art · childhood · Family · poetry · psychology · relationships · writing

Still Digging

Father, as immoveable
as a mountain
taught us to orchestrate
submontane routes

Circumnavigating
his rocky moods
bestowed upon us
a fear of masculinity

Resilience instilled
the necessity of mining
gold from darkness:
still digging.

(Sketch mine)

abuse · art · childhood · Love · poetry · writing

Love Lessons

Had a weird sort of lexicon
the man who professed
to be my dad –

Clamped in his chokehold
he’d demand words of devotion

Became inured to this dichotomy –
spent a lifetime searching for love –

Just the right balance of cruelty and kind.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson.  Sketch mine.)

Family · life · poetry · writing

Familial Legacy

“…too young to notice
how fear persists, and how
the anger that causes fear persists…”
– Immortality, 
by Lisel Mueller

Purposeful, this fortress
permanently ungrounded

Burdened without bearing
fear underlying motivation

Reassured that life is unfair
dedicated to defying limits

Challenged by rage
bloodline ingrained

Pulled towards inevitable
complete collapse.

(Inspired by the promptings of Reena’s Exploration challenge.  To see the full poem and prompt click here.  Image from personal collection.)

adversity · creativity · dreams · Family · poetry · writing

Interior Motives

Mother lives in me –
her hopes and fears
now embodied
in my choices,
this guilt borne
of her suffering…

and her mother –
who laboured often
with unwelcome toil,
her only respite
widowhood –
it’s her legacy
I bear.

Potential –
who once appeared
with all the radiant
charm of youth,
exists within, also,
although our connection –
drowned out by the banter
of those gone before –
lacks substance.

I remember how
we used to sing –
hearts joyful,
full of daring.

How even in the face
of rigidity, we raised
our voices, dreamed

Now, both distracted –
I, shaking off fragments
of Mother’s hapless life,
extracting splinters
of a grandmother
destined to woe;

potential,
glances away,
forlorn as
a forgotten child,
pouting.

creativity · culture · poetry · spirituality · writing

Artist’s Calling

Spirits dwell
in unlikely places,
speak to us
through lenses
their essence
embodied in
child-like faces,
or animal snarls,
begging to be freed.

I am shamed
by my awareness,
helpless to intervene,
have not perpetrated
the original sin –
guilty by DNA,
lineage tracing back
to the slaughterers,
those who ravished
land and Peoples,
disregarded the elementals
who once breathed life
into this sacred place.

How is it then
that I should capture
the tortured?
Is this merely projection
of an internal demon,
or am I being called
as witness,
my hand poised
to illuminate,
give voice
in service to
the suppressed
and violated?
Is this not,
after all,
the artist’s call?

(The image that inspired this poem was taken on the Kettle & Stony Point Reserve on the shores of Lake Huron. Can you see the face?)

abuse · adversity · Family · mental-health · poetry · relationships

Tired of Same Old Endings

Tired of same old endings,
in which hopes are slaughtered
and tragedy and insanity win.

Raised by the bottle, learned
to set standards low –
still afraid of heights –
have fallen as the ground
beneath my aspirations crumbled –
a certainty under alcohol’s rule.

Tired of same old endings,
in which self is battered by indifference
and ego loses the battle for control.

Mother’s denial a coping mechanism
negating children’s need, obliterating
safety, disregarding long-term damage;
even in the older years, when we tried
to get her out, were powerless against
his manipulation, his eternal imprinting.

Tired of same old endings
in which the heroine, resources spent,
succumbs to the madness, suicides.

Want to believe in a future, greener,
hopeful, in which relationships
are fulfilling, and life goals are
supported, in which encouragement
is not fodder for deviousness, and
personal best is rewarded, sustained.

Tired of same old endings
haunting my dreaming hours,
taunting my waking dreams.

 

 

 

 

education · Family · life · poetry · recovery

History Lesson

Adolescence holds lessons,
I failed to absorb, the leap
into adulthood premature.

Have a son of my own now,
wish to guide him to solace,
help him to settle into a place

where the sky is prominent,
teach him to live without
walls, proud and confident

but I fear the price is too steep
that he will not manage the cost,
recognize that the legacy lives on

that he too has been thrust into
adulthood, a product of his mother’s
failure – an example poorly set.

abuse · Family · life · poetry · recovery · relationships

Tangled

Father told me I had no problems –
didn’t even know what problems were,
so I tucked away grief, pretended,
mastered the art of suppression –
what did I matter, after all?

Failed to grasp the underlying message –
ignored the extent of his personal pain,
translated indifference into selfish agendas,
set up walls to protect myself, against him,
projecting rejection onto others.

Too late now, I understand, hurt for the
distance created by misunderstandings,
recognize with deep sorrow that our timing
was out of rhythm – society unable to fathom
the secrets that we held – unnecessary burdens

Wonder if I will ever unravel the deceit,
unwrap the loss of self, the shame, recover
a sense of self-worth that allows for acceptance
of problems without self-reproach, or guilt;
will gain the capacity for far-reaching forgiveness.

 

 

adversity · creativity · culture · dreams · Family · life · poetry

Zoo Life

How else would you define us but a zoo:
this ragged attempt to appear socially fit?

I drag my children with me, expectations
formed from still life exhibits, picture –

perfect cameos of happy lives, poised
as any good television family might…

Who hasn’t had a rough ride, disembarked
and vowed never to repeat sins?  Hold on

to what you have kids, I warn; be wary of
life:  it’s what I’ve learned – tried to change

the tableau, inject creativity into freeze
frames; snared in webs of my weaving,

like the black widow entrapping my prey,
instinct releasing venom, plots spiralling

out of control; am prepared to wipe clean
the past, but stumble, lose grip, shamed

beg my daughters to look away, too late,
tension mounts, threaten to consume us

our dreams, the source of our imaginations
and I listen to the screams, helpless, until

one child takes up the cry, offers herself,
as I would have once, forces me to sit by,

worry my only companion, while she sinks
deeper into the hell of this artificially caged

confine; our connection lost – unprepared
am I, with all the wrong resources, clinging

to damnable passivity, alone, wretched,
guilt-ridden, afraid for generations unborn –

and as I turn away, in despair, I catch sight
of her, my child, revelling in her story, vital –

no crisis – just a brilliant young woman,
unbound by the restraints of this zoo.

(Image: obutecodanet.ig.com.br)