For my Sister


I remember when you were born
in 1977 mum had a fall, sprawled
out on the lawn. I had to dial dad in the cowshed on one of those antiquated wind up Long Short Short telephones. I was 9.

You had a stripy bouncy. I still have
that photo of you somewhere in amongst my treasures. I changed your nappies; whoa, what an eye opener that was! I dressed you, fed you your bottle and I loved you.

You didn’t have a dummy, preferring
an old cloth nappy that you wore down bit by stringy bit, till all that was left was the bias edge literally shoved right up your nose! We all wondered what that stench was, then the doctor pulled it out — green & gooey. You cleared the room effortlessly, everyone gagging.

When you grew older, I would sing
Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’. I would make you cry but you wanted me to. You were my cute little blonde blister and
we all loved you. You could do no wrong and that’s how it should be, of course.

When you had Stanlee, you were still a baby at 16 but so proud of your achievement. Then you had Tayla, another blonde terrorist — lucky you! One of each to drive you around the bend for the next 20 years or so.

You always had a thing for cars.
Panel beating was time out in your woman-cave, your womb/room. Now you are driving yourself around the bend, your lead foot finally putting the boot in!

Dad loved cars too, although you
haven’t lost a wheel yet. His wheel won the race that day at Pukekohe;
midget number 33. They used to race blind back in the 70’s, him and Barry Butterworth and Ted Tracey.

Years went by & you met Ross. It all finally fell into place and you make a great pair. ‘Team Vulcanator’, team Campbell and my little sister all growed up, showing them all up and
your happiness becomes you.

I am proud of you, knowing you have played your cards to suit, piggie-in-the-middle and tempered frustration behind the scenes. You tried for me, us and them to see reason, broaching ‘the topic’, with that fun sense of humour laughing absurdity in the face.

Thank you for being my big little sister, despite all the family bullshit you are still too young to understand. You can thank me too, for showing them how to love you — they were so wrapped up in themselves to notice me or my needs.

Such is life. Children don’t come with a handbook unfortunately.

Anyhoo, I love you and I will always be here for you if you ever need me, no matter what they might say.
I have money now (I hear you laughing). I stole mine apparently (I’m laughing). I don’t deserve anything, least of all happiness but then I’ve only got to look at mum trying to convince her self she has her denial, anxiety & depression under control; the past being passed down.

Keep smiling & having fun, everything gets better with age and time means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Nothing else matters except love but you’ve already worked that out. Maybe there is hope for me yet? But people are cunt’s, including family. I don’t trust any more.

I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me too many times, losing innocence and love and I’ve lost parts of my self that I will never find again
but as long as you are happy,
I’m happy.

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler. All Rights Reserved

Halfway House


I have a beautiful husband. Loving beyond anything I could ever ask for. His children are gems, the littlest one is an Angel I swear! I miss my man even when he yells at me and says the worst things imaginable in his pain. The man I once knew has eroded away before my eyes. He doesn’t remember how he loved, except his children and rightly so – they are himself and they were stolen. I understand that, I do. I only wish the love I feel for mine is returned in my lifetime. Mine are gone. It seems everyone I love disappears.  I take the blame. It must be my fault, some days I don’t want to be here. Some days I want to fade to black, let that white noise sing me a lullaby and take me home. I lived in many houses once, and my worst nightmare continued. Maybe I relive that moment when I was stolen, against my will. It took me years to find solace in that place till the time came for me to leave. I was homeless, loveless and inconsolable. I did my best with what I knew, made decisions I thought were the best for me and mine. I still feel their eyes upon me, watching me fail and imagine them raising a toast to my demise. Such is life. Whatever I try to do, whomever I try to love, it seems like none of it returns. Sometimes I feel like a desolate child,  still. I’m nearly 50 and I have nothing left least of all to give myself. I exist from day-to-day listening to a monologue of misgivings and self doubts that continue to remind me I’ve never truly belonged anywhere. When I’m gone, I’m still nothing more, nothing less. Of course there are those that profess to love me but that’s only so they can make penance for their own sins – you know, make themselves feel better. That sounded so jaded – I don’t really mean it. I made the most selfish half-hearted attempt at finality. I was chastised for buying my beautiful step-daughter therapeutic books to help her heal.  She’s only four.  I was reminded how I failed to buy books for my beautiful happy grandson.  He turned one recently. I wasn’t thinking straight, obviously. “Your new family can have you!”, she doesn’t want to be a part of that mess. By God I cried. I cried like a little baby. It doesn’t matter what I do its never going to be good enough for her. I may as well resign myself to a life of condemnation, contempt and misery. My man loved me once a long time ago. His daughter is here to keep me company, while we wait for our littlest princess to return. My home may as well be a halfway house. Where is the love? I’m too hurt to see anything beyond what’s yelling at me, leveling me, sucking everything left from inside of me. I sit. I wait. What will happen next? Your guess is as good as mine. My machine parts are too rusted; too many salted tears have cut through all the bullshit. It’s just me and always will be.

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