Too Big for my Shoebox

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Photographer: Nicolas Sènègas

This head fuck
of name calling
of twisted tattle tales
designed to enlighten
denial, woefully inadequate
thoughtless mistakes.

Repeat

Repeating

Sorry, like an episode
for Days of Our Lives
sitcom reruns running
us around everyday
almost all day
serially on a brim
full of bullshit
on a 45.

Repeated

Bullshit,
as much as toward myself
as arrogance is arrogant —
my head is a
spinning vortex gaining
cyclonic ferocity; something
akin to time travel
on fast forward.

Repetition

Repeats

Repeating

The same old same old
he said she said
you said I said
till one said too many flew
over the fucking cuckoo
to nest – resting
between my ears
stuffing my fingers.

Repeatedly

Measuring spoons
gauging the airs
and graces; my presence
testing the water
temperature finding
temperament doused
in acidic
misogyny.

Just fucking stop it!
Fucking stop it!
Stop it!
STOP!

You’re too big
for my shoebox.

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

Savage

Set Fire

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I’ve been living in a war zone.

So it seems, three and a half years
of Hell with nothing left
to show for it,
except heartache
and pain
watching love leach
from my soul; phosphorescent,
sparks like spheres float up, up
and away to fizzle out
in to nothingness.

Since when did I become
the enemy?

Clumped into the annuls of misogyny
tarred / scarred
for being a woman empowered
because I threaten the old ways
where women were barefoot
and pregnant,
swathed in floral aprons
with floured hands kneading
wholesome Madonna complexes
designed to subdue.

I love

depth and passion
moving my heart to where I am
mesmerized in awe; my fragile smile
let loose like an arrow
straight and true into you
and I, jubilant
where I am left wondering
where you have been
all my life – that I would
do anything for you.

I love my self more,

and I am not broken completely.
I can take those looks of contempt
along with those cutting words
and stand my ground against interrogation/subjugation
I lead myself in cycles, navigating
my way out of ear shot for a while
till I can stand it no more,
when I hide away inside
and stuff my fingers.

All is not lost,

despite my sense of guilt at not being
strong enough in your eyes,
unlike grandma whom you adored,
admiring resilience
I am merely a shade by comparison
if I subscribed to your anger and hurt
if I took her on and became
a better person, wife, mother for you
if only I chose to keep my mouth shut
like she learned in the war.

I don’t believe

staying silent will keep us alive
these days. Life requires I fight
for truth, freedom, rights and for love
so you may find your self, lifted from those ashes – Dachau, and understand that women need
tenderness, a kindness that takes away
the hurt of injustices, finding safety
your arms filling me with hope
that I am not alone.

It is with great sadness

that I must choose love,
letting go the innocence of youth
and embrace my own mortality
if I am to be a survivor.
I cannot condone atrocities
of any kind and turn a blind eye
without losing that part of myself
that wanted to die, finding respect
in being true to myself
Lest We Forget.

I am mourning

a life of trials and tribulations
that had me in tears for the most part.
My heart is broken, I no longer believe
in you, us – I am setting fire to the 3rd mar
closing my eyelids on my dreams
facing those feelings
I have been too afraid to feel
reaching in to pull them out
into the open and lay myself bare
so I can finally heal.

Goodbye my love,

we will all be OK.

Puncture

Snow Patrol

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler. ‘Poetry Out West’, All Rights Reserved

The Dance of Alchemy

Atlas Justice

‘Come here, you little scallywag’ said Mama J to Atlas with an I’m-onto-you grin. He was sneaking down the deck stairs with his iPad and it was raining!

‘Oh no you don’t ‘ said Mama J again. Atlas stopped on the first step and glanced over his shoulder at her with a flick of his eyes and a cheeky smile.

‘Bring that to me you little scallywag’.

Atlas had a habit of destroying iPad’s like they were rice crackers; protective cases would be broken and cracked, he’d touch type with his toes and crack screens but his most annoying habit of all, was getting the damn things wet!

At around $700 a pop, minimum, he went through about one (or two) a month. Not on my watch, thought Mama J. Atlas turned and came back up the step.

‘You can’t take the iPad in the rain’ she said explaining the rules. ‘What are you going to do if it gets ruined? You won’t have an iPad to play with and that means you’ll turn into a shitty, whinging, annoying little ball sack!’

Atlas giggled. He was sharper than he let on too. We could all see the cog’s of his brain working overtime planning and scheming, playing on his non-verbal affliction like Marcel Marceau.

We used to call him Houdini, still do sometimes when he’s found a way to escape. Atlas has a habit of casing the joint, any joint, working out it’s strengths and weaknesses and waiting for the opportune time to enact his plan.

He once stole a fob key and let himself out of his school! He was found in a big garbage bin full of flattened cardboard boxes. The school had to change their security policy. He was 6.

I prefer Houdini for Atlas Justice. He was a master at deception and a skilled manipulater when it came to maximising his performance too.

Atlas would make an excellent burglar, thought Mama J. He had an opportunistic streak that takes full advantage of any situation that suited him.

You couldn’t help but laugh. He was a genius really, underneath all that anger and frustration. He didn’t like being caught or told he couldn’t do or have something. He’d lash out like a Tasmanian Devil and come at you with his fingernail claws and gnashing teeth.

Mama J caught Atlas in her periphery taking another step outside, sneaking down the steps.

‘Oui! Get back up here or I’ll take it off you! Move!’

It was going to be one of those days. ‘The Dance of Alchemy’, Mama J called it. Balancing fun and happiness with a firm I’m-not-going-to-take-any-of-your-shit undertone that meant business.

Atlas moved back onto the deck and sat himself down at his table. So far, so good. He was listening today. Mama J breathed a sigh of relief, leaned back into her chair, had a sip of coffee and admired the rain nurturing her garden.

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

Call the Shots

Archangel Michael

I know where I stand

You know what I want

I have what you need

Value me and my worth

Nothing comes for free

Trust and betrayal

Go both ways

I am an older woman

My desires are different

I don’t have my whole life ahead of me

I have my best years yet to come

It’s all up to you

It’s called love

It’s called commitment

You’re not fucking over another woman!

I mean it with every fibre of my being

Don’t fuck with my head and heart

Love is not a fucking game

Calling the shots.

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

The Big Boss Chair

Atlas Justice in the Big Boss Chair

Atlas Justice was sitting in his Dad’s boss chair. His Dad was the boss and things would get done or he’d say ‘FUGAZI!’ and hang up the phone!

Atlas watched his Dad doing his work, sorting things out, making things work. He knew when the Bat Phone started to ring, that Dad would have to deal with some other things.

Atlas ‘The Little Don’ loved Dad’s chair, he would chair dance with Mama J when he wasn’t there. They’d swivel and twirl, backwards and forth, round in circles and Dulcie Doh!

(Atlas was in a world of his own)

When Dad was away he liked to just sit, in the big boss chair while he twisted it. One day Mama J moved dinner to the desk, she sat down beside him, like she did with his Dad.

The Little Don respected the big boss chair and made no extra mess anywhere. He knew it was important to be respectful, he was not going to get into any trouble.

‘One day’ he thought, ‘I’ll be a big man!’ He wanted to be just like his Dad. Atlas was grinning from ear to ear, he knew that one day he would get there.

He wanted to say ‘FUGAZI’ too, to all those twats who doubted him. ‘I’ll carve my own way in my head and show Dad how hard he had worked’.

The Little Don Atlas loved his Dad, he knew he was a decent man, made of old school honour and grit, he wanted to make Dad proud of him.

He’d learn to speak and become a man too and show his Dad how much he loved him. He’d sit in the Boss chair and he’d say, ‘I love you Da. I always have’.

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

I Can’t!

Henwood

Henwood the Woodster, ‘Woody’ for short, was having a hard time making things work. He decided he’d try to put on his shoes, he had his socks on, this he could do but when he was trying to tie up his lace, he went round in circles again and again!

He had it all sorted inside his head going over and under and grabbing both ends but when it came time to twist through the hole, he couldn’t do it and he started to howl.

He was losing his sh*t, you could see it build up — till he finally snapped and then kicked a plant! He stamped his foot, let out a grunt, threw his hands in the air and said, ‘I CAN’T!’

He did a big sigh, he was doing his best but it was p*ssing him off so he gave up instead. He called to his mum with tears in his eyes, but he was trying really really hard not to cry.

It was doing his head in figuring it out, his brain was too quick for his hands to catch up. He almost had it before he gave in, but true to his form he kept persisting.

Woody the Woodster tried many times but his brain was so fast he couldn’t keep pace. He would get half way there and once more he’d snap, throw his hands in the air and yell, ‘I CAN’T!’

‘Its not working’, he said, his face going red, ‘I can’t seem to get the last little bit. Mum, can you show me one more time? This time I’ll get it, I think I’ll be fine’.

Mum sat down with Woody the man and showed him just how to twist round his hand. She popped the loop right through the hole and pulled them tight to make they hold on.

Woody was studying the way that mum moved, he undid the lace and tried once more. This time he got the loop through the hole but couldn’t quite grasp the two loops at a time, threw his hands in the air and again said ‘I CAN’T!’

Woody the Woodster walked away in a huff, he’d try another way he said to himself. He knew that one day he’d learn to do it, so he’d try again tomorrow, ‘to hell with it!’

The next day was Sunday, they were all going out, he had to put shoes on and get it right. He sat down in the corner out of sight and worked on his laces this way and that.

All of a sudden he let out a cry, he’d made it work and was full of delight. ‘Look Mum!’ he said ‘it went through the hole, I pulled both the loops and I made a bow!’

‘You did!’ said Mum, ‘I knew that you could, you just needed time to understand it’. Woody was chuffed, he felt like a man, threw his hands in the air and said ‘I CAN!’

He pranced around in his shoes all day, running and jumping and feeling gay. He felt good about himself, he had learned a new trick, he took off running then started to skip.

‘I CAN!’ he thought, and away he went with his bigger brothers Ronan and Harken. They had a great day in a national park, made all the more better with Woody’s bright spark.

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

FFS Atlas!

Atlas Justice & Matthew Phoenix

Dad woke up on the wrong side of the bed, Atlas had come in and pissed on his head! A mouthful of urine dribbled down from his chin, ‘for FU*K’S sake Atlas, GET OUT OF IT!’

Dad wasn’t off to a very good start and Looby had let off a foul smelling fart! He finally dragged himself out of his bed, and fumbled his way to the toilet instead.

The first pee of the day was always the best, Dad closed his eyes and listened to it. Atlas and Looby had followed him in, then all of a sudden it was silence…

Dad opened his eyes confused a little bit, he was still peeing but couldn’t hear it. He looked down at the toilet and what did he see? Atlas holding a cup under his stream! ‘for FU*K’S sake Atlas, GIVE THAT TO ME!’

Atlas looked at Dad’s face with a mischievous grin, then quick as lightening started drinking it! Dad looked at Atlas who was way off the chart and thought ‘this kid of mine wasn’t quite right’.

Dad had a shower and the kids disappeared, ‘this didn’t bode well, they’d be into shit!’ Dad hurried to get dressed and he braced himself, he was expecting carnage so he held his breath.

Dad had been right, they were up to no good, he walked into the kitchen and stood there stock still! His mouth dropped open as he looked all around, ‘for FU*K’S sake Atlas! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE NOW?!’

Atlas had opened the pantry door, Two Minute Noodles were all over the floor! He’d been in the fridge and freezer too, all the doors were left open and he’d emptied the food!

Looby wasn’t much better she’d found a toy, ripped it to shreds till it was destroyed. She had pulled out the stuffing with her fine front teeth, it was everywhere even on the TV!

Dad’s face was all red, he was about to explode, ‘if this shit continued, the boy would be sold!’ He’d place a sign around his neck saying ‘Free to a good home! For FU*K’S sake Atlas! THIS IS NO GOOD!’

Dad tidied and cleaned and put stuff away, there was SO much mess it would take half a day! Then he remembered the kids were downstairs but all he could think was he couldn’t hear noise.

He walked down the stairs hoping for the best but any minute now he’d run into the mess and sure enough as he rounded the corner, he could see the tap on and a flood of water!

Atlas had shoved facecloths into the plug, the water had no where to go except out. Up over the edge of the tub it came pouring, all over the floor and down the hallway. ‘for FU*K’S sake Atlas! THIS IS ANNOYING!’

Dad had had enough, he felt like a wreck, he’d hardly had time to wake up correct. Almost every morning he had to deal with this, he didn’t know how he was still coping with it. He felt defeated and wanted to cry, he needed to have a long time away.

Good thing it was Friday and thank God for Mama J, she was having Atlas on the weekend for two days. He refocused his energy and got Atlas to school, he’d deal with the mess later that’s all he could do.

Atlas and Looby were no where to be seen, ‘Oh no!’ thought Dad and raced back upstairs – just in time to see Atlas piss on his bed! ‘for FU*K’S sake Atlas, GO PISS ON YOUR OWN, and while you’re at it, GO GET A JOB!’

When he got home and looked all around, he felt very sad and very overwhelmed. He let out a sigh and one single tear, people really didn’t have any idea.

Dad life wasn’t much fun in the sun, for a single parent family with an autistic son. There was no support for Dad for respite, he tried everything but no one was right.

Atlas was high risk so care was specialised, there was no one to handle him who was qualified. Not only that but he needed two carers and the fund didn’t cover all these expenses.

Dad pulled himself together and cleaned the whole house, did all the washing and felt proud of himself. He packed up a bag for his weekend away and gave thanks for his beloved friend, Mama J.

He had an hour to himself before collecting the boy so he had a wee nap with Looby the dog. He drifted off all snuggled on his arm chair and started to look forward to not being there.

Mama J really, really did care.

Atlas Justice & Matthew Phoenix

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

The Little Toe Rag!

Atlas Justice

Mama J woke up on the wrong side of the bed, during the night she had tossed and she’d turned. Atlas woke her up at some ungodly hour, whinging and whining with fingernail gouges.

Mama J tried to calm him by rubbing his back, but he was carrying on like a right ole twat!

(Atlas was really, missing his Dad).

Bleary eyed and dopey, Mama J rose from her bed, she was doing her best to stop seeing red. She changed little Atlas out of his jammies, gave him some toast and some Vita Gummies.

Mama J was not in a very good mood, she wanted to sleep in and stay warm in her bed. Atlas decided he didn’t want toast he went for the pantry for something else!

(But that was too bad, he didn’t have a choice!)

Mama J wasn’t up for any of his sh*t, he would do what he was told, that was the end of it! He stamped and he growled and then bit his hand, gave her the death stare which said ‘do it now!’. That didn’t work either and she sat him back down, and told him to stop acting like stupid-ass clown!

He got up from his chair and grabbed his iPad, stamped his feet, whinged and then turned it up loud! Atlas thought he knew how to behave, so he created more noise to annoy Mama J.

Mama J adjusted her vibe a little bit, tried to stay calm and keep control of it. Even then the little toe rag wouldn’t stay put, continued being defiant and amped up the sook. Mama J switched off and ignored him altogether, turned on YouTube and played something mellow.

(She was not in the mood to entertain the little fellow.)

She was NOT going to put up with any of his crap, he was NOT going to have what he wanted to have! Atlas continued to open the pantry, Mama J continued to tell him to stay.

They did this for an hour before it sunk in, Atlas had realized he just couldn’t win. He finally sat down and ate all his toast, had a sip of water and played with his toes.

Mama J praised him and said ‘well done’, opened the pantry and said ‘here pick one’. Atlas had wanted to eat cupcakes instead but Mama J rewarded him when he was behaved.

Atlas looked at Mama J with a great big grin, he had pushed through and he’d had a win! Mama J was happy too and everything was fine, she had time to make coffee, relax and unwind.

Dad would be home soon for the rest of the day and Looby would do circles when she saw him again. There was nothing quite like it when the family were together, especially when Atlas was feeling much better.

Mama J was awake now and starting to move, dusting and vacuuming and wiping surfaces. She loved giving Dad a clean house to come home to, they made a good team and THAT’S what friends do.

Atlas Justice

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

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

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!

Image

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 Rainmaker

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Matty Phoenix

His aura hell bent; Phoenix halo,
sparks, fire
& inertia creep.

Cool swagger sways a third eye,
the back of his head
scans in infared.

The Rainmaker’s blood
red right hand fisted to brawl,
gets it done.

Dirty deeds wipe the slate
clean — a power vacuum sealed.

Still waters run deep.

%

Hozier moves the tempest
to where the heart meets
the sun & the moon.

Atlas, holding up
the weight of the world,
brings him back down to Earth.

© Copyright 2021, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved

Skin & Bitch Bone

I don’t want to go to Church;

Have to kneel for a scrap of bread,

Have to beg for forgiveness,

Have to swallow an empty vessel for a measly sip of port wine.

All of it, on my divine time —

For a bullet with my name on it.

I don’t want to be told what to do;

When I am deemed worthy enough for you.

Where I can live, when you decide

Who I can be with, if it suits them.

What I can wear, to show off my hour-glass figure & classic class.

How I earn my pittance pay & not be dependent on you for anything —

That doesn’t meet with family approval.

I don’t want to live this way;

Waiting for a skin & bitch bone

Salivating over moldy morsels

Wagging my mangy tail,

Waiting for that prayer of approval.

I am of Mary Magdalene.

The Patron Saint of Prostitutes

The red right hand of Jesus —

His only true partner in crime.

I am a Goddess in my own right

& I deserve to be equal, besides

I don’t take kindly to being manipulated by Romans or Benedictine

Monks, attempting to make meals on wheels look A La Carte.

Men who would starve a loved one, & feed a stranger, if it meant they were a step closer to the light.

Attonement casts an evil shadow —

Double standards rape & pillage your family values & family members drop like flies amongst the lies.

/

Heart’s bleed out through cathedrals & stained glass window’s, while you profess your love in gypsy spades.

You piss all over me like a stinking leper!

You, who would decide if I live or die!

Let those who cast the first stone wallow in self pity because I turn my back.

I walk away from you & yours, my bright future fading into despair like the grandiose mirage that it was.

All of it, on your terms.

You would discard me in a heartbeat.

Your entitlement precedes your entourage of everything & nothing,

Where you would set limits on love to the detriment of your own broken heart.

So be it!

These are all moot points in the grand master plan anyway.

The great scheme of things to come, comes at a much greater cost & one I can live without.

Hozier- Take Me To Church

© Copyright 2020, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. All rights reserved

Backshed Bullshit Press

Image

“We can’t approve every poet, in case it reflects badly” JD Butler

‘It’s only a name and doesn’t really mean anything’

But it seems as though it matters at the end of the day.

Standards must be kept after all.

It’s only for skilled/educated, literate poets.

We can’t approve every poet, in case it reflects badly.

We must make ourselves look good.

Weed out the riff raff as it were.

Make a name for ourselves.

Only the chosen few will be supported.

Friends and family.

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

Fact

Check Mate

Photographer/Headpiece/Makeup by Andreas Boldt

You went back to the old ways, baby
let those speak for me, on their behalf
poisoning your mind and self
to bring you back home, tethered
to that place you’ve been trying to leave
you let them whisper in your ear,
sweet nothings to woo betrayal,
the only thing you trust
you’ve gone full circle
fear taking what was good for you
over love held in contempt,
lust luring you back again
already screwing you
now they’re trying to screw me
with phone calls, designer texts
intimidation sending me
into undercover, in disbelief
believing you have a hand in thuggery
you were so protective
of me, once family
willing to sell it all to the Devil you know
sending them all away
but they have your head in a vice
that false prophet Halo
surrounding you in darkness; checkmate,
stealing more than just Mary’s soul
you are weak, following
in your fathers footsteps
the one closest to you, the first
learned her place underfoot
her escape futile, her existance
cruel penance for that lost child
proving her guilt
she accepts her fate, now
that’s why she turns a blind eye
allowing your atrocious behaviour
to go unchecked – you raise your voice,
she see’s him in you and resigns
I have fallen by the way
learning to let go of my heart,
my mortality reminds me daily
that I am alone
I look forward to other things, now
bringing fulfillment here,
my father in his Twilight
where I can care for love
without risk, losing it all
the best part – his death
teaching me everything else
I need to know

/

one day, I hope
you sneak back into my bed,
just because you can and
we have an hour or two
to ourselves, like it was before
remembering our smell,
feeling our hearts open
loving each other well, adjusted
until the next time we say goodbye
and life goes on.

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved

Distant

Set Fire

Image

image

I’ve been living in a war zone

so it seems, three and a half years
of Hell with nothing left
to show for it,
except heartache
and pain
watching love leach
from my soul; phosphorescent,

sparks like spheres

float up, up and away
to fizzle out in to nothingness

Since when did I become
the enemy?

clumped into the annuls of misogyny
tarred / scarred
for being a woman empowered
because I threaten the old ways
where women were barefoot
and pregnant,
swathed in floral aprons
with floured hands kneading
wholesome Madonna complexes
designed to subdue

I love

depth and passion
moving my heart to where I am
mesmerized in awe; my fragile smile
let loose like an arrow
straight and true into you
and I, jubilant
where I am left wondering
where you have been
all my life – that I would do anything
for you

I love my self more

and I am not broken completely.
I can take those looks of contempt
along with those cutting words
and stand my ground against interrogation/subjugation
I lead myself in cycles, navigating
my way out of ear shot for a while
till I can stand it no more,
when I hide away inside
and stuff my fingers

All is not lost

despite my sense of guilt at not being
strong enough in your eyes,
un-like grandma whom you adored,
admiring resilience
I am merely a shade by comparison
if I subscribed to your anger and hurt
if I took her on and became
a better person, wife, mother for you
if only I chose to keep my mouth shut
like she learned in the war

I don’t believe

staying silent will keep us alive these days
my life requires I fight
for truth, freedom, rights and for love
so you may find your self, lifted from those ashes – Dachau,
and understand that women need
tenderness, a kindness that takes away
the hurt of injustices, finding safety
your arms filling me with hope
that I am not alone

It is with great sadness

that I must choose love
letting go the innocence of youth
and embrace my own mortality
if I am to be a survivor
I cannot condone atrocities
of any kind and turn a blind eye
without losing that part of myself
that wanted to die, finding respect
in being true to myself
Lest We Forget

I am mourning

a life of trials and tribulations
that had me in tears for the most part
my heart is broken, I no longer believe
in you, us – I am setting fire to the 3rd mar
closing my eyelids on my dreams
facing those feelings that I have been too afraid to feel
reaching in to pull them out
into the open and lay myself bare
so I can finally heal

goodbye my love

we will all be OK.

Puncture

Snow Patrol

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler. ‘Poetry Out West’, All Rights Reserved

Visible Woman

Image

image

I’m a whore.
A hooker for all
Intents & purposes

I fuck

Men, women or both
If they show me
Respect & pay my fee

How they treat
Me is how I screen;
They peep through key
Holes in my web,
Mobile phone or face
Book

Leave me clues
I peruse at my leisure.

On my unpaid time,
Weeding
Always pulling
Out roots & bare
Back, barking mad
Messages

Cutting into my family!

My family time
Intrigues you & yours –

Watching how we
Balance on that edge,
While I swing my leg
Over, hold on
Tight & tiptoe
Around the giant
Dildo in the room

But we do

Those Bill’s
Just don’t stop coming!

*

I work hard for the money
I work hard for family
I work hard
Pulling my weight where it counts
To make ends meet;
Reconciling differences
Underneath

I bleed red & my shit still
Stinks but that doesn’t make me
Invisible, unless you’re
Anti

Anti this, anti that
Why should it matter
What I do to support my
Self or my family?

I should ram my fist right up
Your arse, to my elbow
(I’d like to – bend you over) &
Piss all over your pride & prejudice!

Your mind is already made up.
Stuck up, to the eyeballs
In condescending lies pandering
To (un) popular beliefs;
Nothing like countering ‘prostitution
Narratives’ in the belly
Of the beast

I am a very tall poppy.
I am not so uneloquently on display
I am not a victim
I am not coerced
I am not a survivor
I am not damaged
I am not suffering any
More than anyone else

I don’t buy into
Negative, stereotypically ignorant
Profit driven victimisation
Either!

I choose to be the
Architect of my own life
Doing my bit,
Arousing your awareness
So that those who are
Tarred with the same brush
Can find support
Not rescue

It’s called autonomy.
Something I have more of than
Some, but you are not one

Tomorrow I’m going to wake up
Turn on my phone
Answer messages
Boil the jug & light up a dart,
Considering all my options
Before heading back in to sex work

It makes me stark raving
Mad, to think you could
Possibly be offended!

*

For what it’s worth,
I feel sorry for you

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler. ‘Poetry Out West’, All Rights Reserved

Paragon

Written in protest of the ‘World’s Oldest Oppression’ Conference in Melbourne, Victoria 2016

The Online Protest

Pieces of Meat

Sound of Silencing Sex Workers

Online Pocket Guide to Dealing with Antis

Sensitive Weed

Image

image

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.