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