Friday, December 29, 2006

Poem For A Friend . . .

I’ve been helping a very dear friend of mine through the emotional trauma of child abuse. Not professionally of course, just as a supportive ear and as a kindred spirit who experienced his own share of abuse and subsequent healing. Her experiences have touched me deeply and I needed to write about them, if for no other reason than to try to purge myself of her suffering. The following poem is strong coffee and I caution readers who have suffered sexual abuse as children, that they may not want to read on. I’ve tried to be as gentle as I can with this horrific subject, but it is not easy to write about.

Once White

Time does not march on
it slides through fingers like sand
Slips out of pockets like a lost key
and leaves behind a trail of dust called memory
Within which one can become ensnared

The bedroom door creaks open, again
Much too late for a child your age
And that certain but unwelcome light
touches your nightclothes
and places not ready for light

A familiar footfall echoes
the promise of more attention
than you could ever dream of
even in your nightmares
and too much weight for
your tiny soul to bear

You cast yourself a lifeline of
Mother Goose rhymes
to make time go fast
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses . . .
You’re dying

No mother to speak of
No mother to save you
She lost her mind along
the road to hell
before you were born
Sold her soul
to keep from going mad altogether
and placed her heart on the alter
to the God of fear

And then one day
you watched your life pour
out of her wrists and pool
upon the kitchen floor
The day life became too sharp
and stayed that way

Why she lived is hard to understand
though a child's love is boundless
But no amount of soap can
wash away the stains
And still you bleed
still you bleed
you bleed

And so you've thrown up stone and steel
An impenetrable fortress
to keep you safe from love
while the muffled cries of your
banished heart go unheard
And locked the door you did
indeed for all eternity
Meanwhile, your life has slipped
through your fingers like sand
and out of your pockets
like a lost key

But the promise of
forgiveness waits for you

by dennis tkon Copyright 2006


Spazzmire said...

Wow, I love it! I don't know what else much to say. I’ll try to answer your question, however. About not turning out your pockets and still showing empathy. That's your call. I was simply putting myself in a beggar’s situation when I wrote that. However I am not homeless. So, I probably don’t know all the real emotions and thoughts that go through most unsheltered people. So, maybe to write something like that doesn’t quite capture the real feelings of a homeless person. Thanks for the comment!

Natalie said...

What can a person say about this poem Dennis? You have written it with compassion, subtlety and understanding. I send a healing to your friend. It must have been so hard to know where to start.

Regina Clare Jane said...

This was so sad... I don't think there is one of us out there that has not been scarred by some sort of abuse in their young lives.
Very poignant, Dennis- thanks for visiting me...

Rethabile said...

Hard. I can't see what else to say. You're right that it isn't easy to write artistically about such a subject. You tackled it well.

Have a great 2007...

SquareTraveler said...

Dennis, the greatest compliment I can pay you is to agree with Natalie about the subtlety with which you wrote this. The importance of subtlety is too often underestimated and overlooked when we are learning to tap into our poetic resources. We can easily go over the top in our attempt to force a sense of emotion into a piece, and this subject is laden with opportunities for melodrama. But you handled it with a simple honesty that made your sincerity clear. Well done.

Brian said...

I have no words to add to such a breath taking poem.

Novel Nymph said...

You have such a gift. How can you soothe through such a painful topic as abuse? Yet your words soothe and heal...

L. Monique said...

Your friend is incredibly lucky to have you and your words. I wish you could have submitted this to the Carnival for Sexual Abuse. There were only two of us who sent poetry. It would have been a wonderful addition. From a survivor... thank you.

madd said...

Dennis..there are no words, no words but those of my life..amazing my friend and thank you as you have given your friend a true start to healing by being a really true friend..m

gel said...

Dear Dennis,

I read this poem several days ago from square traveler's link, but I was too overcome with emotion to say anything. As one who is intimately familiar with this topic, I hope your gentle and compasionate poem aids healing for you and your friend. The ways you've conveyed understanding while being subtle yet not taking away from the horror are what many, if not most, survivors hope for in a friend and/or a lover.
Thank you

gel said...

(I had not saved my comment when Blogger prevented posting the other day, so I just remember this.)

Your title struck me like an arrow to my heart. Using "White" in the lighter color emphasized (to me), virginity torn away from her. Brilliant icing on a top notch poem. Indeed, blackness of night became dreaded and one can surmise she hoped for light besides the blank slate of childhood ripped from her.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

I enjoyed this piece Dennis. Thanks for posting it.

dogfaceboy said...

Oh, yes. It's a tough place to be.

I think as poets or writers or artists, we are such sponges. I am often looking at things, stopping my car to roll down the window and take pictures of smoke reflected in the mirrored panes of a building, and people look at me like: what the hell is she shooting?

They see these things every day but never notice them, their beauty. In context, a hospital is not so gorgeous.

And we absorb the misery, too.

There's a song you should check out. I'll e-mail it to you, as a matter of fact, and for everyone else, poet or not, it's Peter Mulvey's "the trouble with poets."

Dennis said...

I'll definitely listen to it. I'm not familiar with that song. I completely agree with your comment about poets being sponges. I think that's a perfect metaphor!

Joker The Lurcher said...

i found this from dogfaceboy's blog. this is a very powerful and moving poem. as others have said, whaty you don't say is more powerful than spelling out everything - a light touch somehow cuts deeper

Dennis said...

Joker - Thanks for the read. I agree with your observation about the power of subtlety. Sometimes the nature of the topic (as in this case) just leaves you no choice. You can only spend what's in your pocket, and in this case I was just a little short on change.