Yellow

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Photographer Renk Renk Resimler

Yellow; traditionally the colour of death

Yellow roses in particular

Yellow, reminds me of my step-daughter

Yellow is also the colour of grief

the colour of cowardice and cowboy’s

jaundice and Nicorette

Lemons leave a bad taste in my mouth

Yellow. Not one of my favourite colours


Yellow

First published on Far North Fiction

© Copyright 2017, Jodine Derena Butler. ‘Poetry Out West’, All Rights Reserved


Sensitive Weed

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She takes her hand

in hers, stepping

over rocks, dodging

sensitive weed

to find that perfect

path – way, leading us

to wildflowers.

she picks, a hand –

full of petals,

their fragrant oils

soothing, essential

for healing cuts

and grazes. her

nasal senses over –

whelmed with purity,

nature; nurturing

an abundance

of calm. her soft

self centered,

journeys

into the wilderness,

out – back returning her

safely to her mothers’

roots. her legs,

gingerly circum –

navigate thorns

and misleading purple

fluffy flowers with

prickles. trust,

holding hands held

together,

finding safety

in the familiar

land – scapes,

sensitive to touch.

we are falling

in love.

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler & ‘Poetry Out West’.  All Rights Reserved.

The Littlest Princess

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She brings joy in little effervescent bubbles of fizz.

Tickling our hearts. 

We fall about the place; laughter spontaneously combusts into a heap on the floor. 

Heaven’s above!

Our stomach crunches burn.  Her light beams ear to ear.  Spreading over a meadow of wild flowers.

Do you think she knows?

We know. Her happy heart runs and jumps.  Arms wide open. A glory to behold.

Pure love.

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

RE BLOGGED by Bellever

Maria Mandel – The Beast

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1.
Third Reich temporarily relocated
manageable – tangible concentration
Dachau liberation still being released
freedom taking years, eyes
adjust to light rays that pierce
our subconscious; burning
holes into our darkness

Reminds me of ‘The Beast’
her subtle sweet nasty streak
tempered in her ‘pets’
lecherous humiliation glares & whips
insubordination; any excuse
to lash out, eventually hanging
out for a punch up – not on my watch!

2.
I’m being overly dramatic
she is only a girl, ten feet tall
bulletproof but not yet vested
she is her mother & father
two degrees of indignant separation
dug heels into her size 10 boots
perpetrated under false pretenses
I am not like her mother

History is steep, Polish
past times remembered; repeated
incomprehendable trauma, still
repugnant infanticide – saving
your self in her
I admire your determination albeit,
age will polish temperance

3.
Soon we will all
coalesce together
one among many survivor’s
life is a journey not a destination
cliche, abundant blessings; gall
being called not by the balls
you wear on your T-shirt
our hearts on our sleeve

Category five winds rage
all that was before happened
lest we forget past lives forged ahead
sowing love, light & laughter
your time will come to transcend
armed with everything you need
carving your own temple & peace

4.
So will you my love
Grandma told you the stories
you pass down with pride
living, while others died for worse
your blessing may be a curse
but your heart is proud; a sin
none the less, reconciled with compassion
anger only perpetrates hatred

5.
Me? A well spring of knowledge
understanding beyond my years
faltering in the face of adversity
my strength testing integrity; loyalty
fidelity & trust
foolishness where my past collided
but I don’t have intent to harm
sadistic pleasure
is not mine to give

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Dancing with the Faeries

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Photographer: Jason Majewski
Photo used with permission

I watch my littlest princess
dancing away with the faeries
expressing pain so magnificently

her voice, exploding anger
her mind, opposing self
her heart, barely beating

my mind-splitting headache pounds
containing my own maelstrom
that subterranean refuge

where I once found comfort
where there was none
where my soul learned to fly

holding on, innocence
letting go & spirituality guiding
me back home

I hold her now, meet her gaze
no words cling to each other
we plant flowers in the earth

tending our garden, nurturing our selves
her pain temporarily reconciled
my own thunderous affront subdued

I don’t let her see my pain,
I protect her, I love her like I love
my self, mirrored back in her eyes

I watch her from afar
she knows I’m there on the outskirts
her nice stepmother, soothsayer

I can watch & bear, witness
one step removed my fire
unseared, tempered in her presence

I am not a fool, knowing transference
like God, is everywhere & no
where at once, I remain steadfast

she heals me, my littlest princess
igniting my candelabra
rays of warmth piercing the dark

she will be ok with love, gentle
strokes; my cradle rocking a rhythm
peace descending around her to nest

I can watch although I didn’t then
but I can see clearly now, the rain
I trust my self to know the difference

dissociation & dissociative
here in the now my mindfulness
my present is my gift to her

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

For My Children

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1.
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

2.
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

3.
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
for women

Somehow the trauma each of us
experienced, experiences
real, imagined or embellished harm
passed down through our DNA
our nature
through our environments
our nurture
trying to show us the wisdom
to know the difference

It is a blessing
your tenacity, persistence
& determination
fight to right those wrongs
letting go the past moving on
steadfast in search of that love
you desire

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
permanently
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

4.
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
self-righteous justification
anger is violence
no excuse is proffered up
& we are all culpable to some degree

5.
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

6.
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

7.
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
straight through?”
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
unwanted, unloved
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

8.
My heart only ever loved one man
My Grandfather
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
& trust

9.
I watch my man with our littlest princess
I find I am comforted & confronted
that silver arrow that pierced my heart
let loose grieving
I sob for her, for you, for him & for me

Her Father is effervescent, his love
has the capacity to transform hate
into grace under pressure
while we watch the seeds of destruction descend
on, in & around her
we recognize she needs all of us
you included, so she can find comfort
& become what we all needed
unconditional love
there is no place for jealousy & resentment
she is now a part of you, me & us

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

10.
My man knew love too
Grandparents are vital for our children
we now know another kind of love
because of them
I watch his metamorphosis into manhood
his lessons finally internalised
he knows how to love himself,
mirroring

11.
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
to become
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

Imploding Stars

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It’s back
I’m shaking like a leaf
More trauma

It’s a normal natural response
So I’m told
Under these circumstances

I see very clearly
We have different strengths
But strengths we do have in abundance

Meeting in the middle
The two of us working together
Dialogue & adult discussion

Trauma is everywhere
Leaching into every cell
All of us – imploding stars

*

She is such an Angel
Beautiful in all her innocent glory
Loving & gentle

I rock her in my arms
I pat her back in rhythm
She relaxes, falling asleep

She is loved by all of us
To our core, that weeps
In our hearts, that bleed

I pray, pleading for guidance
My faith is in your hands
I am your servant

Love is love
There is no in-between
Just understanding & surrender

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Cold Comfort

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I’m going slightly insane
Oh, to be deaf, dumb, blind & mute!
turning that blind eye, having nothing
more to do with it – all

No shoes on her feet
her hair a mess
the first thing she says is,
“Are you a mean stepmother or a nice stepmother?”
cuddling me, she tells me I’m nice before I can answer, awed
saddened & proud
all at once

I’m so afraid for our little girl
afraid to bear witness; joy, pain, confusion, innocence
I do my best, continuing to be consistent,
loving, nurturing & hiding
my own pain to shelter her

I need time out
not from our littlest princess, never
from that bright spark that lights up my world, my own fear worse for wear
knowing truth; being called a liar
cruelty appears nonchalant & we all know
ignorance breeds ignorance

I rise
above this time & detach
from that confined space lodging
deep in my brain & heart, threatening
to expose my GI Jane

She thrashes inside her prison cell,
the bars of my prison bend
but do not break, I give thanks
to God & Godesses & the Furies,
my Crone; for temperance
my aenima inanimate for the moment

,●

I hear her laugh,
that contagious giggle
putting a smile on my face
all I need is patience; I can wait
Karma has not yet spoken, giving
cold comfort will come at a cost – all
I can do is love

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Family

Christmas with family at lunch.  loved
ones in spirit present. noticeable
some of us not our usual selves. all of us
a couple of weeks and months ago
father, mother, uncle, aunt, cousin
brother, sister, husband, wife, lovers.

love is in the air with a sombre undertone
changing and evolving.  stronger
softer holding on
our spirit’s enquiring gently.  hearts
like cedar louvres
blissfully breathing
lots of hugs and kisses
lots of smiles.

bull mastiffs lap attention unknowingly
giving of themselves.  more
a small child asks for help to go wee’s
as children do.  nona
chuckling as she leads her by the hand.

teenagers frolicking in the pool.  glorious
unfettered minds and bodies celebrating
organic feijoa wine freshly squeezed it seemed.  ripe
the sun in all of us.

pockets of people mingling.  glasses
raised and table laden.  giving thanks
quietly un-quiet mouths, eyes ,ears, skin
and something else.  savouring
sustaining the living and life.  gone
but not forgotten.

© 2008 Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Unprotected

1.
Love is truly blind.
The disparity between conditional
and unconditional love –
and the lack of understanding for either,
peels back the layers of my heaving chest

2.
Silence is punishment.
Feelings and wounds left unsaid, fester
their very existence is denied.
Children birthed from pleasure and pain
turn their back and forget where life began –
throwing their toys at the indignity of it all.

3.
The sound of silence is deafening.
Vengeful breakers crash on my shoreline –
forcibly taking back what was un-given.
I am being stripped down to bare bones
my flesh eroding
my bleeding heart displaced

I let it all wash over me
but I am not mechanical.
My soul out-pours frequently drained
every orifice is like a tidal wave of emotion
ripping through and of me
till I am nothing more than driftwood

4.
My world is full of strangers.
Loved ones who don’t know the meaning of love.
I feel unprotected.
My fingernails are raw and bloody
for clinging tooth and nail
holding on for dear life and limb

5.
My heart has the unfortunate tendency to feel.
I am reminded constantly that I fail
repeatedly
my life can be described as heartbreaking at best
and devoid at worst
there is no in-between

When protection is taken for granted
and I am gutted,
every fibre of my being recoils and retreats.
She tells me to be foetal
and she cradles my broken parts.
She is all that I have left

6.
I am a free bird.
Riding the salted earth and spray.
I am my own gift.
Nothing can touch me except the wind.
He reminds me that I am
alive

© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Edited by Miriam Barr