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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Dropout (05/12/11)

TITLE: Down and Out
By Ekua Bartlett-Mingle


“It’s useless”, the voice said.
“It’s over, can’t you see?”
Night after night
The demon tormented my mind
Day after day
My life was such a grind

“Why don’t you end it all?”
“Yes perhaps I should,” I thought .
What did I have to live for,
When I had wasted my life?
Who did I have who cared whether I lived or died?

My friends had deserted me
Now that drinks were no more free.
And as for Father, how could I ever face him again
After whittling away his life’s labour on scandalous living?

So here I was far away from home and love
And I was fast losing my mind!
For the zillionth time that old scene played in my mind;

Aminadab, begging me not to break Father’s heart
Me, stubborn and insistent I had to have my way!
My words came piercing back at me;
“The world is a bigger stage than Father’s estate
I want out so I can find my part”

For his every caution
I had my own notions
Not budging, or relenting
This was my right!
Finally, Father stood up
“Is that what you want?”
“Yes I demanded, and I want it now!”

So I left that morning, proud I had won
Not knowing how soon the wealth would all be gone
As I passed by his study, I thought I heard sobs
But my mind was made up,
The adrenaline was flowing
As I set off with glee
Here was my chance to prove to all
What I could be!

Tears filled my eyes at how foolish I had been
For the road I took led me down and out into sin
Playing a part that brought no glory or gain
But shame, heartache, loneliness and pain
Why didn’t I listen when I had the chance?

How do I ever get back now that I have stepped so far out of line?
“Get back?” Sneered that old tormenting voice.
“Are you crazy? Get back where?”
“Perhaps my friends?” “They’re long gone man!”
“My brother?” “He hates your guts, why would he help you?”
“And don’t even contemplate your Father!”
“He’s mad at you!” “Can you imagine the number of times he has cursed you?”
“You are done for, give it up man, just end it now!”
I could almost see those bloodshot demonic eyes boring into my soul
The smell of burning sulfur filled my nostrils
As I tossed and turned on the bare floor.
“Look at you, you’re not worth even the pigs’ food!”

“Hear your stomach rumble and grumble”

“You poor pitiful creature!”

“Enough!” I cried. “Enough!”

“I can’t take it anymore!”

“Off course, you can’t”.

“See that rope?” “It could serve you well.”

“No”, I choked out.

“Yes”, he taunted.

“You are better off dead.”

“You don’t have any hope.”

I lay there sobbing.
My chest heaving with sorrow.
Dawn was almost breaking,
As I was contemplating.
A tiny ray of light found its way into my dark corner.
I looked out the window,
at the breaking of day.
Father always used to say;
“Each sunrise spells hope for today”
Then suddenly I stood up!
Something within me seemed to snap.
“Surely I am worth more than this!”
I shouted out loud.

I will take my chances.
If I stay here, I’ll probably die
If I go home perhaps, just perhaps,
Father would have mercy…

So I set off on my journey
Shutting out that evil voice
With every step I took
My determination increased

I wasn’t asking for reinstatement
No! I dared not hope for that
I wouldn’t expect forgiveness
For didn’t deserve an ounce.
Just a chance for decent living
If even as a servant.

The demons voice grew fainter
With my every purposeful step
Till at last I stood at the edge of town
And I wondered, should I still go on?
Trembling with fear, I approached the familiar road
The voice came back then, “It’s not too late to turn”.
“No, I’ve come this far”, I said
Then from a distance I heard his voice
“My Son!”

My eyes blurred over
I couldn’t believe my ears
More than all I hoped for
Here I was in his arms
“Father, I am not worthy”.

“Shush my son, all that matters is that you’re here”.

“I’ve been praying for this moment.”
“And now you’re welcome home!”

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This article has been read 279 times
Member Comments
Member Date
diana kay05/21/11
wooo good one so powerful and i like the way it is told in short bursts. almost like a machine gun or staccato.
Is it a retelling of the story of the prodigal son? and in a way that mirrors so many real up to date timeless relevance.could be modern or old.... great... will it be a winner? certainly possible!
Cheryl von Drehle05/21/11
imagery, cadence and rhyme are truly remarkable -- great job!
Beth LaBuff 05/21/11
I love that story! You've brought it to life in your free-verse poem. Very nice!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/22/11
This is a very powerful piece. The dialog felt so real and raw. you did a nice job with a tough topic.,
Mildred Sheldon05/24/11
That is like a lot of Christian. They must hit the bottom and the only way out is to look up. God takes nine hundred and ninety nine steps and we take one.