
i turned on
i turned on
they were there
i sang god bless america in the morning
i sang o say can you see in the evening
i knew all the verses
i knew them by heart
the whore who stood on the waters
the one with the torch in her hand
she gave me a gold star
i kept on singing the truth through the night
til the screen went white
til the snow came
i was so high
there was nothing they could do

i rocked their cradle
i wouldn’t let up
i screamed 
and they cut my tonsils out
put them in a paper cup
& shot me up with ice cream
they made me do vanilla cones
i cradled the rock
and made their windows scream
gap-toothed smiles
pumpkin-mouth screams
i didn’t even wait for cabbage night
didn’t even wait for hallowe’en
i couldn’t be stopped
there was nothing they could do

they sent me away to a special school
i made friends with the wabbit the duck & the mouse
they all wore gloves to cover the blood
someone cut off their little finger
the wabbit said
     kill the turtle
     it beat me in a race
the duck said
     kill your father
     he keeps shooting at me
the mouse said
     kill your mother
     she poisoned the cheese

the angels said they were in need of correction

i made life hell for them