Family · Love · memoir · poetry · writing

Sibling Camaraderie

Remember that time
wading to the caves
St Martin’s summer

How the tide rushed in
Atlantic pulling us apart
my body weak with laughter

How you shouted, coaxed –
once ashore we collapsed
wet but warm, hearts flooded.

(My brother and I weren’t raised together, as his father abducted him at age 10.  Reunited years later, I treasure the moments we get to spend together, even though they are few and far between.  Image my own.)

 

Family · memoir · poetry · writing

Parental Poison

A milk jug,
handle turned in,
was all it took
for father to lather,
a barrage of curses
decrying our lack of worth,
foaming from his mouth –
spittle that remains lodged
in our psyche – drug
resistant venom.

(Tuesdays poems come from Twitter.  Follow me at @Vjknutson.  Image from personal collection.)

Family · LGBQT · life · memoir · poetry · relationships · women's issues · writing

A 60’s Childhood

Formative years were more destruct
than construct; contradictions riddled

the foundation of our familial structure:
one man tyrannized five females while

in the news, women marched for equality;
called the likes of him a male chauvinist.

Aunt drove a forklift truck, looked like a man,
chalked one up for women’s liberation, didn’t

talk about her sexuality; shadow of illegality
hovering around her – no one dared to ask.

At nine, I questioned the fairness of being
born a girl in a man’s world, felt impassioned

by feminist cries, yet feared my mom would
leave the nest, abandon baking, domestics;

leave us to fend for ourselves – the warm waft
of fresh-baked goods greeting us each day, gone.

Watched my sisters flaunt their womanly ways
for virile young men who flocked to see bikini

clad bodies, ripe and tanned by the sun – who
was reducing whom to sex objects? And when

my mother’s family came to visit, why were the
men’s hands so invasive, their tongues equally

misplaced, and was this what women in the streets
were crying out against? I wanted to be free, explore

my future prospects – open road ahead – but Mother
said boys will be boys, and men don’t like smart

women, and better to drop out of school at sixteen,
get a secretarial job, and be ready when your prince

arrives – so I rebelled, cut my hair, flaunted my
intelligence, spoke up about inconsistencies,

such as why is a God a He, and why Aunt didn’t
ever date – did feminist mean celibate? and why

when women were so oppressed and men had
all the power, did my father wish he could be one?

Formative years more destruct than construct;
a deviate imprint tainting normalcy’s prospects.

(A 60’s Childhood first appeared here in September, 2016.  My challenge this week is story.  Click on the link to join in.  Computer is currently in the shop – so I have set this post up in advance.  Sorry if it takes me a bit to get back to you. Image from personal collection.)

creativity · memoir · poetry · writing

Aromatherapy

School days meant up-before-dawn,
carpools across town,
tuna-sandwiches and rotting
bananas shoved in brown
paper sacks.

Then home by bus – exhaust,
the stench of old men, stale
lunchbags, gym shoes and
pre-adolescent sweat.

Four blocks to home
by foot, the locals taunting,
the inevitable tussle –
blood mixing with moldy
leaves and mud.

I’d burst through the front door,
anger peaked, hunger havoc, and
the waft of cinnamon and cloves,
warm apple pie, or the sugary syrup
of cherry – after dinner promises –
and gooey chocolate melting
into sweet chewy dough –
mom’s recipe for calm.

(Gina is hosting tonight at the dVerse Pub, and she challenges to write about comfort smells.)

blogging · creativity · Family · memoir · poetry · writing

Early (Hidden) Roots

The house is brand new and we move in without our mother, who is in the hospital getting our new baby.  There are three floors of living space, but I am most interested in the room in the basement – the one that no one else knows exists (except my dad, of course, ’cause he built the house.)  You have to go through the rec room, past the door to the bar,  into the laundry room, and then squeeze past the furnace. There’s a long narrow hallway that leads to a secret room behind the bookcase.  The walls here are concrete, but there is a rug on the floor, and some of those fold-up chairs.  There are boxes too, and it smells kind of bad, but the best part is a hole in the wall, just large enough to peek through, and if  I come down here before anyone else, I can spy on them.  Mostly, it’s my oldest sister and her icky boyfriends – boy are there things I could tell Mom and Dad, except I’m not supposed to be here, and if Dad knew, he’d kill me, so I have to keep it quiet.  Why do we need a secret room anyway?

Frosty panes glisten,
while innocence bears witness –
mysteries rampant.

(Lillian at dVerse invites us to delve into the traditional with a halibun examining a room from our early childhood. )

Family · LGBQT · life · Love · memoir · relationships

A Woman I Never Knew

Much planning involved in duplicity,
when absence of feminine is intent –

no amount of research can release
her, buried in a home within a home.

Empty out existing observations,
imposed interpretations – education

only served to dismay us further –
all erasable.  Forensic investigation

required to grasp the inner workings,
only seasoned visitors have caught

wind of – witnesses (mother/father);
all we children knew was her name;

a moniker that invoked turmoil, yet
she, pregnant with hope, anticipation

would make her presence known –
a grand performance – she did not

belong; we shunned her, doubted
her veracity, convinced her host

was manipulative, depraved – had
no concept of acceptance – chose

separation – s/he pushed me out;
not that I was ever welcomed –

a child of this woman within a man,
whose obsession consumed us,

consumed my innocence, toyed
with my journey to self-discovery,

distorted images of beauty rooted
in the hovering pall of her presence/

absence; tried to escape, seek help,
create a semblance of normalcy, but

am haunted by the woman, whose
destiny, never achieved, now lags

behind me, feeding my frailty; wish
I had found the words, openness,

had dared to know her, to have stood
beside the she Dad was meant to be.

(Image:  lgbrpcv.org)

dreams · Family · life · memoir · poetry · Uncategorized · women's issues

A 60’s Childhood

Formative years were more destruct
than construct; contradictions riddled

the foundation of our familial structure:
one man tyrannized five females while

in the news, women marched for equality;
called the likes of him a male chauvinist.

Aunt drove a forklift truck, looked like a man,
chalked one up for women’s liberation, didn’t

talk about her sexuality; shadow of illegality
hovering around her – no one dared to ask.

At nine, I questioned the fairness of being
born a girl in a man’s world, felt impassioned

by feminist cries, yet feared my mom would
leave the nest, abandon baking, domestics;

leave us to fend for ourselves – the warm waft
of fresh-baked goods greeting us each day, gone.

Watched my sisters flaunt their womanly ways
for virile young men who flocked to see bikini

clad bodies, ripe and tanned by the sun – who
was reducing whom to sex objects? And when

my mother’s family came to visit, why were the
men’s hands so invasive, their tongues equally

misplaced, and was this what women in the streets
were crying out against? I wanted to be free, explore

my future prospects – open road ahead – but Mother
said boys will be boys, and men don’t like smart

women, and better to drop out of school at sixteen,
get a secretarial job, and be ready when your prince

arrives – so I rebelled, cut my hair, flaunted my
intelligence, spoke up about inconsistencies,

such as why is a God a He, and why Aunt didn’t
ever date – did feminist mean celibate? and why

when women were so oppressed and men had
all the power, did my father wish he could be one?

Formative years more destruct than construct;
a deviate imprint tainting normalcy’s prospects.

(Image: retrochick.co.uk)

abuse · life · memoir · poetry · recovery · relationships · women's issues

Self Portrait in Colours

Found an old diary – days
when I prayed to the angels,
painted myself white, believed
in a God that cared about personal
forever after – painted myself pathetic.

Took me back to days of heartbreak,
when I pined after a man, noncommittal,
painted myself pink – an altruistic heart
yearning after unrequitable love, willing
to sacrifice, change – painted myself foolish.

Read between the lines about a woman
so desperately co-dependent she’d risk it all,
painted herself yellow, projected sunshine,
believed in fairy tale endings, threw away
dignity, sanity – painted herself delusional.

Wondered how she’d ever survived, knew
that life intervened in the end, saved her –
painted her broken; but somehow she found
strength, moved on, made better choices,
learned to love herself, painted herself indigo.