The Joker

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The Joker
plays his cards then prays
for forgiveness
to a middle eastern Christian God
before hurling abuse
to those who aren’t white
professing to love women
secretly harbouring unfathomable hate
suppressed rage
staring Red indifference in the face
of reason, his reason
an excuse for payback; vindictive
retribution designed to maximize
powerfully charged emotional punches.

I have loved more than once
choosing my heart over head
batting eyelids deflecting
eggs scrambling to make sense
of the impossible scenario
time after time questioning
my self refusing to settle for anything
less than truth
watching loved ones turn
roll over, pulling the wool
over already unseeing orbs
holding on to contempt for love
lost

Death has defined me
grief ripping me apart
till I am stripped bare and
‘The Joker’ plays me for a fool
his denial hardly concealed now
his truth defining him in the end
hidden underneath a facade
charm dangerously like a predators
false sense of security
when his hands are tied
his dirty hands
he tries to launder abrasive
repeatedly.

Money
the root of all evil
threatens to ignite the paper trails
that have us entwined
enmeshed together by banks
loans and fine print
our future only leased
the balance drains the half full cup
sentiment caught never to be released
that Holy Grail
proving to be forever out of reach
what chance did we have?
the die has been cast.

My love
my darling
you were my everything
my beautiful sweet illusion
my heart aches for remembering you
how you were before you changed colour
I fell head over feet for you and yours
grazing my knee in the process
I succumbed, numbing my defenses
getting back up being pushed back down
losing another fragment of hope
each time threatening don’t
now, the joke is on you.

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

Illusion

She Sells Sanctuary

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Photographer/stylist: Ra Kai

It’s quiet outside

her ears adjust, vicariously
searching out cracks/
a radar mind

finding edges where paths
begin & end
& life circles

inside her four walls
escape & sigh breath
carbon dated memory

each time reflected upon
once/ a crudely stirred
softly shaken sonic echo

a lawnmower cuts
more than
the grass/

in between two or more spaces
she chooses
to wipe away the years

sealed red letters/
sifted thoughts more like
ocean liners

her past full
of Pomegranate blossom
seed

she sells her sanctuary
in blocks/
cubed quarters

organised delivery
ensures a safe return
of a very sure thing?

but not now
there is nothing left to steal.
she sells her sanctuary

from her living room
& chooses life
letting go

/

his miniature shoulders
resemble an old man
Led Zeppelin

his sticks are bundled/
all he can see
is the highway

© Copyright 2010 Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Craving

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I’m craving you, today.

All those beautiful things about you
that glittered like gold; your face,
a ray of fucking sunshine
portending our future
happiness, growing old together.

I crave to see your smile, fall
about the place laughing.

I look back through photographs,
those ones on the balcony
encapsulating you against a green backdrop
when we were ecstatic, tripping
over our good fortune pleasured to meet,
makes me weep now.

I loved you so much it’s unbearable
witnessing our demise.

I chastise my foolishness,
choosing to believe in love – you,
I would do anything to turn back time,
start over knowing what we know now,
hold on to that part of us
that was true, before

reality ripped me a new one
and I belly flopped into despair.

My eyes search for you everywhere,
in my rearview
to steal a glance, catch a glimpse
to see if you remember me, re-ignite
one final psychic spark
awakening those butterflies.

I don’t want the dawn to sing to me.
I long to dream rainbows and fairy floss

instead of axe handles / switch blades
cutting off my head,
dismembering my brain stem
from my heartbeat for you.
Some days I look for ways I can feel,
my fingers frantic

without prying ears interfering
and I ride you into rhythm; doublets

triplets and fours
before I stare transfixed
into the silent night – did you feel anything?
I don’t like this, nastiness unbecoming
it’s not how I want to remember you
but it’s all you’ve ever known.

It’s not too late to salvage respect
putting it all down to folly, our hurt

doesn’t need to scar, on par
with adolescent angst.
I love all those who have gone before
each finding that special place
lodged in the spaces between
the good, the bad and the ugly.

Forgive me, for I will in time; make
it all worthwhile.

I want you to be happy,
successful and content.
Please don’t fall back into line,
choosing thugs for pittance —
you’re worth more than pseudo security
it’s all bullshit, that old way.

You are made for enlightenment
not eternal darkness.

I still love you the way I remember you,
I just don’t believe in the Devil.

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

Blossom

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 Mariners Tale

Home7

“Land Ahoy!”

His First Mate
not more than two feet away, still doesn’t see Hinemoana coming.

“Bring her about hard & fast
& shut your bloody mouth boy!”
after the full force
hits the stern with a swift kick
aimed right up the Jacksie!

She giggles.

It’s an entertaining Port
full of surprises, guffaws
& sudden gusts of wind;
her Devil’s Tongue
quick as lightning
her Siren Song
slipping in & under.

He lays it on thick.

He would feed me grapes
if it weren’t for the Oyster’s, Swordfish, Tuna, Salmon & Lumpfish, a good bottle of Veuve serving up a concoction of frivolity with a sharp spank on the arse for good measure.

No sea legs required here.

Our naked flamboyance
barely creates a ripple,
our island paradise
looking out over the sea
from a safe distance —
your bridge.

I can see the stars up there
& planets
my world seems bigger
brighter
I stare transfixed into space
but I am not lost
I feel strangely nestled.

Green Tree Frogs
& the hope of a Vine snake or two
keep my curiosity peaked.

Michael rows
his boat ashore.

I am not unlike an island.

© Copyright 2013, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

REBLOGGED on Dream Big Dream Often

Interstellar Medium

Orion Constellation

1.

Orion takes my breath away!

His belt & scabbard first
then shoulders
& I wrap myself around himI am at peace
looking out over the ocean
& a sky full of stars

You are not unlike Orion
guiding distant ships on the horizon
I am like Klingon
(Klingon usually mate for life)

but not this tide
we are an interstellar medium:
the space between
Euryale & Poseidon

2.

We are of the Sea

reef, rocks & shoals
perilous waters
where foghorns & Siren songs sound familiar
where fishy tales flush pink
& my Veuve overflows

It doesn’t take me long to remember
expectation is one, two, threefold
we navigate in the dark sometimes
moonlit mirrors reflect only one part of the whole
our universe is bigger than most.

3.

I draw a line in the sand

for both our sakes
there can be only one
I feel the waves crash on the shore
we are all arms & legs
slipping & sliding

in & out of the water.
I look to the stars & my faith
for one brief moment there is no existential crisis
Orion’s heavy breathing & sigh of relief

bring us both back to reality
under the surface
Death is not an unknown entity:
one last roll of the die
& our fate could be sealed.

4.

Thank you

Orion will always be near
Jupiter will always be the biggest planet
the full moon will always shine on me.

I could never go past King Island
without thinking of you
candlelight, frogs & our best mate
Captain’s call still falling on deaf ears

but nevermind
I’m still as blind as a bat
& you’re as old as the hills.

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

REBLOGGED on Ink & Quill

There is Nothing Special about Mary

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Photographer: Judith Bender-Jura

1.

Mary, the one without
a Halo — a married whore,
found unconditional love
hiding in the soles of His feet.

After the fact that
pseudo relationships
took precedence for a while,
she washed Him clean

for no other reason
than to show respect, reverence
for one that would give
His soul for her.

2.

My feet are bare, scarred
by broken beer bottles and red
blood painted tips to toes,
manicured to perfection once

upon a time. His feet
are cold; numbness held in a vice-like
grip as she works her way up
past calves & quads seeking

warmth in the apex comfort
sucking a thumb print, embedded
ecstasy applying pressure
where it hurts, to ease the pain.

3.

She thinks the sun shines outback.
Cradling his head, healing hands
mindful of circular breathing, muscles & tendons ache for release.

Mary doesn’t mind manipulating
bones, fingering the spaces
in between, redirecting blood flow
to all the right places. Kneading,

stretches & burns ping back, send signals like sparks; endorphins
take up the slack, usher in sweet
sensation & nipples peek.

There’s nothing special about Mary
knowing a thing or two,
making money serving more than a handful of life’s little pleasures. Making hay while the sun

shines requires little effort on her part, preferring to let it slide
up past the point of no return. Those days over now
before they really took hold.

4.

Mary looks at him spent, kinesthetic
energy on standby as he reconsiders
where he stands. The party’s over,
someone has to clean up, Mary

learning to love the hand
that feeds her, wishing sometimes
for independence and silence, in
between phone calls. Those days

are over, up for tender for the next
wave of youthful antagonists who seek an existence unbeholden. Love
knows no rules of engagement.

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

Impression

Red Flags & All

Archangel Michael

He wasn’t my usual punter. There was something in the way he greeted me at the door that piqued my interest. A smile, a quick flash of his eyes, a bowed head and the way he made a surprised Mmmm sound as he came inside.

His name was Michael and I was intrigued. We exchange pleasantries, he a wad of cash, reading each other in between the transaction. I go into routine-mode, show him the shower and wait for him in the bedroom.

I almost always start with sensual oral, kisses and licks but he had other designs. I wasn’t sure I was agreeing to this then and I was tense but he was gentle and reassuring so I let him touch my skin.

He cradled me in his left arm while his right hand caressed my body and mound. He whispered gently and I feel my legs begin to relax and spread. He rubbed my vulva in rhythmic circles over and under before slipping his fingers inside me.

I had a moment of uncertainty and my legs began to shut. I am not sure that I’m ready for this, intrude my thoughts, but he said I would be ok and I allowed myself to relax under his control as he penetrated me further.

He used a technique I hadn’t experienced before. I rarely let my clients touch me intimately, a boundary that protected my psyche and separated love from lust. His two middle fingers curved up in behind my clitoris, his two outer fingers down toward my anus, his thumb acting as a brace hold.

He moved me up and down, his internal fingers sliding purposely back and forth. I felt an intense sensation that made me spread my legs wide, completely open. He sped up and then I freaked out again. I thought I was going to pee — this strange delightful sensation created such confusion that I shut down and closed my legs in a moment of fear.

This is not how my typical clients behaved. I was not the one in control and it was a little unnerving. He murmured reassurance and gave me permission to let go. He was so experienced and strangely loving with his care and skill, that I had no choice but to relax into his hand and bury myself into his armpit breathing in his masculine musk.

I felt raw, open and exposed, my vulva swollen, wet and warm. I let him move me with his fingers and allowed myself to moan, surrendering unabashed. My vagina responded like she’s never responded before. I had no choice but to bear down and let out a long, high crescendoing Arrrrrrrgh as I ejaculated for the first time, soaking his hand, his arm, my bed, spraying cum everywhere.

I burst into hysterical laughter. A mixture of embarrassment and shame, enlightenment and release but he wasn’t finished with me yet. He kept going. Slower, faster until he had milked me spontaneously multiple times and I was completely drained of all my juices.

He moved to missionary and looked me in the eyes, held my limp legs and sensually slid his thick penis inside me. He took his time and I watched him bring himself to a long, slow erotic orgasm.

I couldn’t stop giggling when we were both sated. I think during the throes of ecstasy, I even bit him on the arm. We lay there beside each other in silence, me cocooned in warmth and basking in what felt like divinity. He, beaming prowess. I think we both felt blessed.

We went out onto my balcony and talked for hours. The professional in me, negotiated another transaction, although I refused another advance near the end of our encounter. I was still processing and because it was such an unusual night, I felt a little uncomfortable with performance anxiety. The tables had well and truly turned, I knew I was smitten and that was a huge red flag in my book.

Two years later and together, for all intents and purposes and nothing about Michael and I is normal. It’s as-if he comes from another world and my world has been tipped upside down and ripped a new arsehole (not that I’m complaining) I chuckle, but Oh how we have both grown!

We still struggle with our presence at times, and our sex life is a hit and miss affair. The love building up slower than our trust in itself. One thing is for certain though, we are on a different plane and the spiritual depth between us is deep enough to continue to endure and evolve. As exhilarating as it is exhausting, it is well worth the risk, red flags and all.

© Copyright 2022, Poetry Out West, Jodine Derena Butler. 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

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

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

Endings

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Set It Free

I don’t like endings.

I’d rather switch off
Nod and agree,
Even when it’s bullshit.

I don’t like the drama.

I’m a set-it-free kinda gal—
If it comes back
It was meant to be.

We all have to figure it out for ourselves.

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

Strangers

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It was like meeting a stranger.

That uncomfortable feeling of awkward recognition and detachment — that made me want to run least I fall apart, reveal my core which you saw, reflected back at you between glimpses.

That unspoken knowing.

I felt the push of energy and the pull of old habits back into regression, back into the familiar comfort zone of old where nothing changes and we both die a little bit more inside and destiny forgets to reset.

I’m wondering if we’re humble enough to surrender, strong enough to become vulnerable long enough to push through the sparks, ignite the fire and transform pain into passion so we can both decide to rise.

We dance as if we’re going nowhere but in reality, we are already somewhere. Somewhere untapped, viscerally raw and undeniably on the edge of something far greater than either of us anticipated of love.

I want us to push through.

We are free falling to unknown depths and still creating marble pillars from blind faith alone, to eck out an existence that illuminates the veils so we can both find freedom in enlightenment.

All we need to do is walk through the door and let go of the past once and for all and finally fall completely and utterly in love where nothing else matters, except us.

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

My Delirium

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My Delirium

My thoughts are a jumbled mess of confusion (yours, his, hers & mine) scrying for something to hold onto long enough to make sense of the anchors and foundations we’ve both forged from pain, which now threaten to cave in. There is nothing I can do but watch. You are the man. My dreams and cracked beams are giving way to violence — detachment and oblivion. Nothing will be left but a fully loaded house of teetering cards.

All I feel is loss.

The aftermath will have me face to face with Charon. He sits upon my chest now, opening up my third eye bidding me to say goodbye one last time. My soul declines, offering suffering in silence, compassion finding release in a steady stream and I overflow. My ears make wells to muffle his bargain but I belong to no one, not even him. I am a lost cause.

If I accept, demons could still tear me apart, dismember my appendages piece by bloody piece before sewing me back together skew-whiff, over and over again until I am utterly insane. Therein lies the abyss. The place that makes my life a living hell and all my heart aches for, is to love and be loved.

But all I feel is sadness.

Abandonment caves in my ribcage too. It digs in like a tick underneath my lungs and sucks every last drop of fluid left from my life. I am wrung out and strung out, so I waste no time in knocking myself out just to get lost — I wander in the ether to find her again and bring her back home but there is always a catch.

Twenty two foregone conclusions reek of tyranny. You can’t save me! I was lost before you found me and I don’t belong to you or them or here or anywhere and it will always be like this! I don’t want to believe in angels! I don’t want to believe in demons! I don’t want to live in this place!

There is another outburst of pain.

I seek comfort in my magic, my wand set to low creates slow circles that mimick your gentle touch. I feel pleasure for the first time since I last felt your gaze reach in to pull me out and into your Temple. You try to worship my foreign body, send ripples ricocheting between our vibrations but we have failed to find synchrony. In my delirium, I think I must have died.

All I feel now is grief.

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

Lovers Lament

She longs to be held,
my Mary Magdalene, in a lovers embrace.
Spooned & cocooned
Jesus, giving his life
for her.

His arms, extend
holding on giving in
sinking further; a fusion
of flesh & bone,
a comfort hold & home.

I know he too saw
the black curtain fall
& from that moment
they were lost. Lost
& found.

Karma settles scores
resets the All, divine demands
an eternal sacrifice
& Mary yearns for desire
to make it all worthwhile.

A light.

Recognition, foretells
omens coming in three’s,
a wiccan rede; magic, morality
& the afterlife,
a promise from Eden.

She wails. Mary
kisses the soul of destiny,
trusting something bigger
than her parts & let’s go
giving in to fates fury.

A slow grind
losing lust’s sake
to find love & the third eye
delves to depths of compassion
just to be touched.

I long to find her
bring her back whole
to let you in & feel
time expand & contract
as-if we were one.

Despair leaves her wanting.
Holy moments
of magic come & go
Mary holds on, buries herself
in Jesus’ warm arms & hides.

Two lovers lament
looking for something
& leave with nothing; numbness
held in a vice-like grip.
Begone!

Time, will ignite
the cosmic fire
that drew them together. Love,
is bigger than what they once
knew of love.

If I surrender, we can
let go — trust
universal intelligence &
rebuild the architecture of life
in our own image.

Mother Mary is finding her way
& it is already written in the stars.
Jesus IS the way, the truth
& the light.
Ours is creation.

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