Mother said: “Look after your sister!”
What she meant was: Take these
burdens off my shoulders, I am
no longer able to cope.

Father said: “Do as I say, not as I do!”
What he meant was:  I don’t have
the wherewithal to deal with my own
problems, so don’t bring me yours.

Sister said:  “Be a good auntie!”
What she meant was: I am too
young to be a mother, and you are so
much more responsible, please take on
the consequences of my poor choices.

So I ran away to build my own life.
Met a man and married, bought a house,
had children and hopes and dreams
for a future that would erase the past.

Husband said: “If you really loved me
you’d try harder to lose weight, be less
effusive in public, control your temper,
and be more supportive of my choices.

What he meant was:  I’m going to grind
you so far into the ground and then I’m
going to cheat and cheat and you’ll have
nothing left inside to do anything about it.

And without a word, I left, and
what I meant was: I am a real person
with needs and faults and limitations
and it’s about time I honour me.


Shadows Echo

Reminds me of home –
Dad’s drinking,
dressing up,
keeping up appearances;
a woman without a voice,
public persona
all important:
must disguise
private hell.

Daddy was driven
by money
and compulsions;
could not see
desperation in our eyes,
we were running away,
seeking our own solace
in forbidden places,
hell’s legacy.

An overboard existence
too many extravagances
none of them sticking
to the wounded places,
only pretense
mocking reality.
Keep a positive attitude,
Daddy like to say,
Good Lord will provide.

But hell casts
a long shadow,
bony fingers taunt
present scenarios
confuse past
with present,
cloud the future,
cannot erase
warped beginnings.

Anchored in Morbidity

Cruising fills my fantasies –
reveling in life, loved ones in tow,
prideful, excited –
sailing past Mecca,
places of service,
relinquishing embellishments,
fully alive!

Conceived in strife –
a familial intrigue
with the macabre –
I am dragged along
treacherous passages,
abandoning joy for desolation,
preoccupied with loss of life.

Reviled, I retreat
flee, crying out in alarm,
cannot tolerate
walking dead

Crave restoration
of equilibrium,
a life purpose
worthy of visibility

am stalked
by regrets –
a damaged child
seeking baser needs-
elude her!

Launch this ship;
sail into the exotic –

anchors me,
secrets and wounds
regress – I am
the living dead,
locked out,
focus crowded

need a new defense
if I am to intentionally
recapture relation

Chasing Mermaids

Impulse use to drive my plunges
unrestrained confidence propelling
fortuitous dives – unknown waters
an adventure to be conquered.

Even when anxiety came along
stalked the shoreline in horror,
assured of catastrophe (or worse),
I”d hold my breath and submerge.

Doubt would follow determination,
buoyed by adversity, swimming
forcefully, commanding adaptation –
I’d find my mermaid’s breath.

Motherhood brought restraint
called forth sensibility and caution,
replaced whimsy with practicality
shed the iridescent tail.

I only dig in dirt now –
ground my offspring to earthly
forays, forbid capriciousness,
convince myself I’m solid.

Absentminded burrowing –
(corners of compulsion)
reveal abandoned passages –
old waterways exhumed.

Proclaimed pragmatism falters;
spontaneity descends,  transforms
I am nymph again – free floating
Neptune’s daughter resuscitated.

Re-Righting the Past

Wittingly, I engage in flirtations
hoping to purge self-loathing
wanting to escape this prison,
protective instincts set aside.

Men hold such appeal for me –
strong muscular machismo
distorting intentions, civility,
with smooth talking hands.

My perceptions toyed with
I succumb, despite myself,
sexually drawing a line –
baseless without focus.

Lure of belonging lingers
clouding my options,
I fail to appreciate the plot
discover my folly too late.

Withdrawing, I will calm,
vomiting pure emotion
unable to handle the
trickles of dirty feelings.

My good-girl breeding
excludes boundaries
strips me of autonomy
I need to regroup –

re-evaluate, debunk
roots of conditioning,
empower autonomy,
release worthless guilt.

I will re-write
this powerless script,
cast myself in a leading role
put an end to exploitation.

If I can ever forgive
the misguided sins
perpetuated against self
tarnishing the past.