One don’t complain or they’ll beat you when they rip you and three others from your home from your mother’s cinnamon embrace from everything you’ve ever known pretend this is something you want you’re only twelve pretend it means freedom on the high seas swallow your doubts and your tears Two don’t complain when they hand you a rag and a bucket of grimy water scrub the decks of bird droppings and filth until your shoulders burn help make the “beef stew” choke it down to survive don’t think too hard about the clumps of fur ignore the groaning and creaking of your stomach when your dinner is stolen tell yourself it’s making you tougher. Three don’t complain work yourself stronger and when you’re given a long rusty knife and sent with the others to pillage a merchant vessel listen only to the rush of blood in your head stamp down anything that distracts you stamp down anyone who stops you. Four don’t complain when you get hurt when you return to the ship tattered around the edges toes broken arm sliced bloody right eye swollen lie in your cot sleepless
let the bandages soak up the blood the pain the weakness show off your scars later gloat of escaping death when your eye becomes infected don’t scream when it must be scooped out Five don’t complain when the next target is a fishing village break what needs breaking take what needs taking listen only to the rush in your head tear a boy from his mother’s arms even when she smells like cinnamon pretend you want this
Artist Statement: The romantic ideal of pirates is very cool. Despite its theoretical awesomeness, through all of history being a pirate (for the most part) actually really sucked. I tried to portray this more unradical side of being a pirate in this piece, and I'm happy with where it led me.