07/09/2013 08:41 EDT | Updated 09/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Cynthia Scott: Innocent Circumstances


Ve'ahavta's Creative Writing Contest, in its 13th year, gives homeless men, women, and youth the opportunity to have their voices heard through written works of art. Facilitated preparatory writing workshops have taken place in Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax with thousands of eager participants. Writing entries are evaluated by panel of judges, which have included Tony Blair, Michael Ondaatje, Michael "Pinball" Clemens, and Ron Maclean, among others. Winners are awarded with cash prizes which have the potential to dramatically change their life circumstances. The Creative Writing contest has proven to be a life-changing experience for many -- including contestants, judges, and audience members who will hear live readings of the winning entries at a concluding Coffee House event. This year's event takes place Tuesday, July 9th, 8:00pm at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto (1950 Bathurst Street). What follows is the third place entry written by Cynthia Scott.

I was conceived, my parents were physically blind

Always we sat under the poverty line

My name was given but not by my mom

She was in shock; her mind became numb

We were two that came out of her womb

My mom couldn't speak she just lay in her room

At the hospital I was number one, my sister number two

The nurse named me Cynthia...."that's for you"

My sister was named Sandra and this is all true

My mom liked the names

We both looked the same

She could always tell, she really knew

Which one was which, the struggle was for food

My life was new but my father was cruel

My innocence was taken by sexual abuse

Despair and sadness I couldn't break through

I would cry in silence, a slow class at school

I was so teased, I didn't feel normal

I got beaten up, my clothes were horrible

I felt so empty and my skin just a cover

I was so thin and not an inch of blubber

No stranger to pain, my sister shared the same

The ones that I loved were part of his game

Worthlessness, guilt, all the feelings of shame

I didn't know, I took all of the blame

Hopelessness, despair and fear I was there,

I was just trapped inside a tear

This is why my tears are now clear

No one to blame!

I let go of the pain

At the age of seven a rifle to my head

Some relatives thought we were better off dead

Tucked in the arms of my loving mother

This was a judgment brought on by others

We got away but in silence we stayed

My life no meaning and with every breath I paid

One day at a time, it was just that way

With the pressures of life I didn't feel great

My thoughts were wishing that I was dead

Now with the help of medicine, it goes to my head

Living with post traumatic stress disorder and disassociation

Will! Am I rising out of the situation?

Yes, Yes I believe, I'm pursuing my education

Hopeless, Homeless, Hunger, and I lived through it all

But never did I use drugs or alcohol

I had a husband; he didn't stay long

I raised the children all on my own

You didn't hear the rest of my horror

I'll bring it out into this poem, it reads like a story

But there are no worries, I have some glories

Stick around a bit! I'll tell you some more

I just found out I'm not quite a bore

Paper as my mouth I will speak out

Learning disabilities, what are they talking about?

I have a degree in survival

Do you understand? Do you see?

I couldn't fit into the main stream

But now this is my time to beam

Feeling brand new.....dreaming of university

The hope I have is all the possibilities

As I write, my confidence builds

OH..... WOW...... when I spell, what a Thrill!!!

My children are precious and are all grown

And my grandchildren? We share a strong bond

Take a deep breath, life can give you a ride

In my arms, my sweet, sweet, grandchild died

At the age of two he was part of our tribe

Deep in my heart will always be a cry

Shelters and garbage cans I have no pride

These were the gifts on how I survived

Eating out of garbage cans, oh! Is it a shame?

I wonder if you know, hunger is a pain

At fifty-one I still look at the cans

Poverty still with me but I have new plans

Innocent: I was born

Circumstance: set my course

Unfortunate: events occurred

Affect: the way I soared

Life! still pushes me to and fro

But now I have more control

WOW!!! The inner me I didn't see

Look up what my name really means

Come on humanity! Let's break the chain

Poverty is here, Education is the gain!!

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