Common Threads

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‘Tapping in’ by Jonathan Solter

I’m nearly fifty, but I feel nigh
on ninety on a bad day.

This past week has been absolute
Hell on earth.

I’ve been triggered back
to being a child.

Losing her felt like losing
innocence; myself years ago. 

Traumatized, I thought
about ending it all.

The relationship.

But to my credit, my common sense intervened, giving me a serve. 

My man became a man in my eyes.
Not just another man.

Not just any old man.
My man.

Trauma has an ugly side;
it brings people to their knees

where they may as well be pissed on while their down there.

I am so worried for her…

/

How to reach me in that state, is almost futile. 

Almost.

I hear them knocking, butting their heads up against my wall, the double

thick English brick kind; multiple layers of insulating red. 

I pretend it’s nothing more, nothing less. 

“I don’t care”, I resign.

But then my beautiful man drew,
drawing me a shoebox.

Explaining how pain lives, dies
and re-lives inside my brain.

Overwhelmed with grief, I lift the lid
crawl inside and relive my dark past

over and over. Ashamed. 

He lifted my chin, to meet his gaze.
He held me. Loving me more

in that one single moment, I trusted.
“It’s no good” he said.

/

At the 11th hour, we failed. Let down, we had no voice. Mute

blind, deaf and dumb in one single sentence.

The system of things is definitely flawed. 

Corrupt?

That would be making an unjust statement. 

For those in the hot seats, forced
to call the shots, know many lives

are at stake. It must take its toll.
But I have no sympathy.

Our truth was not heard. 

Our fatal flaws not even our own; her
actions (or lack there of), denied.

A resounding ‘NO’ echoes through
my shriveled neurons finding dead

ends. My synapses have nothing
left to ignite. 

My family are in shock. 

My family was slit right down the guts; entrails threatening to turn us inside

out. We were split.

/

Here in our beloved home away from home.

He said, “you cant carry the torch
all on your own”. 

He said “I can’t watch your fire fade to black, your candle flicker in the wind”.

Sinking

deeper into that hole; my abyss dragging me into its darkest depths.

Broken. 

I could no longer hold my fractured pieces together. 

In my mind I dispersed like a million stars on a clear night. 

/

My self died a little bit more that day.

In my room with four walls,
no windows, no doors and no light

my world ceased to exist
and everyone in it.

It’s time to let go, heal.

He gave me hope.
understanding beyond anything

I have ever experienced
through years of therapy

1.  PROBLEM: Being torn.

I think of my beloved stepdaughter.
Everyday.

2.  INTAKE:  Its difficult

coming to terms and all that
that entails I cannot reconcile.

3.  PROCESS: Grief

Pain \ Anger / Trauma \ Up / Down
bracing \ myself for a hell ride.

Depression.

4.  STRATEGISE: Break –

down my past, hurt and forge ahead.
Gathering strength, wisdom and hope.

5.  EXECUTE: Eat.

Drink (water). Rest. Cry. Garden. Bathe.
Write to heal, even when my body

wants to heave. 

/

I look after my family.
Nigh on three years now in my own

special way. Not in a traditional way. 

I’m a hopeless cook.
I don’t appreciate housework.

I’ve been neglectful at being
the proverbial ‘good’ housewife.

My desire to grow flowers, fruit
and vegetables is my compromise.

Growing something edible to put in
the kitchen – for someone else to cook.

I hold us all together in many ways. Focusing on her safe and sound.

Consistent.

Loving, gentle kindness; watering
our gardens together.

/

Our home is beautiful.

Everyone finding that remembered
piece of themselves there; a sense of

belonging my own children lack. 

I want them to say, “I’m coming home”.  I want my beautiful, bitter, twisted

naive, angry children to come home too – to me and my family. 

It’s ever too late to love
and to be loved in return.

/

Finding trust again – she is as resilient as I am loved, unconditionally.

We watch the sun rise and marvel
at the light that shines on all of us.

I will learn to forgive but never forget.

I tend the earth, ripening my fruits
finding pride in nurturing my love.

I read. A cuppa, kiss and a cuddle regenerate my dreams. 

I wake with no nightmarish thoughts,
finding only more I can do to make

my garden grow. Knowing she is being
loved all the while.

/

Right now I need peace.

I love my family. Jason, Madison
La Donna, Whisky, (Carmen), Karmin

Leisa, Seth, Harken and Ronan.

Still too young (bar one) to see
the wood for the trees or realise that

not all flowers smell delightful – except the Rose.

/

The world doesn’t owe me a God damned thing.

My children will learn a much harder lesson than I.  

I forgive them, and I always will, over and over.

The thing about trauma is that it can only hurt us if we let it.  

I refuse.

/

(Myles will remember he said something similar.)

I hope you are smiling wherever you are my friend.

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

Grey Matters

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She stepped down from the Northern Explorer, weary after the 12 hour sojourn from Auckland to Wellington.

All reasonable precautions had been taken to appear non-plussed but she was feeling more than a little ridiculous.  

Her fingers unfurled letting go, simultaneously dropping one shoulder, gravity to catch and release the taut strap of her laptop.  

All hit the platform with a collective thud!

To make matters worse, the baggage door rolled up, revealing more purple Sabini suitcases, added one by one to the mountain of dogs balls now assembling on the pavement. 

She picked past heads, shoulders and backs, furtive in her search of recognition, an extra pair of hands, a baggage cart.  

It had been 12 years since the last time he had crash landed on her doorstep, his purple XC Falcon panel van parked in the driveway.  

Jandles, jeans and a T-shirt, cap in hand.

He was at the Trax Bar, pint in hand, chatting up the female bouncer, blind.

His goat-skin duffel bag slung over the corner of a bar stool.  

His Yahoo Serious attitude to life rolled up into unkempt, sun-kissed natural dreadlocks that leapt out at all angles, confronting even the most liberal senses.  
He was in no hurry.  

What did she expect?  

It had been 20 years since they were an item that could only be described as an ‘eventful interlude at the crossroads of life’.

He traded in everything he’d accumulated (including me) and bought a ticket to nowhere in particular.  

I could hear his favourite mantra replaying like an unpublished Cure single on repeat – there is no such thing as Grey.

Life was black and white.

Grey was something she understood but for once there were no shades anywhere to be found.  

What on earth had possessed her to cross the Tasman with her most worldly possessions, an array of summer dresses and shoes?  

She could feel her stomach tighten, those butterflies rising like her awareness, threatening to expose her presumptive guilt.  

She walked away from her former life, pinning all her hopes and desires on another loose end she knew much better to mess with.  

Hope urged her on wondering if time had been kinder to him, an old flame may re-ignite…  

God knows she needed to feel something.  

Her mind and body had long since turned down any flicker of excitement, preferring to wallow in stoic self-pity; feigned permanent damage, rendering her frigid.

He had always been her potential escape.  

Her reason to live without seeming too dramatic.  

She would have gone anywhere with him, she reflected, knowing he would see straight through her faux par – her cheeks peak that most wanton shade of Crimson.  

Lowering her eyes, she made up her mind wrestling her way toward the lone baggage cart, daring anyone to make a beeline.  

Heading into the terminal, sweat running down the crevice of her back, she tapped out what she needed to say and waited, checking her mobile appearance in its reflection.

Her long tousled hair was a true expression of her frustration.  

Her large blue eyes smudged and blurred, once perfect Charcoal eyeliner betraying her yet again.  

Why did it have to be the hottest clear day of the most piss poor summer New Zealand had ever known?

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler, ‘Poetry Out West’

© Copyright 2013, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Sea of Possibility

English: The Aurora Borealis or northern light...

Image via Wikipedia

Wrap me in a padded cell
so I may kick
& flail
eke out my existence
purge my maelstrom,
those configured fires
left to smoulder
in relative calm

bound by containment
I strain every sinew
to breaking point
every muscle to burn
my cognisance; fragmented
Freudian slips
of recognition
rubbed raw

I will break free.
stretch the threads
of my fabric,
my very being
so that I may ignite
the Phoenix
to take on life
& soar

my thoughts are like charred embers;
reminiscent remains
of a Godless era,
mountains of mole hills
set in the West
cast shadows
my gauntlet
rearing its ugly head

what will become of her?
my desolation, left
to wander this Papa
where great lakes
threaten to burst
their asides
remind us
we are at Her mercy

but to fail is not an option.
deliverance stands
turning on my heel
to where the sunrise
promises more
than just to warm
my bones
hope, skipping pebbles

perhaps to sail?
riding the salt & pepper coast
my salvation avoiding
complex low pressure systems
preferring to watch the Seagulls
negotiate on my behalf
squalls rolling
in my wake

Mollymawks
crash land burly trails
full of anticipation
my Mull
living on a prayer
an easy meal
but not without compromise
black, white & grey

pre-determined destinations
finding solace
at the end of the Earth
Aurora Borealis
leading me
not into temptation
Crow always on the lookout
searching the Sea

*

sandal-less feet
pale skin tinged Olive
Doves on a distant spire
cooing a lull
my cradle rocks
a fishing line
tied to my big toe
where everything is as it should be

© Copyright 2012, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Catching That Butterfly

Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses). This is t...

1.
miles away
collective unconsciously
meanders

through the tree’s
memories & nightmares interspersed
taking us back
to when we were Autumnal
seeding
sowing little reels of tape
monologue’s
weaving their way in
& out of us;
my imprint carving
out your name
as if you might disappear
in search of that wood
you left behind

we are like the wind.
she blows this place
stripping away the leaves
shredding bark
to Birch
& vulnerable

you remind me of Gulliver.
I am like Gretel leaving
a trail of bread crumbs
in case you find hunger
in Wellington

I see you

catching that butterfly
in that dream of mine

2.
Tijuana in the sunset
or is it dawn?
when the dust settles
& spray booths
become a silver lining

my partner in crime
one step removed;
Black & White
grey matter
masking the rusty holes
I’m tempted to poke

up ahead in the distance
mirage & cacti
& stoic self-pity
more solitary
than the tequila sun rising
on a hangover.
responsibilities best served
on the bones of our arse
in no man’s land

I see you

your sombrero
your poncho
your penchant for desolation
filtered by my Rose
& Tonto on the horizon
larger than life
living where two penny’s
don’t have a hope in hell.
charm pulling the wool
over bloodshot eye’s

3.
flowers adorn my living room
contrasting green
& pink
& white Lily’s
I am not afraid of death
I fear the cold
shoulders & backs
stealing blankets –
the rise & fall of sleep

seventeen
& eighteen years abroad
I live vicariously through you
your every move
a meta
physical
paradox.

magical thinking
unchartered waters
a tide on every pier –
I can pretend
to co-exist;
another time & space
where drama needs no theatre

I see you

I could leave everything behind
& risk all I have ever known
of love

Edited by Michael Rudd

© Copyright 2012, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

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