“Their Name” by Ratticus Cofer
April 19, 2023
Once upon a time their name was annoying and fake.
Maddie was a coward, she was an outcast, a mistake.
She trusted people blindly, as a result she was contorted.
And who is she to blame except herself for the exploited.
But now you call them Ratticus, a kid lost in abyss.
They’re in eternal cycle of hoping, shooting, then miss.
Remember them for loyalty, putting bullshit to a stop.
Remember them hoping for sugar, knowing they’ll get salt.
They used to believe that the queen was everything.
They used to believe they could conquer anything.
But now they know the queen don’t have the best intent in mind.
And now they know they can’t do shit. They’re doomed to fall behind.
They come from empty promises, a sick excuse of a queen.
They know they come from stronger sources but nevertheless they can’t gleam.
In dreams they’re in the future, ran away, lived in a van.
They finally have fled the queen, their life is in their hands.
They sing their leaking heart out on the sparkly, well-lit stage.
An audience, an old guitar, and lyrics filled with rage.
The radio inside their head plays not one tune, but three.
They’re overlapping constantly, it’s songs and static seas.
They scream about their failures, how they’re living their life wrong.
But little do they know that they’re the one who plays the songs.
The static played more constantly while trapped in quarantine.
The voice of reason was blocked out, their ears began to bleed.
A year stuck in the kingdom’s walls can drive a kid insane.
But yet the queen ignored the signs of a child’s troubled brain.
They learned during this chaos year to hit first, and hit hard.
The queen cannot muster a strike if she’s already scarred.
When they’re feeling strong enough to fight the queen it feels “Hurrah!”
But fighting back is gut-wrenching, their brain is screaming
The queen acts like she sees their shadow, abusive, a liar, and mean.
But they won’t fall for her old tricks, their shadow just wants to be free.
If they could sing themself a lullaby, they wouldn’t sing at all.
They’d praise themself, comfort themself, assure it’s not their fault.
The queen needs to control herself, get in a proper fashion.
If she doesn’t then she can blame herself for the consequences of her actions.
They’re scared to think about the future, unsure of what’s ahead.
The thought of their own failure brings a stomachache of dread.
How could they simply live if not a symbol of strength and love?
How could they simply live if the queen taints what they’re built of?
They’re built from a waste. They’re built from disgrace.
They’re built from love until the queen is bothered,
love until the king’s a father, love for them is a conditional fight;
Why can’t I be happy without a price?
Ratticus Cofer wrote this poem while a student at Big Picture School, with WITS Writer-in-Residence Daemond Arrindell. Performed at SAL’s Sasha LaPointe Presents series event with James Spooner on Thursday, April 20, 2023.