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

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

FFS Atlas!

Atlas Justice & Matthew William Haylock

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 William Haylock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looby — Get Out of the Way!

Dad is making breakfast in the kitchen.

The toaster goes FffAP!

Two slices of toast leap into the air, flying crumbs are everywhere.

Looby sitting under foot, pricks her ears and has a look.

Dad nearly jumps out of his skin and Atlas turns to see the din.

Dad swivels to catch the flying toast but Looby was standing way too close.

A paw, a slipper, a yelp and a shriek, dad nearly crashes head first in the sink!

One of them knew just what to say, it was dad telling Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is hanging out the washing in the garden.

The screen door goes THhhUNK!

Atlas came out to show dad his toy, Looby had followed and was full of joy.

She waddled and sniffed, chose a fine spot, and what do dogs do? She sat down to squat.

She grunted and sneezed, hunched and then squeezed – this time it wasn’t only just wees!

She scratched and pawed, bumped into dad’s leg – knocked him off balance what more could be said?

Dad took a step back and stood in the poo, threw his hands in the air and said, ‘not this too!’

He hopped as he landed while she jumped away, ‘for goodness sake Looby, GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is bringing Atlas’ lunch by the pool.

A ball hits his head with a TWAaCK!

Dad had to juggle or else he would trip, a plate of full of sandwich’s had started to tip.

A handful of odd sorts of things left his fingers, poor Dad had to struggle just to stay nimble.

Atlas was splashing, giggling and such, a huge smile on his face watching the fuss.

Then out from under the table shot Looby, spying a sandwich – her lunch had come early!

Dad’s face had gone red, he was losing his sh*t, he’d had enough, he was over it!

She was up-setting the balance that day, ‘for goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is cleaning Atlas’ bedroom.

The vacuum cleaner goes PffMPT!

Dad peered down at a half eaten sock, ‘Oh no’ he said, the nozzle was blocked!

He bent down to fix it and pull it out, but Looby the dog would have none of it.

She jumped up and yapped and then bit the bar, Looby was taking it way too far!

Atlas had wandered away up the stairs, both of his fingers were shoved in his ears.

None of them wanted to deal with the mess, first it was breakfast now it was this!

Dad rolled his eyes and started to shake, ‘for goodness sake Looby, GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is preparing everyone’s dinner.

The pantry door slams shut with a SLAaP!

Atlas had been helping himself! He thought he would sneak a handful of stuff.

Fistfuls of crackers, biscuits and junk, he was not going to eat what Dad made with love.

Dad took those things off him and had a fit, he growled at poor Atlas and told him to sit.

Typical Looby had started to bark, protecting the family from imagined  harm.

She ran in then away, yapping all the while, a barrel of legs, ears and snout and a nub for a tail.

Dad barked right back and told her to stay! ‘For goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is resting in his lounge chair.

The volume on Atlas’ ipad goes UP!

Atlas was listening to clips at the table –  balloons pop, things rip and the sound of crunched gravel.

Dad’s tired eyelids were about to close, he’d sneak a quick nap while the boy was amused.

Needless to say the day was not over, what more could happen Dad started to wonder?

Looby was asleep in between Dads leg’s, but the sound going up, had hurt Looby’s ears.

All of a sudden she jumped up and barked, stood on Dad’s balls and did a loud fart!

Dad’s eyes flew open, he grimaced in pain, ‘for goodness sake Looby, ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Dad is putting Atlas to bed.

The curtain rod fell off, hit the floor with a CLAaaNK!

Atlas had had fun, he’d trashed his room, toys were all scattered and clothes were all strewn.

Looby was standing all dopey and still, it was her bedtime, and she knew the drill.

She decided to be as quiet as a mouse, she was all sleepy and very tired herself.

Dad had to sort things and put them up high, but he tripped over Looby and let out a cry!

He stubbed his toe on the end of the bed, fell over head first, what more could be said?

He grimaced in pain, grabbed his foot and he howled, once again he raged ‘GET OUT OF THE WAY!’

Finally it was the end of the night, dad sat down in his chair and closed his eyes.

Looby had scratched and scrunched up her bed, did a few circles then lay down her head.

Atlas was curled up and fast asleep, it had been a big day, he was out to it.

The night was so quiet and everywhere was still. Goodnight dear family, sweet dreams and sleep well.

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

The Process of Evolving with a Special Needs Child

Atlas Justice

Life is good
But sometimes it’s incredibly hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I fail miserably.

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

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

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

Atlas is a cockblocker too.

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

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

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

Oh No!

Image

Atlas Justice & Dad (Matthew William Haylock)

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

Flashes of Alchemical Code

Amun Ra

You, with all of your abundance —
Soul
Heart
Mind
Flesh & bone.

Your esoteric arms; a
Metaphysical circumference
Surrounding all those you love
Raising them up,
Showing up like a star.

A lighthouse.

That blue beacon
Saving souls, including your own.
Flashes of alchemical code
Roll up & over like waves
Crash a symbol in crescendo.

Bravery,
Taken to depths
Only Gods can create,
Your God
Is The All of you
& he could never be lost.

You are like Amun Ra.
Creator of the universe
Our Sun, light
Ra’s right eye
Life (& creation)

I am of Hathor
Protector of children &
Your left eye; Moonlight
For your darkness,
Your Milky Way
Your Lady of the Stars
Your Mistress of Life.

Genius,
Emanating love
Balance &
Harmony —
Holding onto us.

We breathe each other in & distill
Our fate, fortune & favour
Past, present & future
Wisdom, magic
& higher learning,

Guided by our beloved Thoth (Hermes Trismegistos).

Hathor
Thoth (Hermes Trismegistos)

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

Hathor

His Soul and my Insignificance

Neglect

In my dream I was a dog.

Some sort of mangy matted thing tethered to a rope and stake. Fragments of cracked bone and coagulated mud puddles, stuck to my fur.

In my dream

I saw the man come— he brought his cold black eyes and set his sights on me, hurled another bucket of slop at my feet and I wept.

In my dream

I saw through the black hole in his soul and my insignificance outshone the brightest star, even then I wore my existence well, shut my mouth and kow-towed, I became nothing more than a flea.

In my dream

I wore a collar and bore love just to prove that point I once knew before I disappeared into a maelstrom of mourning. Nothing left to give.

I am reminded of the wife beater singlet and mullet crop of men way back then, the stench of decay followed by assault and I know it’s only a matter of time before I die.

Still, in my dreams

I am honoured to be graced by his presence but in reality, I am worthless.

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

Strangers

Image

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

Image

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

Artemisia

Artemisia

Demeter feels deep shame.

That niggling voice belies demons who whisper their disapproval. I don’t want them to hate her. It’s easier to hide away until she can return, find compassion for their mistrust.

She is too big.

The things she pontificates under duress, scare me. It is best that I learn to trust Hermes – to ask for something with a reason instead of stealing something without one.

Mourning.

Loss, tears open a hole — splits a scar further apart; destroying a perfectly sealed crust. Fragments of flaky skin scatter to the wind, shed a diatribe of unforgiving.

She moves in and out of the ether.

Flying through space and time searching for another wormhole, another passage to take her to Persephone, that damned alter-ego who dwells in the deep recesses of purgatory. Home is where her heart aches to return.

Demeter negotiates another extrapolation.

Manifesting a spiral vortex, she hones her parts and I wait for the impact to knock me off my feet — wake me up with a jolt of epiphany where I love the magnificence of my creation.

She does not belong to Hades.

Demeter is radiant. All the virtues I try to bestow; a culmination of strength and vitality and love to honour – my integrity in spades.

I am omnipresent.

Her mouth is shut preferring solace over a wailing lament that conjures a maelstrom of death and dying. I could do well to endure no more, wrath has held me bound.

Tonight Demeter ascends.

I return to myself and you are free to wander in search of true love and find your Artemisia, a perfect match for your Nemesis.

No Light, No Light by Florence and the Machine

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

Ether Box

Image

Ethereal

My ether box
graunching & grinding through stargates
shudders, misfiring synapses
lurch from push to pull
ascending
descending
traversing my self worth,
mitigating losses
tempering gains.
I am giving in,
my self esteem proving much harder
to love and set free.

I’m trying to make peace my lover.
Finding my path with you
is unconventional at best
excruciating at worst,
leaving behind
socially acceptable hopes & dreams
settling in to formalities — contracts
designed to pave the way; a gold lining
to my pewter paradise
on that long road to happiness.
I stare into Aphrodite through my looking glass
& blow her a kiss goodbye.

Skeleton’s eventually decay
but demons still want to purge pain,
set me up to fail
tempt Narcissus to stray,
to step away from his reflection
& risk a coward’s death.
I ask the Goddess for forgiveness
trust my fate & fury
& instinct to guide me.
Psyche would lead me astray
to plummet over the edge
of reason — but Aphrodite will broker a deal.

Start over. My fossil fuelled forge
will always find a way forward,
transform blue light beams
into fire, illuminate those pitchforks
& burning crosses hiding in my ether;
shadows that threaten
to cast spells & incinerate whole galaxies,
merely pseudo reflections
of my reality. I choose you
& take no prisoners at the same time,
for I choose wisely.

There is no burden I cannot bear
when it comes to you,
how you see yourself is a reflection.
We hold our head & hearts
in their hands; their hands
create a destiny for us both.
We are intertwined & enlightened —
a gift from God.
Our souls recognise, accept & understand
there is only now, the past is gone. The future is
whatever we divine.

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

Demeters Descent

Demeter Descending

You’ve been breaking me.

Killing me softly like that song, trying not to harm me, trying not to lie — letting me fall to see if I come back stronger. I know what you’re doing; giving me facts to face my fears
so you don’t have to wear a mask.

Sinking me down further, bit by bite.

You watch me wrestle with Psyche, see the squalls before they arrive, the rogue waves looming on the horizon and try to navigate the shit storm that is my life or so I imagine her lot,

Sometimes.

Forecast’s based upon trust, an old school remedy tried and tested over centuries of trial and error, almost on the doorstep of my abandonment. I have to want to choose my life over my life, play with fire or die in vain — seek some sort of comfort hold that pulls me close (safe), that doesn’t strangle me in my sleep.

Demeters demise.

Comes as no surprise then. Her return from the underworld fraught with danger, shed the All, her only hope of salvation and ascension coming to light; Zeus rumbling his desires expects nothing less than a fathers love in return.

I think I am forsaken.

You think I am like Poppy, offer me a chance to be apart of a real family, show me another way to heal, to find warmth and trust that I am genuinely loved where I can thrive, in time. Something I have too much of and not enough to squander.

I want to give it all away.

My job, my friend, my life in exchange for something worth fighting for, yet I am bereft, devoid and damaged beyond repair and you cannot reach me. I need more time to get over you.

Another, will begin another end

to wear me down to char. Somehow my destiny taunts me, forces me to watch and become nothing but a burdon I still have to carry when I can no longer fight and I don’t have what it takes to push through, for you.

Trust no one.

Bravery has always been a strong fulcrum point, an internal compass that leaps toward faith, a little too close for comfort in the end. My judgement will come as swiftly as Hera came forward to claim what was rightfully hers, tearing out her own heart for the sake of her enemies!

You don’t want me.

My demons are telling me I have to die a bit more in order to live but it still hurts to say goodbye. Either way, I am lost right now and there’s nothing anyone can do. You’re all in for a hell ride while I deconstruct and I make no guarantees that I will survive intact this time.

Evolution.

My head is trying to cling to straws while my heart is breaking and I have no where left to go, except home. The secret to survival is balancing hope and despair. I am doing my best and I am so tired.

Guflydktskyl vg j jkhlhc. Khhc khckhc. Uclhfflh. Yxjrekh. Kyeekgxkyggl. It all makes no sense to me. Just empty words in hollow spaces

All This & Heaven Too – Florence and the Machine

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