Posts Tagged ‘anger’

copyright Gay Harper
It seems that,
with every death,
I lose a part of me.

There’s very little left,
now,
of who I used to be and

this person
I’m becoming
isn’t able to see

the person
who I was then or
treasured memories.

Locked in this head
are places to which
I no longer have the key

My identity
must have drained out
with the last bag of my IV.

A hollow shell;
mask on tight,
I still resemble me.

The me
I used to know.
The me
I used to be.

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Fire Engine Red

Posted: July 11, 2012 in My Poetry
Tags: , , , , , ,

Raining ash
for forty days.
Everything’s on fire and
you, with your small words
like “god” and “hope”,
beg to be burnt
to a cinder.

Smoky skies;
days dark with
spent embers from
mountains blazing
with raw fury;
anger,
a question,
answered in flame.

Even futility
is useless
against this towering rage.
The world is aflame.

Hope,
like love,
is a dirty word.
It gives you faith in
nothing and

you, with your petty dreams,
small words
bleeding dry to white spit,
at the corners
of your parched mouth,
are insignificant.

In the face of nature’s wrath.
you are nothing.
No one.

Your words
are sounds
coughed up by
dying animals.

Everyone protests
that last, great
blast of
life.

I just got a newsletter from the suicide bereavement group my sister and I attended last summer. The statistics posted below make me sad. I know that they’re right and I have felt the immense difference between the types of “compassion” shown to families where the death is accidental or natural as compared to drug overdose or suicide. This last year, my father died. The same week, two of my cousins died too. One was an alcoholic and no one seemed very upset by his death. His brother, on the other hand, died of complications from pneumonia. His death was a shock and was far more devastating to the family than the cousin who died of an alcoholic related disease. Why? Both were my cousins. Both were loved. Both had virtually the same background. Neither were expected to die any time soon. Why did everyone seem sort of relieved that Kevin died, but sad that Kenny did?

It just brings up so many bad feelings about the way my family and I were treated after Ty’s death. Especially at work. We weren’t allowed to grieve. People we thought were our friends accused us of causing Tyrel’s death by either inattention, by being “bad examples” due to our own mental illnesses and all sorts of other ridiculous, but incredibly hurtful things. Voyeuristic vultures wanted to hear every detail. I just recently had someone ask me if Ty died as the result of autoerotic asphyxiation. I just stared at them for a long moment then said “No. ‘He killed himself’ doesn’t mean he died accidentally trying to get off.” Dumbass, but sadly all too common.

When another nephew’s friend died from a congenital heart defect while they were staying at the family’s cabin with another friend, the rumor-mill ran rampant. Three boys alone in an out of the way cabin…clearly they were using drugs and one had ODed. It’s such bullshit that it makes me furious. When the autopsy results came back, it showed what we’d known all along. Jesse had no drugs in his system. The other boys were tested by the police the day that Jesse died, and had neither drugs nor alcohol in their systems but the rumors continued. I’m tired of people being so judgmental. Even if Jesse had died of an overdose, should being a normal kid wanting to try something new be a death sentence? I don’t believe so. Ok onto the study results before my head explodes from fury induced high blood pressure.

“In this study, the authors compared and contrasted 571 parents who had lost children by various causes— suicide, drug-related deaths, accidental deaths and natural causes in terms of their grief difficulties, post-traumatic stress and other mental health problems and perceived social stigma. In comparing parents whose children died by suicide or drug-related death with those whose children died of accidents or natural causes, the suicide and drug-related death survivors had appreciably more difficulty in grief and with poor mental health. The authors conclude that powerful social stigma against drug use and mental illness remains a pervasive challenge for these parents as they experience less compassionate responses from others following their losses.”

from
“Parental Grief After a Child’s Drug Death Compared to Other Death Causes: Investigating a
Greatly Neglected Bereavement Population.” By William Feigelman, John R. Jordan &
Bernard S. Gorman, Omega, 2011, Vol 63 (4), p. 219-316.

You don’t want to hear
the truth
so you kill the messenger.
Block out anything
unpleasant to your ears.

Does it work for you,
this way of not dealing with
your fear?

Growing piles of dead friends
littering your past,
your present, your future.

You can’t see them;
eyes closed tight as
you swing the blade.

Red rains down in
clotting gore

stains you and
everyone near you
painful crimson-black.

There are other ways
to cope with loss,
instead of ruthless slaughter.

Hate
yourself.
Hate everyone.

Truth won’t stop for you.

Like cold wind,
it will find you.

No matter where you hide.
No matter who you kill.

My sister says she misses you.
I wish I could agree.

I don’t miss you.
I hardly knew you –
at least any “you” I liked or respected.

To me, you were The Bogeyman;
origin of my self-loathing.
I’m relieved that you are gone,
happy that you’re dead.

Not because
I hate you, though, and
I thank God for that.

All those nights, alone with you –
You could have been my victim too,
a bitter role-reversal.
But I made a different choice.

I rubbed your back, held your hand,
changed your bedding, clothes and diapers.
I loved you when you were helpless,
because you couldn’t love me when I was.

When you died,
I was happy that you’d escaped the pain,
free from that worn-out body.

I too, was freed:
released from a lifetime
of hate and fear;
your whipping post, no longer.

We went our separate ways,
finally at peace.
Who could ask for more?

Then why do I feel so envious
that my sister had something to miss?

That darker dawn is coming.
The light of remembered lies;
lies I was told, lies I told
to protect my innocence.

It’s gone anyway,
shattered in a hundred
different ways.

I hide in the shadowed warmth
of the old bathtub,
shower curtain half drawn
to keep out the light,
the eyes.

The lavender curtain
turns skin to bruised petals,
soft and wet,
as if from spring rain.

The faucet drips constantly,
accompanying pain.

Nothing will wash this away.

© Coin and Feather Press

Is it possible
to become
human,
after all this time
as a beast?

Learn to walk
upright,
speak
with crooked tongue.

Can I forgive
and forget,
move on
with my life;

learn
to stand tall
in ill-fitting shoes,
wearing the garb
of a traitor?

Or am I condemned
to run
barefoot
through grass so tall
it hides
what I really am;

makes me look
almost real?

Stand casual,
alert,
beside humans
sleepwalking.
Compare myself
to them.

I am full.
They are hollow.

We are different
species.

In the casual flick
of an ash,

bright gleam
of flame,

lie hate
and anger.

Violence
to my body
I’d do anyway
by other means.

Mesmerizing glow
defies
even my lifelong desire
to hurt myself:

mark permanently
into my skin,
all the feelings
I can’t express.

So I inhale
and exhale,
knowing each
breath
is a death sentence

for an asthmatic,
already struggling
to breathe –
to live life
like a human.

I no longer
staple my skin
leaving bloody marks
like fangs.

I don’t burn
or cut,
but I smoke
for the same reason.

The ash
I contemplate
today,
will be the drug
that kills me
tomorrow.

Nowhere
is a good place to start
having nothing.

I am no longer yours.
Your problem,
your angst.

I never really was,
but you made
my problems yours.
My life became
all about
how it affected you.

Now there is nothing.

A good place
for something new

without you.

The color
of grape Kool-Aid;
purple with swirling blue.

Umbilical cord tight
around his neck,
he strangled
with every contraction.

Heart rate dropped
so perilously low,
a pediatrician was called
to be on hand…
Just-In-Case.

Pushing then swoosh
there he was,
my blue baby.

They removed
the cord from his neck,
and handed him to his father.
I stroked his face;
the same color as my nail polish.

Suction of fluid from lungs
then oxygen followed
until he grew pinker,
more human.
Still, a bloody little thing
always held by someone else.

I felt no sense of attachment.
Just crushing weight of responsibility;
knowing he was mine
completely,
at for least 18 years.

I didn’t want to get too close,
terrified by my year-old nephew’s
repeated clinical deaths.
I spent the night awake,
trying to devise ways
to make a break for it –
despite the pain.

Morning came
I was still there,
unable to figure out
how to flee into the darkness;
leave him to his father,
my mother…anyone
but me.

Then,
around the corner;
a clear acrylic bin.
I looked in –
my fatal error.
I never looked back again.

He was mine.
My child.
The one I’d waited for.
I loved his little turtle face,
strange mewling sounds,
his smell.

Through the years,
there were problems.
Bad lungs kept me afraid
that I’d lose
the only thing that mattered.

A sweet child,
beautiful, charming.
He always had that gift.

Then pre-teen,
cocky, sullen
but sometimes mine
again, at night.
I would read to him
or sing
and he would forget
that he was not a mama’s boy;
nestle into the crook of my arm.

Teenage years
spent learning how
to kill with his bare hands:
martial arts
obsessed.

Now he’s an adult.
I look back
on years
that went too fast.

All the changes
all the chances
I had to make a difference.
I messed up
most of them.

He has no need,
now, for a mother.
He wants me far away.
He’s just a cold stranger
but I love him, anyway.

If you were to ask me
what he wanted
where he lived,
or how he felt,
I could give you general answers,
gleaned from other sources.

My own son
is as alien to me
as any stranger on the street.

Looking at his baby books,
I pause at this page,
and that. Remember favorite pastimes.
They’re all past time, now.

All I have is memory
of the son I brought to earth.
Cherished as well as I was able
then let go, at his request.

People say
he loves me.
But I know it isn’t true.
He wants me to disappear
as much as I want to.

Embarrassed
by me; my scars,
my insanity;
by that fact that I exist

I am embarrassed too,
for loving him as much as I do
when I’m simply a source
of shame for him,
my former Little Boy Blue.