Damn Right, I’m Mad

Momma never taught me
to respect myself, to value
my femininity; she said:
Boys will be boys, and girls,
I heard, are entertainment,
but I ain’t no games table –
constructed for versatility,
adaptable to men’s whims,
waiting around for the game
to give me life – no hostess
for contests of male superiority,
not an object to be manipulated –
juveniles playing with sticks
looking to sink their balls
in my pockets – I am done
with delinquent impudence,
tired of objectified attention,
need to lock it all away, until
I can rid myself of these
counterproductive sentiments,
find me an authority to override
Momma’s tainted perceptions.

(Image: britainfirst.net)




Trauma’s Offspring

Insanity meticulously recreates
the murder scene – a minute
replica of the house bloodied;

builds it on the front lawn
where passersby can see,
cannot purge herself of it;

turns on me, annihalation
in her eyes; I will chase her
down, cease this madness;

she is intent on destroying
new life, cutting it into pieces,
re-perpetrating the slaughter;

I must render her defenseless,
wrestle her into submission,
dare not look her in the face

the familiarity of her misery
a mirror of self-loathing; this
sometimes sister/daughter.

We Are Not Cattle

We have been molded,
complied with stringent
guidelines, define selves
as mothers, wives, daughters,
bear the shame of blemished
lives, remain mute, passive,
robotic observers, marginalized

Until we witness the
senseless dismemberment
of a sister, the flow of her blood
like a bolt of red electricity,
jarring our numbed minds,
disrupting loyalties, alerting
us to the price of obedience

We are consciousness rising,
eyes opening, alert, questioning
the crimson-stains on the hands
of those who would herd us,
rage growing, abandoning
this show of submission,
demanding accountability.

Re-Purposing the Garage

It’s complicated, really, but so much
is defined by the presence of a garage.

Here is a stand-alone, connected by
a breezeway, single-car with storage;

could have been so much more –
had planned for it, but life changes.

Once had an oversized garage, direct
access, housed two vehicles, custom

built, but the cars are gone now, and
the single stands vacant, like my mind.

Except, the other day, I swore I glimpsed
an animal there, perched on the shelving

fierce, cat-like eyes caught in the dim
light of the open doorway, a tigress,

body crouched, poised to strike, backed
away, convinced it was a hallucination,

but then there she was again, clawing
at my imagination, piercing my senses;

I tended to the bleeding, chastising my
foolishness – of course she wasn’t real –

I lost my feminine prowess long ago,
am more of a groundhog now – slow

moving, podgy, sniffing the air for hints
of change, burrowing in face of trouble,

more a scrounger than a dweller, prefer
underground to domesticated storage.

A family lived here once: a tightly knit
portrait of three, lulled by the protection

offered – no storms to weather, just
sheltered transitions until the husband

left, daughter in tow; ducked beneath
the closing of the automated door –

left me, trapped under the layers of
debris, choking on their fumes, a flea-

bitten heap of a woman, homeless,
buried in a mound of bitter regrets;

almost missed her existence, except
for those grasping, white-knuckled

fingers emerging from the heap,
pleading for rescue, begging for

revival; I would shoulder her, one
more responsibility burdening

progress, shuddered to host such
destruction within my walls, would

have tended to her suffering more
promptly had not my daughter’s

malingering, suspiciously bent on
thievery, robbed me of equilibrium –

this state of heightened vigilance
a cause for neglecting self – have

humoured too many who would take
advantage of me, cannot trust my own

instincts, am disillusioned, no longer
content with inconsistencies, need to

confront the condition of my garage,
clean out the accumulation of stored

nonessentials; maybe hold a sale,
whitewash the interior and buy a car.


(Feature image from: maiko-girl.deviantart.com)

These are Warriors

Younger women than I
are giving birth, unaware
of indifference; joyous
expectancy blotting out
smells of disinfectant,
and decay – I am invisible
to them, my daughters.

Babies they are, bringing
forth life, unripened souls,
hopeful, ignorant, unaware
that I know what violations
have planted the seeds, am
no stranger to the cruelties
of humanity, my sisters.

I may be unknown here,
but neglect is universal –
it’s brutality unremarkable –
am praying for miracles,
while the world spins, lives
losing control, and all I can
do is stand witness, Mother.

(Photo credit:  Huffington Post)

I Stand In The Doorway

Surrounded by the animated chatter of youth,
a mother piles food on plates, busies herself
with addressing individual needs, smiles warmly.

In another room, a woman lies lifeless, grieving
a life now passed, children gone, an absentee mate;
she is alone, feels the burden of her inadequacy.

I stand in the doorway between the two,
longing to join the reverie in one room,
unable to tear myself away from the other.

Would you like something to eat? I offer,
wanting to draw her her out of isolation,
but she turns away, claims to be dieting.

That’s not the right way to go about it
her eyes are cold, dying, my words a lecture,
how can she ignore the succulent aromas?

Outside, the men gather, raising glasses
and voices, masculine camaraderie, content
to let the women do their thing – oblivious.

We could join the party, I offer, but she is
tired of parties, tired of small talk, tired of
it all. I am inclined to agree, have known futility.

I want to go back into the kitchen, forget
about her, but it’s too late; I’ve touched
her sorrow, cannot let go, am powerless.

Think I’ll go outside, air out my mind,
sit amongst the clueless, talk about
everything and nothing, deny responsibility.

I stand in the doorway between two women
one who finds purpose in service to others,
and one whose life has lost all meaning.

I stand in the doorway between the two,
and notice that the mother is no longer me,
and that woman in the bed has no future,

and suddenly realize that I have choices,
and that motherhood or empty-nester
are self-imposed definitions, irrelevant.

Whether to participate or not in life is my call
and not a reflection of how I feel about my body
or whether or not I am giving or doing enough.

I turn from that doorway and make a decision
to just walk away – the kitchen will always be
a place of vitality and the bedroom a refuge

and me, I will be outside enjoying a drink
and conversing about who knows what
and living, obligation-free, in the moment.


Portrait of a Waitress

Jumbo Jet
they called her,
fast on her feet
zooming in,
swooping up trays,
delivering with flight
attendant flair.

When did she turn
to autopilot,
stop paying attention
to her destination?

Didn’t she know
she was set
on a crash course;
headed for disaster?

Tried to warn her,
wake her from stupor;
told me she’d reset,
but danger remains.

She is cruising now
no longer able
to soar – trapped
in a treacherous game.

Waits tables,
tries to keep
the house clean,
caters to others
lends an ear,
has squeezed every drop
of self into her
low flying life

needs to land
a space of her own
with room to breathe
take life in shorter
intervals, refill
her jets.


Beauty and the Beast Revisited

Met a bear who proclaimed himself man –
knew the instant I spotted him, lumbering
gait approaching, that he was an animal,
feared for my safety, would have retreated,

stayed at my mother’s side – sheltered in
familiarity – were I not so fixated on his
blatant woundedness. Sympathy blinding
sensibility, I listened, hypnotized

by the whiteness of his exposed skin,
wanted to believe the veracity of his
tales of conversion, could visualize
him sitting in church, imagine the

horror of the congregants melting,
as I was, into acceptance, drinking
in his words, hearts soaring at his
professed abstinence from sins of

the flesh; none of us immune to
fairy-tale endings, faith above all.
Left the sanctity of mother’s fold,
followed him to his wooded lair;

read humility into his minimalist
housing, swept away his cobwebs
and my dreams, determined to
find fulfillment in domesticity.

The forest has its own story to tell –
nature does not lie – a beast does not
its essence forget, in time his true
temperament emerged, and I, lost,

withered into a crumpled ball,
a wisp of a character,  weakened,
disheartened, could not bend
myself to become either bear

nor Goldilocks, could not tame
his insatiable grumblings nor
abide long winters confined,
discovered too late the folly

of my girlish fantasies, learned
that sympathy did not beget love,
and denying instincts did not alter
the fact that a bear is not a man.

Need a Big Ass Truck

Shit needs to be managed,
so much stinking sewage
requiring a massive truck
with a fat-bellied-snake
hose blocking the road.

Repairs are underway,
requiring crews of men
with clipboards, and hard
hats, and big-assed pick-
ups blocking the road.

Such industry obstructs
my passage – none of it
relates to me, surely –
I travel this road with
singular focus – home.

Impatient, unwilling to
wait, I squeeze my pint-
sized ego past the block-
ades, risking disruption,
disrespecting caution.

I am, after all, entitled
to my own destination,
require rest and solace,
do not possess the energy
for other people’s agendas.

Am intimidated by brute
ability to roll up sleeves,
tackle any job no matter
how dirty, the balls it takes
to block the road at all.

I am polite society,
go with the flow, prefer
to remain anonymous,
blush at causing ripples,
shudder at inconsideration.

Relieved to arrive at my
humble abode, shed the
wheels, brush off road dust,
surrender to the harmony
of private sanctuary, startled

to find my pristine turf
littered with the leftovers
of past failures, a dumping
ground for undigested,
and rotting intentions.

My path is blocked by
the debris, obviously left
by some disgruntled ex-
wishing to violate my
perfection, an intruder.

Except I recognize the
pots, see my own hand
in cooking up the contents,
am forced to admit that
I am culpable, need to

own the shit that calls
for management, commit
to the repairs, roll up my
sleeves, and grow balls;
there is dirty work ahead.