Skip to main content

Punchy & Pissed, a prose poem by Megan Bell

Punchy & Pissed

I was born, quickly, in a thunderstorm—a  red, mottled projectile. Thunder and lightning shook the walls as the doctor held my single mother’s flesh.


I was born in 1979 to hillbilly shame—a backward blame. Even the Tribune couldn’t be bothered with my birth. 


I was born in a rusted automobile with a half tank of gas and a hole in the floor. The carvings scratched in the door read Jesus Saves! I had heard bastards didn’t count.


I was born wailing, railing, at our socio-economic class, shouting into the wind, into the void, to anyone who would listen. I would be different! I would not stand on the backs of my ancestors–those ancient idiots. I would rip their heads off and roar. 


I was born to a house full of German women. Themselves, born on the hard side of life—they had piss in their souls. Cause grandpa had whiskey on his breath and meanness in his fist. And grandma was a hag with a cigarette coated tongue. But, like our house, their frames were sturdy.  They’d withstood limbs on the roof. Water in the basement—their curb appeal remained. 


I was born to a world filled with scary men—who hit women that called them summa’ bitch. Knocking them into pretty pink wall paper. Their eyes glazed, their hands tight.


I was born to a world where dads were arrested in white t-shirts on warm summer nights—blood  rolling off chins, panic dripping off walls. 


I was born in them hills, in them hollers. Where men spent their days beneath the earth and their evenings coughing it up. A fine black silt that tarnished everything it touched. Silt that lit on our mantle, our floors, the walls. In winter it burned red as heat seeped into our house bewitching us with its warm tendrils—convincing us we were normal. 


I was born in a tree in the summertime. White caterpillars crawled on my fingers and rotten green apples laid at my feet. The smell of the warm earth softened my ache for heaven. I was born on my bicycle—my arms wide chugging freedom. I was born in the pool—baptized by chlorine and sunshine. I was born on hot mornings—when everything smelled like fresh grass and overripe promises. I was born on a black desert highway—scared—guarding my dreams one moment at a time. I was born roaring into the abyss. I was born meeting Steve. I was born when my children clambered out of my body, punchy and pissed.


Megan Bell has served as a reference librarian in Fort Wayne for the past decade. When she is not working, she  spends time with her husband and two elementary-aged children. They enjoy the outdoors—riding bikes, hiking, and swimming. Megan digs all 70s singer/songwriter music, any cat she meets, and she saves all her extra pennies for travel.