The Rage Monster

Atlas Justice

Atlas was sleeping over at Mama J’s, while Dad had some very important family calls to make.

Everything was fine, lots of giggles and play — the garden hose, scattering and Dads shaving cream.

Atlas rocked on the couch in the media room, went into the playroom and did it there too.

He ate all his dinner and had a bubble bath, then crashed around ten with Looby the dog.

He woke during the night and jumped in with Mama J, he slept like a log until the next day.

Mama J didn’t get much sleep through the night, Atlas was all arms and legs — the little shite!

The next day was fine too, all enjoying the peace, while Looby ran around patrolling the place.

Then out from nowhere Atlas lost his sh*t! He scratched and he screeched, yowled and then bit!

Out came the fingernails, the gnashing of teeth but Atlas couldn’t say why because he couldn’t speak.

Mama J put the move on him and held both his hands, non-violent crisis intervention was planned.

Still, poor Atlas stomped and he kicked, he didn’t like being held, not one little bit!

After a while when he’d let out his rage, he burst into tears like a lost boy being saved.

Mama J went into action, soothing the little man, told him everything was alright and that he’d be OK.

It took a wee while but they came to a truce, Dad was on his way home and Atlas was dressed.

(Mama J had a bit of time to clean up some mess).

His bag was packed and Looby had stopped barking, they were patiently waiting for the gate to swing open.

Atlas rested his head on Mama J’s shoulder and she stroked his hair and gave him a cuddle.

Atlas and Mama J had scratches all over, so she applied Pawpaw cream to make it all better.

Then just as expected Dad finally arrived, a zombie-kind-of-cooked dad, but very much alive.

Atlas was almost back home to himself but much more subdued and with flushed cheeks as well.

Dad chatted with Mama J about the night he had had, celebrating the beloved Anna-Marie.

(with Rita and Bobby, Sonya and friend).

When it was time for both of them to leave, Dad gave Mama J a big hug and a kiss.

Atlas walked away quietly holding onto Dad’s arm, then Looby and Mama J crashed out on the couch.

Atlas Justice & Mama J (Jodine Derena Butler)

© Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved. First published on Raising Atlas Rising 2022

Where’s Our Daddy?

Looby (Princess Tallulabelle)

‘Wheres our Daddy?’ said Mama J. Dad was on his way home from a weekend away.

Everyone was waiting for Dad to arrive, all very happy and feeling revived.

Looby did circles and Atlas was all cheer. Mama J, so excited, nearly slid off her chair!

Everyone was waiting for Dad to get there.

Atlas & Looby (Princess Tallulabelle)

‘Where’s our Daddy?‘ said Mama J again, peering out the window with Looby and ‘The Man’.

Looby was transfixed, she refused to move, Atlas beside her both watching the road.

Atlas was grinning from ear to ear, rocking backwards and forwards in Looby’s bed.

The family could sense their Dad wasn’t far, any minute now they’d see the blue car.

Everyone was waiting for Dad to arrive.

Atlas (Justin Timberlake – ‘Say Something‘)

‘Where’s our Daddy?’ Mama J said once more, it was too much for them all, to be sure!

Everyone was beaming, they all loved their Dad, soon there’d be much more fun to be had.

Dad would be home soon feeling all chipper, relaxed and refreshed, feeling much better.

Then Mama J spied him, in his car pulling up, Looby’s ears pricked and Atlas was chuffed!

The garage door made a sound, he was almost here, then the door opened up, he was coming upstairs!

Looby, Atlas & Dad (Matthew Phoenix)

‘Here’s our Daddy!’ said Mama J to the kids, waiting to show Dad how much they loved him.

Mama J held back, watched them all from her chair, giving thanks for the love that was in the air.

Dad looked relaxed as he took it all in, he had recharged his batteries and felt good again.

Dad was at home, he’d come safely back, we all felt the love, kisses and pats — he even gave Looby’s fat a*se a smack!

Dad turned around and smiled at Mama J, (grateful the chance to have had time away), gave her a red rose and said, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. 🌹

The family were vibing listening to YouTube, all of them relaxed getting into the groove.

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved. First published on Raising Atlas Rising, 2022

Yabba Dabba Dad!

Matthew Phoenix

Yabba Dabba Dad jumped up and down, dancing a jig and acting the clown.

He couldn’t remember the last time alone, without Atlas or Looby following him round.

Yabba Dabba Dad was so full of beans, his face was radiating sparkly sun beams.

It was finally Friday, a weekend away, all by himself, alone for two days!

Yabba Dabba Dad shot out the door so fast, he left a trail of smoke as he flew past!

His feet were on fire, his mind was all set, he was on a mission to reset and forget.

Yabba Dabba Dad needed a break, to recharge his health, take care of himself.

It wasn’t about Atlas or Looby as such, he was just tired from doing so much.

Yabba Dabba Dad struggled to get through, all of the things that single dad’s do.

Day in, day out they blurred into one, sometimes dad life wasn’t much fun.

Yabba Dabba Dad was doing his best but every Dad needs a few days to rest.

Atlas and Looby would both be OK, they were having a sleepover with Mama J.

Yabba Dabba Dad was heard driving away, yelling ‘Cocaine and hookers, weed and drag race!’ 😂

(yelling ‘WOOHOO, bring it on! HIP HIP and HOORAY!)

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved
First published on Raising Atlas Rising

Looby — Get Out of the Way!

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

The Process of Evolving with a Special Needs Child

Atlas Justice

Life is good
But sometimes it’s incredibly hard.

Atlas wakes up at 5am, jumps into bed and snuggles me. He’s wet, but I’m too tired to move except to throw my arm over him and pray he’ll fall back to sleep. Peace, lasted all of ten minutes.

Sleep deprivation creates at atmosphere that’s blurry at best and tunnel visioned at worst. Quick to rise, de-escalation tactics take all my efforts to stay cool, calm and reasonably collected while I fumble through toast and a nappy change.

I make my coffee, roll a cigarette and head outside to watch the sunrise from the balcony. So far, so good. Atlas is giggling with his iPad, seated at the table and picking at his breakfast. Happy, lasted all of 10 minutes.

He doesn’t want toast, he wants something from the pantry instead except that’s not going to happen. Out come the fingernails – gouging and scratching and a temperamental defiance that escalates into a full blown tantrum.

Matty storms out of the bedroom, red-eyed and livid and puts his foot down. Peace, lasts all of another ten minutes before the pattern repeats.

I’ve had enough too. Gone are my attempts to keep the child’s mood on an even keel, gone are those feelings of inadequacy that I can’t contain Atlas long enough to let his father have a much needed sleep-in and so I take him to his bedroom, shut the stairwell gate and try to discipline the problem.

I fail miserably.

Snap! The proverbial shit hits the fan once again and this time, silence is a warning best served cold. Matty descends, a leg is slapped, a door is slammed and peace returns for at least an hour this time.

Meanwhile, I contemplate taking Atlas out of the house for a drive before he starts the cycle again. I panic. My clothes are in the bedroom, I’m not sure where the car keys are, will Matty approve, will Atlas lose it in the car anyway? I decide to wait a while longer. My jaw is sore from grinding my teeth.

Matty needs respite but I’m all there is and so we lurch from dawn to well into the early hours, exhausted and running on fumes.

Atlas is a cockblocker too.

The countdown to esctasy on hold for the indefinite future. Foreplay, fails to get either of us off the ground or high enough to move to first base, let alone dive in fingers first and squeeze one out. The conditions of our release barely blow off steam and the only thing getting hard, is life for the next two months, while we reassess the situation.

A temporary adjustment. Life is actually pretty good. Most days Atlas is on form and we make a great team but school holidays with a child with special needs, without any respite, requires strategy.

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved. First published on Raising Atlas Rising, 2022

Oh No!

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Atlas & Dad (Matthew Phoenix)

Oh no! thought Atlas,

Looking at the mess.

Oh no! says Dad,

Not this again.

Nappy fluff is everywhere

There is no end

All over the carpet

In Atlas’ hair!

Oh no! says Mama J,

What is going on?

There’s fluff on the patio,

There’s fluff on the floor,

There’s fluff on the bed,

And there’s fluff on the walls!

There was no end

To the fluff Atlas caused.

A confetti of fluff

Had kept Atlas amused

He’d forgotten about other stuff

That he could be doing,

Like playing with Looby

Or arranging his toys

Or watching his iPad

And listening to noise.

Instead he made carnage

A world full of fluff!

Oh no! thought Atlas,

I think I’ve f*cked up!

Oh no! says Dad,

Ready to scold

Oh no! says Mama J,

Looking forlorn.

In the meantime, Atlas

Had sneaked out the back!

He’d snuck up the stairs

While they sorted it out!

He picked up his iPad

Plonked down on his chair

Grabbed a handful of crackers

Threw them in the air!

A squeal of happiness

Burst out from his mouth.

Oh no! exclaimed Dad,

Where’s Atlas now?

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved. First published on Raising Atlas Rising, 2022

The Motherless Child

Celtic Goddess Cordelia

Cordelia came in her Goddess gown, wild spring flowers in her hair.

She soothed my heart till I could lift my head high: pieces of me reflect back in her eyes.

I sobbed.

I let her see my broken vase and she caressed my skin like a lover.

My vase of cracks and fine lines filled—

The motherless child and I.

The Motherless Child

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved

Killing Heidi

Last night was a true clusterfuck.

This morning, she’s thinking about taking a class

Act.

Flashbacks of a child making desperate promises she can’t keep

Pray.

She learned there was no one who really cared

Naked.

A victim of conditioned responses or lack thereof killing Heidi off

Halo.

Inextricably separate, forever grieving the loss of her

Forgiveness.

When all it takes is to swallow it down whole and roll

Die.

Does she know how much it hurts?

© Copyright 2019, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved

Heidi

Behind the Door is a Metaphor

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Little Red Riding Hood wearing shoes, stepping through balancing on pins, holding on to handles in case the latch breaks and the garden gate swings shut, accidentally locking Goldilocks out while she’s peering through foggy windows vying for attention, except she’s standing on tiptoes wondering what went wrong wishing she was back behind a red door out of the cold, flying like Dorothy clicking her way upside down, looking around for a place called home behind a blue door, where fish peer out from holes in shipwrecks inside a fishtank looking outside into my world, wishing Ariel was a shark that ruled the universe with clown fish laughing behind closed doors ordering sushi, just so she could meet Sponge Bob and go out on a date in a restaurant behind a green door seated in a corner watching everyone stuff their faces on pork bones and rib cages smothered in red sauce that sticks to the side of her wicked stepmother’s face, picking breadcrumbs and gingerbread between crooked teeth, eyeing up the shoes hiding behind a wooden door in an attic where Cinderella keeps her mice, making it impossible for Alice to find the key to a parallel universe where her doppelganger is one of three fairies destined to raise Aurora into a raving lunatic behind bars, until a knight in shining armour sees her hair and hoists himself up into a flying machine, snatching Rapunzel before she ends up covered in thorns, talking to a teapot and candlestick waiting the hills to come alive, just so she can close the door and her eyes.
© Copyright 2019, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved

Indigo Girl

Left alone, thoughts ring and bells toll,

Clanging inside my brain; memories running down

Corridors, splitting off at the junction. Persephone – dead,

That wilted little wretch with amazing airs and graces,

Grating on the pickle of pain. Demeter with her blind eye,

Hades and his jeckyll juice Pomegranate wine

Infiltrating an indigo child holding her breath.

Mauve dug in, embedding her chariot rose

Heart to a stranger. Charon, larger than life

Roaming the dark halls, death casting shadows

Wherever he went. Survival weaving invisible

Threads; a silver road to nowhere, her woven makeshift

Sanctuary cocoon. It was Persephone. Alone in the darkness,

Warm amongst catacombs and the river Styx.

Charons lantern waving in the distance

Side to side, taking an age to dawn.

Here in the crawlspace of time, refuge

Settled in like mothballs and cobwebs

Swung between the skull and crossbones; A subterranean

Mosaic of Dante’s Inferno where prayer echoed off the walls

Falling, on deaf ears and forgiveness became a hopeless

Lost cause.
© Copyright 2018, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved

11 Typical Unintentional Behaviors of Emotionally Hurt People

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

Descend

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.

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

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

image

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

image

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