First Paycheck (Found Poem 1)

First Paycheck
By Joseph Benavidez

How did you spend your first paycheck?

1968? I didn’t, didn’t spend it right away
               waited for other checks
      already a middle-aged loser
            I put it in the bank,
       never looked back
(until)
        Digital camera, clothes-TJ Maxx!
                winter coats for my brothers
                    and food. Food.
(wanted) portable cassette player.

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Case W-467

 

That was “Science Says…” one of the first poems I wrote for Case W-467, a collection of poems about seeking a restraining order against my brother after his PTSD become too violent to continue living with him. This 80-page the book is available for purchase.

Divided into two sections, the first half journals the emotional turmoil of living with someone suffering from PTSD, deciding to get a restraining order and the pain of choosing to legally ban your brother from seeing you.

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Part two tracks learning of my brother’s apparent suicide and coming to terms with his death – including having to write an obituary for him and funding his funeral.

Unique to Case W-467, the collection also includes edited transcripts of my brother’s psychotic outbursts recorded on my cell phone, as well as a full transcript of the trial when the judge granted me a restraining order.