What You Taught Me (New Poem)

What You Taught Me
by Rob Roper
1st Draft July 12, 2016

This is what you taught me
in the fall of 1968
at Redbird Park
in Dallas, Texas
when you hit me in the back
after the play was over.

You, the biggest boy on the team
137 pounds
and me, the smallest
at 95 pounds
right in front of the head coach
with your dad– his best friend–
squatting next to him
and grinning proudly
at his son’s achievement

and the other players
either laughing
or saying nothing
to defend me
as I Iay face down
on the prairie weeds
of the practice field.

You taught me that the weak
have no chance against the strong
that it’s who you know that counts
that those with connections
can break the rules
and get away with it
that might makes right
and that there is no such thing
as justice.

And those of who laughed
or turned away in silence
you taught me, too.
You taught me
that the masses will not rise in revolt
against the oppressor.
No, I am all alone
against the attacks of the powerful.

Yes, you taught me well
You taught me
to shut up
and give up
because, no matter how hard I try
the game is rigged
and I will never succeed
at anything I do.

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