Dad is making breakfast in the kitchen.
The toaster goes FffAP!
Two slices of toast leap into the air, flying crumbs are everywhere.
Looby sitting under foot, pricks her ears and has a look.
Dad nearly jumps out of his skin and Atlas turns to see the din.
Dad swivels to catch the flying toast but Looby was standing way too close.
A paw, a slipper, a yelp and a shriek, dad nearly crashes head first in the sink!
One of them knew just what to say, it was dad telling Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is hanging out the washing in the garden.
The screen door goes THhhUNK!
Atlas came out to show dad his toy, Looby had followed and was full of joy.
She waddled and sniffed, chose a fine spot, and what do dogs do? She sat down to squat.
She grunted and sneezed, hunched and then squeezed – this time it wasn’t only just wees!
She scratched and pawed, bumped into dad’s leg – knocked him off balance what more could be said?
Dad took a step back and stood in the poo, threw his hands in the air and said, ‘not this too!’
He hopped as he landed while she jumped away, ‘for goodness sake Looby, GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is bringing Atlas’ lunch by the pool.
A ball hits his head with a TWAaCK!
Dad had to juggle or else he would trip, a plate of full of sandwich’s had started to tip.
A handful of odd sorts of things left his fingers, poor Dad had to struggle just to stay nimble.
Atlas was splashing, giggling and such, a huge smile on his face watching the fuss.
Then out from under the table shot Looby, spying a sandwich – her lunch had come early!
Dad’s face had gone red, he was losing his sh*t, he’d had enough, he was over it!
She was up-setting the balance that day, ‘for goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is cleaning Atlas’ bedroom.
The vacuum cleaner goes PffMPT!
Dad peered down at a half eaten sock, ‘Oh no’ he said, the nozzle was blocked!
He bent down to fix it and pull it out, but Looby the dog would have none of it.
She jumped up and yapped and then bit the bar, Looby was taking it way too far!
Atlas had wandered away up the stairs, both of his fingers were shoved in his ears.
None of them wanted to deal with the mess, first it was breakfast now it was this!
Dad rolled his eyes and started to shake, ‘for goodness sake Looby, GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is preparing everyone’s dinner.
The pantry door slams shut with a SLAaP!
Atlas had been helping himself! He thought he would sneak a handful of stuff.
Fistfuls of crackers, biscuits and junk, he was not going to eat what Dad made with love.
Dad took those things off him and had a fit, he growled at poor Atlas and told him to sit.
Typical Looby had started to bark, protecting the family from imagined harm.
She ran in then away, yapping all the while, a barrel of legs, ears and snout and a nub for a tail.
Dad barked right back and told her to stay! ‘For goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is resting in his lounge chair.
The volume on Atlas’ ipad goes UP!
Atlas was listening to clips at the table – balloons pop, things rip and the sound of crunched gravel.
Dad’s tired eyelids were about to close, he’d sneak a quick nap while the boy was amused.
Needless to say the day was not over, what more could happen Dad started to wonder?
Looby was asleep in between Dads leg’s, but the sound going up, had hurt Looby’s ears.
All of a sudden she jumped up and barked, stood on Dad’s balls and did a loud fart!
Dad’s eyes flew open, he grimaced in pain, ‘for goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Dad is putting Atlas to bed.
The curtain rod fell off, hit the floor with a CLAaaNK!
Atlas had had fun, he’d trashed his room, toys were all scattered and clothes were all strewn.
Looby was standing all dopey and still, it was her bedtime, and she knew the drill.
She decided to be as quiet as a mouse, she was all sleepy and very tired herself.
Dad had to sort things and put them up high, but he tripped over Looby and let out a cry!
He stubbed his toe on the end of the bed, fell over head first, what more could be said?
He grimaced in pain, grabbed his foot and he howled, once again he raged ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
Finally it was the end of the night, dad sat down in his chair and closed his eyes.
Looby had scratched and scrunched up her bed, did a few circles then lay down her head.
Atlas was curled up and fast asleep, it had been a big day, he was out to it.
The night was so quiet and everywhere was still. Goodnight dear family, sweet dreams and sleep well.
© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved. First published on Raising Atlas Rising, 2022
In my dream I was a dog.
Some sort of mangy matted thing tethered to a rope and stake. Fragments of cracked bone and coagulated mud puddles, stuck to my fur.
In my dream
I saw the man come— he brought his cold black eyes and set his sights on me, hurled another bucket of slop at my feet and I wept.
In my dream
I saw through the black hole in his soul and my insignificance outshone the brightest star, even then I wore my existence well, shut my mouth and kow-towed, I became nothing more than a flea.
In my dream
I wore a collar and bore love just to prove that point I once knew before I disappeared into a maelstrom of mourning. Nothing left to give.
I am reminded of the wife beater singlet and mullet crop of men way back then, the stench of decay followed by assault and I know it’s only a matter of time before I die.
Still, in my dreams
I am honoured to be graced by his presence but in reality, I am worthless.
© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved
My Molly died today.
It was the venom that slowly ravaged her tiny frame. I nursed her. Four days of hugs, crooning she’s beautiful, so beautiful & that I love her; the emancipation of denial.
She never left my side, until the day she faded away, her expectant brown eyes slowly glazed over an opaque skin & it sunk in.
I dripped drops, to keep them moist – mine overflowing a continuous silent stream.
I held her floppy skin & bones close, before wrapping her in a purple Silk Air blanket, tucking her in for the last time.
I buried her in the morning sun, her favourite place to wake up, bask & warm.
Her memory lingering longer in my heart, her quirky quirks igniting my giggles – multiple kisses on her petite deer face, carrying her bundle under my arm to our next time & place.
Mourning my Molly in the lonely spaces in between.
© Copyright 2018, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved
“I wrap myself around you because I never want to let you go” JD Butler
I recognise, that you are as sensitive as I am emotional & I understand you more everyday. It makes a change to see your demons rear their ugly head, while you trust
yourself for the most part & you’re not as corrupt as you think you are, or broken. I’m attracted to your strength. You could never be corrupt, although you carry a weight
upon your shoulders, that I have only just begun to comprehend. I only learn from what you share, to compare & you will share as you see fit, when the smoke clears & you can look me in the eyes; present,
your true colours in all their glory, will remember that responsibility means letting go – surrender, your last great bastion of growth.
I wrap myself around you because I never want to let you go.
© Copyright 2018, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved
I’d be content
I think, maybe
if I put one
of those solar
thingy’s on the roof,
and grow my own
in between the
herbs and gourmet
spuds. I could
collect rain water,
filtered by cheese cloth, milk
a Capricorn goat
and call her Billy
to a tree on a long
line. I would have
to buy a hammock
and mosquito net
but first I’d have
to settle it all up,
let it go
to the highest bidders, then look
around off the beaten
track for somewhere
with at least a wellspring for summer
when it all dies
and I’m left
looking at the goat,
licking my mutton
for a pork, cracking
open a Veuve. I’d do it
and serve up a concoction of hysteria
only fit for the loony
bin – laden. I would
laugh at the irony
of having nothing
and no one to
complain about, except who I was
before I decided
to go off grid, fate
leading me astray
after yet another
furious outburst of
with no one
to witness my demise, except for
in my bed
keeping me awake,
chewing the fat.
© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler & ‘Poetry Out West’. All Rights Reserved
I miss you both
It saddens me, that you hold on
with such contempt
that I must wait for you
to grow, make peace with yourselves
in order to find forgiveness
in others, in me
I was not a perfect mother
I don’t know anyone who is
except in our minds,
which compare; an apropos
of nothing really
One thing you can both be sure of
is that I do my very best
with the ancient tools I was given
with dedication & commitment
to myself, to raise you both better
better than I had ever known
or been shown of love
& I love you both deeply
The women in our family carry a curse
I believe, still being passed down
Great Grandmother to Grandmother,
Grandmother to Granddaughter,
Mother to Daughter – witnessed
eyes knowing cruel contempt
Somehow the trauma each of us
real, imagined or embellished harm
passed down through our DNA
through our environments
trying to show us the wisdom
to know the difference
It is a blessing
your tenacity, persistence
fight to right those wrongs
letting go the past moving on
steadfast in search of that love
Our cells remember
the past lives of our ancestors
those crossed paths imprinted
on our mind, body & soul
power & passion
did not escape unscathed; scarred
our heart skipped many beats
We observe each other
observed by our men (& women),
surviving their own stories,
our selves attract to ourselves
psyche healing vicariously
most of the time, everyone
learning to find peace, love
happiness taking its time –
but don’t be fooled by pride
awareness is awry, warning
I do my best to break this cycle
not expose you to harm
triggered reactions lead us astray
our nautical compass
navigates storms, skewiff
I cling to my internal lifesaver
lest I drown at sea
My own mother is a farce
painfully denied & despised
tea leaves attempt to predict failure
our grandmothers are responsible
for nothing but vindication
like her mothers mother’s mother
I am your mother
you came from my body
you are of my blood
I love you,
my mother could never say that
once, in past tense
once, in goodbye
I refused to drink
drunkenness hurt me more than ever
in the past, I was scared
I refused to drug
& I was spiked for my efforts, in vain
I learned his true psychedelic colours
I refused to parade men; a room
full of strangers, who could
watch & wait for those opportune moments…
I must have failed
I feel like a failure, ashamed of myself
ashamed of you both at times too
but only because I see how it could end
I warn you about danger
from yourself from others
predators in the world prey
dark & destroyed souls
seek nothing but instant gratification
anger is violence
no excuse is proffered up
& we are all culpable to some degree
I am a strong woman
I feel very deeply the injustices
of others, of yours, of mine
I only have myself to chastise
& you, that part of me I protect
in my mind
I am harder on myself
my self is much harder to bear
I expect much more than vengeance
to ease our hurt awakening anger
we need love & kindness
I only want the best for you, for me
I am also very proud of you both
I see two beautiful, independent
headstrong women, myself
on a good day
I want you to be happy, exude warmth
I need you to love me, back
the way I loved you, back then
when we would all laugh & play
when we all had our innocence & joy
I want you both to come home
I feel pain of the most heinous kind
happiness eludes me most days
searching, my self finds traces
of her, that little girl that became
lost in the ethereal space between
what was & what could have been
she separated parts of her self
doted & despised, both
in continual conflict
I have memories, denied versions of truth
I struggle to reconcile – I feel violated
I despise lies & deceit, power & control
I wrestle with such terrifying demons
who tempt me to trust & I am often
mistaken – I no longer believe it exists
on a bad day
My fear became terror
when they both laughed
& came for me in my corner
I was held down while the soap stick
ripped through me
turning me inside & out
as I floated away
I was 4
My cat could have been shot
in front of me
he held up the gun, she held
the cat steady
“do you think the bullet will go
I was 5 or 6
My life could have been over
when I choked
but he said “she’s not my kid”
I pulled the sinewy gristle out
by myself spewing onto my plate
I was 6
He told me I was ugly
I should never have been born
but I had a guardian
He told me “it’s meant to be this way,
it won’t be like this forever”
I was 6 or 7
My body knew pleasure before
it knew pain, before he touched me
& my spirit carried me
away to safety
I was 8
I watched him
his violence incarcerating those cows
chained, their backbones
smashed with a galvanized pipe
they had no where to go
I remember blood pouring from sores
like an avalanche
I was 8 or 9
My eyes saw the Sheep’s throat cut
with a blunt knife
he held our heads together
forcing us to watch, laughing
I was 10
I might have felt loved
if I wasn’t told it was the worst day
of my mother’s life when I was born
on my birthday
I was 13
His brother was a sneak
he came into my bedroom
he tried, I failed in his eyes
his brother’s too
though he was blind
I was 16
I trusted him
the Blue Mountains forever etched
into my brain
it was midnight
“if you don’t…I will leave you here
& they will find your body”
there was a cyclone in 1984
I was 16 then too
Death, like Charon is ever present
He resides beside & inside us
He will happily take us one way or another
if we let Him
I refuse to pay although I am tempted
He doesn’t give a shit at the end of the day
so don’t waste time entertaining him
or sway your hips to his tune
My heart only ever loved one man
I never knew my Father, not
until I was 17
& now I don’t want to know
because violence is not OK for you two
but I must have deserved it
I might be his daughter
but he only raised boys
he doesn’t know how much
daughters need their Fathers
you both need your Father
I needed my Father
I knew this, then & now
I never withheld them from you
I fought for them as much as for you
so that they understood
how to love, the girls who would become women
so you can recognise a gift
when you see it
We all watch the slow erosion of her innocence, see her wrestle in defiance
like I saw you, like I saw myself
she is my light & she heals me
her gentle softness radiating like a Halo
I heal her, my nurture having been
honed because of you, thank you
I love you both with all my heart
It is no coincidence Karma
your boys will teach you everything
else you need to know
perhaps the curse is broken?
It was always meant for you
the beautiful mother that you are
please understand, your boys
need me as much as I need them
Leisa, whether you like it or not
you are an extension of my self
I feel very proud of you & of myself
pain is like fire, it burns
I prefer to view my fire as a controlled burn
as part of nature’s regeneration
it makes way for new growth,
stronger roots & solid ground
I need you
as much as you need me
© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved
Jack said to Sally, “I am yours forever”
I have no doubt he’s got her back
she leans into him, safe
in their existence
The worst of my emotional turmoil
has taken a calculated step back
from that precipice – my Abyss
I now have my feet planted firmly
on this beautiful earth of ours
My man has had a breakthrough too
He is as strong as an Ox, spiritually
speaking, he came to me
shared & bared his most dangerous
depths, in that moment, I was lifted
& my heart rose to meld with his
Cancer became the Rabbit
& Rabbit overcame his Cancer
I sank into his soft silky skin
breathing him in, his musk – fragrant
His trust rekindling all hope
I saw him in that moment, solid
stoic, replenished & I am his witness
Faith & love; Trust & kindness
Honesty is something else to behold
together our voices sing synchronicity,
we no longer fear – death
Hades has been defeated, cheated
I slurp it up now, that Pomegranate
juice splashing my face, devoured
We look forward to the future
with another kind of sixth sense
Letting go, we accept our fate
with a new, gratifying lust for life
a new found freedom
a new way of being
having found what others fail
I’m so proud of my man
I’m so proud of me
I’m so proud of our family
& that’s all that we need – love
© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved
RE BLOGGED on Dream Big Dream Often
right down the mid-dle
& her tail
she set about
the final task
yet to be savoured
her fine front teeth
the strands of
to a string
& awkward dexterity
© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved
Lovers of pain and comfort, unconditional
with puppy dog eyes wide shut
Head on my stomach fur coat attired
foetal and like old things, worn
Moments and memories dispensed
a hairs breath between prickles
and whiskers tease
rubbing the shredded skin of dissociation
Thoughts escape, awakened
stirred and panting
Playful ball sports and eyebrows raise
Belly rubs and legs splayed
assuming the mould from in behind, the scene
anticipation hungry for food
Dependence in exchange for love
money in exchange for lust
No flea’s here, no blood,
no life-sucking thoughts here
Gods comfort wrap fur-lined with licky tongue
slobbering kisses of conversation
Done and dusted.
© 2007 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved
First Published in Side Stream, Issue 7, August 2007, “Poetry From The Fringe”