Fireworks For Freedom: A Memoir in Verse (4)

Posted on October 2, 2020


Installment 4

Over the last few days, I’ve been publishing my verse memoir, “Fireworks For Freedom,” in 4 installments.

I started this piece in 2017, writing memoir with my high school students. I was very inspired by Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse’s historical fiction in verse, as well as verse memoirs, How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I wanted to try to write one, using some of the same techniques I saw at work in their writing.

In this memoir, I explore the meanings of freedom as a girl coming of age just after the federal Title IX law passes, insuring my rights to equality at school–and from the prison of an abusive dating disaster.

See Installment 1 Here

See Installment 2 Here

See Installment 3 Here



After he stole my dog, Sunny, 

he came back and stole my bike. 

Held my dog hostage for several weeks.

There’s nothing here to like.

He stole my speakers from my car

and took my special coat–

a gift from Mom for senior year–

that really got my goat! 

He followed me to work in Jackson, 

and threatened to kill me in the store.

We called the cops; they did nothing,

so he stalked me more and more.

He followed me to JCC;

he ran me off the road.

My one-time prince

had been transformed

To one entitled toad! 

He followed me to Dave’s house,

but Dave knew it was wrong. 

He marched up to Greg’s car and said,

“You wanna fight?”

But Greg just said, “So long.” 

Jackson, MI, Summer 1981


The Night Before Homecoming 

Of my senior year,

the stalker Greg

drives to GLHS,

and in the dark

he paints his hate,

In letters six-feet tall:



That really says it all!

Grass Lake, MI, 1981


The Call

When Don calls my parents,

it isn’t to reminisce

about back in the seventies,

When he used to date my sis.

My dad is home

and answers the phone.

Don explains to Dad

that he’s the school custodian.

He’s been removing the graffiti, 

He asks, “How’s lisa

feeling then?”

Grass Lake, MI 1981


At Home

I had to leave school,

go home,

and tell my dad

the whole story.

Then the cops came.

We made a report.

And then it was time

to don my clown suit,

climb up on the class float,

and wave and smile

to all the people

lining the streets 

in the GLHS Homecoming Parade, 1981.

Grass Lake, MI 1981


In Spring

He follows me to Senior Prom.

While Todd and I dance inside,

the stalker sits in his car in the parking lot

at the Holiday Inn.

The engine of his 

black Trans-Am growls

and he scowls at the couples

promenading in gowns and tuxedos

while he sits in his car,

pouting, alone.

Later, Todd sees him–

a shadowy figure

in the yard, outside the window

where we’ve gone to watch a movie.

My Senior Prom:

Dinner, dancing, a movie,

with Todd, my handsome, kind date–

and the Chicken Skater stalker.

Grass Lake, MI 1982


Never Alone

Since he’s a farmer,

he has a lot of free time.

Since I was ten,

I have loved

to spend my days

riding my bike,

all day, alone, 

Pedaling from town to town.


I can’t leave my house alone.

Not a bike ride,

not a walk,

unless I have an escort:

a bigger, badder dude–

always ready to fight.

Imprisoned in his darkness;

I’m longing for the light.

Grass Lake, MI 1982


Court Date

The face of the judge

shines bright like the sun

when he sends Greg to jail

And my freedom is won.

Jackson, MI 1982


Into the Light

My freedom is precious;

My freedom ain’t free.

I’ve fought hard for this moment

to just simply be me!

I’m free to go biking,

to take long, rambling walks,

to live, safe in the knowledge

I’m not being stalked!

I pet my dog, Sunny,

and give her a kiss;

I move forward in freedom

to the life I have missed.

Grass Lake, MI 1982

lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

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