Friday, November 30, 2007

A Cold Day...

A Curse on those Offended by Rape Poems

You dare not stitch my lips
mending the part that offends,
whipping the edges of my condemnation,
hemming in thick layers of guilt.

I reject pointy fingers
and sharp intakes of breath,
hurtful as the pain
of forced intercourse.

Slashes in secret places
do not easily suture up.
We bleed far longer than
the stains on bandages suggest.

She did not dress
to have her wrist snapped
or toss her hair
inviting gangbangs.

Don’t ask her what she was doing
there, the same as you I reckon,
minding her own business.
Pray you don’t have to give account.

I will keep on counting meter
to match the thrusts of his hips
and dare you to keep pace
or outlast me. These lines

are not free verse. So having paid
I will stand and deliver
paying no mind to anyone not broken

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My Whole Life

How I Prepared for a Poetry Reading
Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2007

Crying in bed
Was just practice
for the tears they shed.

Dodging bullets was a drill
for weaving through a crowd
to stand before the one woman
I know wants to say something
but may not have the feet to walk.

I ate too much then for comfort.
I can work the room to dispense some,
skipping the cheese and crackers.

Worrying that he would kill us this time
prepared me to take into consideration
the fragile soul who is here somewhere.
I look around the room as I speak
and I spot her.

She is why I am here,
why after the journaling and the therapy
and the hunting for a peaceful spot
to live out the life I have created that
I came out three times this month
to speak before a crowd,
not my favorite Saturday pastime.

She does not write poetry
or hides it at home if she does.
People think she is ok.
She is a great employee.
She brings cake to the sick.
She laughs like anyone else,
but inside there is a crime scene
where soul murder has taken place.

See right there, the fast swallowing,
her eyebrows flicker when I talk about his hands.
She won’t fidget, but I see.
I know the signs from the inside out.

She is why I am here.
My whole life has prepared me
to speak to her.
Despite it all, I made it here,
loud mouth intact, still laughing,
thriving in my chosen spot,
never afraid to lay my head.
It was almost worth it.
Today, here, safe and whole
I can see there is more healing to do
and it is not mine this time.

The Woman in the Parking Lot
After Poetry Therapy

I can’t say
the things you say,
but they are true for me.

I had an un…
The words catch in her throat.

I had an uncle, too.
I don’t know how you do it.
Don’t stop, we need you.

And bright tears spill
out of her
onto the asphalt.

Can I hug you?

Always ask if they don’t.
Always ask.
Because they were tampered with,
bothered, touched, hurt,
all the euphemisms for soul murder,
so ask first.

And I do hug her and she
smells like hope and fear,
feels like promise and despair.

She will be skittish now.
She has said what she has not
to anyone else alive.
(three of us in this secret now)
I will be her first.

Don’t stop. We need you.

I do it for me and for you,
you know.
Once I couldn’t speak

but I wrote poems, lots of poems.
You keep writing, too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Jo said she was sorry, that her words meant nothing. I have lived for weeks on the words of someone who cares. Words mean everything. Thanks, Jo.

Words for Us Girls

Whisper I love you
Say I adore the way your mouth looks
Come here, beautiful

Here, let me get that
You have waited long enough
You deserve better

I am so glad I am here
You make me feel safe
Hold me

It's a girl
She's perfect

I just had to tell someone
I just had to tell you

You're welcome
Praise GOD!

Thanks for saying it
out loud
It happened to me and I can't say it
out loud

I am not going anywhere

You will get better
You look so happy
You smile all the time now

Even when you cry,
you look beautiful

There, there
I've got you...I've got you.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Bad Daddy, Big Daddy

They say you were a wonderful man.
Dead at 53,
leaving a wife and

Do they count the 5-year-old
you were flying to meet?
So sweet of you
to bring her a doll,
to teach her maybe,
the ways of a baby explorer,
since you have "done it plenty."

"always gentle and loving;
not to worry;
no damage ever;
no rough stuff ever;
I only like it soft and nice"

Pillar of the community,
Assitant U S Attorney,
lover of children,
I commend you into the hands of GOD,
who also loves children.


"A federal prosecutor charged with traveling from Florida to Michigan to have sex with a 5-year-old girl committed suicide on Friday in prison, his lawyer said.

At the time of his arrest, the authorities said, Mr. Atchison, of Gulf Breeze, Fla., was carrying a Dora the Explorer doll, hoop earrings and petroleum jelly." NY Times

The NY Times Article

North West Florida Daily News

The Criminal Complaint

The Indictment

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Doing Yard Work, Recovery is Hard Work

I have mowed this yard for years.
I know that there are turns and twists
around the corner of the house
that you cannot see from here.
If you mow this yard, you may choose
not to go to the end of the daisies
and then pull back
where the tulips will come up in the spring.
You may mow this yard
and retrace each line
without turning around and I
always turned around at each end.
If you mow this yard, I can
watch you and call out advice
and encouragement. I can
pick up sticks so they won't
spin out from under to
catch you on the leg.
But if you mow this yard,
dear sister, please know that if will be
your muscles that push the machinery.
It is you who will sweat and curse the sun.
It is you who must do the work.
But I am here, in the yard.
I have mowed this grass many times.
I offer you iced tea
and words of encouragement.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why I am a Better Victim's Advocate Than You are a Mother

What did you think when I told you
that he pushed aside my child's size 4 underwear
in order to plunge his man's size 9 hand into me?

Were you humming to yourself,
distracted by the ingredients to
some cake you were about to bake?

How long did you study on the facts
before you pushed them to the back
of your mind,
"I wish I didn't know that."

Did you think I would relent some day
and allow you to talk of him in chipper voice
as my daughter and I sat at your table
eating bowls of ice cream?

And when she had grown to a woman
and you did speak of him in pretty tones,
did you know she would shake her head
and hold me as I cried,
apologizing to me as though
she were the mommy?

How many miles have you traveled with him
in the same car on trips to see relatives
whose own little girls were in danger of his
special kind of love?

What in the hell were you thinking?

Did the years you spent letting Daddy
rain terror down on our heads
inure you to the pain in my guts
as I told you your brother is a child molester?

Because for the life of me,
for the very sanity of me,
I cannot imagine doing the same.

I want to be your little girl,
but you make it difficult
to shell peas on your porch
or make coffee in your kitchen
knowing you may one day go too far
and, against my one rule,
bring him face to face with me.

I have tummy aches at holidays
knowing you will let slip bits of information
about him
like other mothers drop hints
about presents.

So instead of the safety of your arms
I seek the voice of those who have
their own Uncle Mike
or have struggled under a gag
as a stranger has laid them bare
because when I listen, it goes like this...

First, I say I am sorry that this has happened.

Then I tell her that she didn't deserve it,
no matter what,
no matter where,
no matter who.

And I smile a little,
because it is not funny,
but no one deserves to see a frowning face
when they tell you about their rape.

I hold out my hand sometimes
for the ones who aren't about to jump
out of their skins.
Sometimes they take it.

I listen. I murmur soft words to them.

I don't bawl my eyes out,
because it is not about me,
but I don't try to hide the tears
that gather in the corners of my eyes.

I tell them the process is slow
or fast.
That she will heal and be fine
or have lingering fear.

I make no promises I am not ready to keep.

I play by her rules.
It gives her back
the control
some bastard

When I am the advocate for a victim,
she need never wonder if I will wait
until she is distracted
to offer her a second helping of pain
instead of a tissue.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

No More Valentines, Please (a prose poem)

The color could be covered, but the swelling could not. She is a lumpy woman; bumps on her head and sags at her hips, the one from him directly, the other from him through his kids. His kids, they are, even without his taglines on them. She is the page for his byline. Some writer, he, inscribing lines across her cheekbones. His generous use of punctuation leaves the reader with no doubt as to where the limits lay.

He loved her thoroughly yesterday, declaring it so in a long hail of sonnets ended with the most exquisite haiku. Something about “tiny pearl teeth”, she just can’t remember now exactly what. That happens more now. His words escape her mind. She drifts about, his muse. It is only when she undresses that she is able to read his love notes. Down her arm, inner thigh, circling umbilicus. The special poem he inscribed deep, deep inside where the pink of her bears witness to his first valentine. He cut it out himself with the knife he keeps in his right front pocket.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Some men are just mean
pleased as punch to gouge out holes
where there should be none,
at least not yet.

And yet, for some reason,
Little Princess is expected
to burp politely, behind her hand,
never let the gas escape, (Cry Rape!)
“Oh, excuse me, so sorry!”

Do not become, my dear,
so destroyed in your soul
that you will spread your legs
and point, to that spot, (Crotch Rot!)
“Ouch, it hurts me.”

Young Ladies must cross their legs
at the ankles and tuck them, (Fuck Them!)
ever-so-politely to the side
better so to hide
the oozing pain that threatens to
puddle in plain sight.

Him, if you care to convict,
we will feed and water
and send to school
and give recreation, (Abomination!)
and release, fouler than any fart,
to fuck her again by proxy.

Just because he used the same parts
that make love to your darling,
and grow children for your garden,
does not make his act sex.
Talking about what he did is not
like ending prayers with “Shit”
instead of AMEN.


The sacrilege has been done
by that dirty daughterfucker,
gentle nights sacrificed
on the altar of his prick.

So do not tell me I may not,
in polite company,
speak of rape
and incest
and pornography
and the thousand horrors visited
upon a thousand little girls (and
boys, them too,
scionfuckers making this
an equal opportunity tragedy)
don’t you dare.

I am not shutting up!

And upon the tiny vaginas
ripped open way too soon,
by the blood smeared sheets,
baptized with the tears of a thousand nights,
knife in hand if necessary,
to cut out the tongue
of anyone who dares
to silence her and her and all the hers (and
hims, I don’t forget)
I do solemnly swear
I will listen to the quiet words,
whispered into my ear,
as she faces the other way,
because she has been told
good girls don’t say those things (and
big boys don’t cry, now, Son)

So suck it up!

Friday, March 30, 2007

To My Sister: Please Leave Our Room

You have my old tennis racquet,
sleep in my Bob Seger t-shirts.
There are light spots on the wallpaper
where two beards and a Beard were
smashed by Pumpkins.

I preferred a magic, gauzy coverlet from India
to your layer cake of quilt, blanket, sheet, second blanket.
What makes you so chilly?

Is it the hand that reached out
to lift away your layers?
Do old night demons still
bedevil you?

I'm sorry to have left you
moving on as I did to recline on
slick couches coming finally to rest on
my own mattress. I can even tear the tag.

I sleep now in a room of comfort.
Green-painted walls for serenity--
I applied every drop myself
to know each flaw in the surface.

Not alone, my man rests easy along side.
My dog sleeps with one eye open, so I never have to.
No one slips beneath my covers now--
just my cat, Zelda.
She must be chilly, like you.

Leave the room, kiddo. It's so bleak in there.
I can't come back and drag you out--
Oh, I would.
The demon is now long gone
no more need for the racquet.
You have outgrown those t-shirts.
Why do you stay?

I know someone
with a couch.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Learning My Lesson

You never took me to school.
The too big bus took me to school.
I never went willingly.

What should have been a refuge,

I always assumed the worst.

If there were dogs,
they would bite me.
If there were people,
they would hurt me.
If there were lessons,
they would be hard ones.

Not hard, as in tough to learn,
but hard, as in tough to cover up

the fear,
the bruises,
the tears that always want to spill.

They give me away every time.

I am as good as got.

Those tears.
What I learned from you.

You never took me to school.
You taught me a lot, a space lot.

Note: A space lot is a family saying that I use a space lot. See more: here here yet again