For my Sister

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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 I need to find & post
I changed your nappies; whoa
what an eye opener that was!
I dressed you, fed you your bottle
I loved playing mum, babysitting

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 – you still have
shoved right up your nose
we all wondered what that stench was
when the doctor pull it out
green & gooey, everybody cleared out
gagging

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

When you had Stanlee, you were still a baby at 18
but so proud of your achievement
then you had Tayla, another blonde terrorist
lucky you
one of each to drive you round the bend
for the next 15 years or so

You always had a thing for cars
panelbeating, time out
in your woman-cave, your room/womb
you are now driving yourself
round the bend
your lead foot finally putting the boot in

Dad loved cars too, least 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 & Barry Butterworth & Ted Tracey

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

I am proud of you, knowing you
have played your cards to suit
piggie-in-the-middle
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
too young to understand
you can thank me for showing them
how to love you
they were too wrapped up
in themselves to notice me, such is life
children don’t come with a handbook
unfortunately

Anyhoo…I love you
I will always be here for you
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 is
her denial, anxiety & depression
past being passed down

Keep smiling & having fun
everything gets better with time
nothing else matters
but you’ve already worked that out
maybe there is hope for me yet?
but I hate everyone I don’t trust
having had the rug pulled out
from under me too many times
losing innocence & love
lost parts of my self I will never find
but as long as you are happy
I’m happy

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Halfway House

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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