creativity · mental-health · poetry · recovery · writing

Separated Self

Reach for her
across the abyss
of indifference –

would hold her dear
comfort her sorrows –
empty promises,
I now understand

have abandoned her
countless times
in the name of obligation,
this child that is me.

 

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.)

abuse · poetry · writing

Inside, I Scream

(Warning:  trigger)

It wasn’t for want of terror –
inexplicable horror
caused me to quake

There was no one to hear –
a remote lair, boarded
ensured the perfect crime

Even in the aftermath –
self erased, movement
adrenalin automaton

Even then, no sound,
voice stifled by guilt
certainty blame was mine

Art of dissociation
keeps me now, surface
calm – shame numbed

The scream a silent
reverberation
tearing at my soul.

(For Ragtag Community’s daily prompt:  scream.)

 

culture · Family · poetry · women's issues

The Standoff

Men prefer a reserved lady,
Mother was quick to admonish,
ashamed of my hot temper,
the tear in mud-soaked stockings
the call that came from the boy’s mother.

But I was born with a fervid passion,
a sense of justice igniting a fire within –

Women need to stand up,
I lectured her, to declare our rights
a concept that fell on closed ears.

She’d continue to take father’s abuse,
apologize for under-salted broth,
or too thick gravy, for lingering
too long in conversation at the market,
or letting us kids dare to raise our voices.

And I’d continue to clock any boy
who dared to say that girls can’t….

Neither of us able to reverse
the inequity we suffered.

(For Ragtag Community’s challenge: fervid; and Fandango’s, reverse.) Image from personal collection.

aging · change · Family · poetry · relationships

Distorted Lenses

My memory of you –
distorted by childish exuberance –
distant and disinterested

Translated vacant eyes
through the lens of my needs
child that I was.

Failed to notice
the aura of defeat,
the battered heart

the robotic responses
masking unbelievable sorrow
missed it all

till death knocked
and I saw you anew –
adult lenses now fully secured.

wonder at the fortitude
that kept you upright,
the love that served us both.

No fault here –
on either side –
just a bittersweet understanding.

(Life, in retrospect, offers new revelations.  Poem inspired by Reena’s Exploration challenge – image as prompt.)

abuse · Family · Love · poetry · recovery · relationships · writing

Keep Learning

Tyrannical,  my father’s reign; the ensuing understanding of relationship dynamics twisted.  Violence and threats peppered with “I love you”, as if one was synonymous with the other.  I cowered with the rest, shame a heavy weight.

Oppression dictates
warped sense of love, intimate
nightmare – relearning.

(For Reena’s Exploration challenge #89.  Relationships have been the theme of my dreams lately – thus the reversal to childhood.)