Sensitive Weed

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She takes her hand

in hers, stepping

over rocks, dodging

sensitive weed

to find that perfect

path – way, leading us

to wildflowers.

she picks, a hand –

full of petals,

their fragrant oils

soothing, essential

for healing cuts

and grazes. her

nasal senses over –

whelmed with purity,

nature; nurturing

an abundance

of calm. her soft

self centered,

journeys

into the wilderness,

out – back returning her

safely to her mothers’

roots. her legs,

gingerly circum –

navigate thorns

and misleading purple

fluffy flowers with

prickles. trust,

holding hands held

together,

finding safety

in the familiar

land – scapes,

sensitive to touch.

we are falling

in love.

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

Dancing with the Faeries

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Photographer: Jason Majewski
Photo used with permission

I watch my littlest princess
dancing away with the faeries
expressing pain so magnificently

her voice, exploding anger
her mind, opposing self
her heart, barely beating

my mind-splitting headache pounds
containing my own maelstrom
that subterranean refuge

where I once found comfort
where there was none
where my soul learned to fly

holding on, innocence
letting go & spirituality guiding
me back home

I hold her now, meet her gaze
no words cling to each other
we plant flowers in the earth

tending our garden, nurturing our selves
her pain temporarily reconciled
my own thunderous affront subdued

I don’t let her see my pain,
I protect her, I love her like I love
my self, mirrored back in her eyes

I watch her from afar
she knows I’m there on the outskirts
her nice stepmother, soothsayer

I can watch & bear, witness
one step removed my fire
unseared, tempered in her presence

I am not a fool, knowing transference
like God, is everywhere & no
where at once, I remain steadfast

she heals me, my littlest princess
igniting my candelabra
rays of warmth piercing the dark

she will be ok with love, gentle
strokes; my cradle rocking a rhythm
peace descending around her to nest

I can watch although I didn’t then
but I can see clearly now, the rain
I trust my self to know the difference

dissociation & dissociative
here in the now my mindfulness
my present is my gift to her

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

For My Children

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1.
I miss you both
It saddens me, that you hold on
with such contempt
that I must wait for you
to grow, make peace with yourselves
in order to find forgiveness
in others, in me

2.
I was not a perfect mother
I don’t know anyone who is
except in our minds,
which compare; an apropos
of nothing really

One thing you can both be sure of
is that I do my very best
with the ancient tools I was given
with dedication & commitment
to myself, to raise you both better
better than I had ever known
or been shown of love
& I love you both deeply

3.
The women in our family carry a curse
I believe, still being passed down
Great Grandmother to Grandmother,
Grandmother to Granddaughter,
Mother to Daughter – witnessed
eyes knowing cruel contempt
for women

Somehow the trauma each of us
experienced, experiences
real, imagined or embellished harm
passed down through our DNA
our nature
through our environments
our nurture
trying to show us the wisdom
to know the difference

It is a blessing
your tenacity, persistence
& determination
fight to right those wrongs
letting go the past moving on
steadfast in search of that love
you desire

Our cells remember
the past lives of our ancestors
those crossed paths imprinted
on our mind, body & soul
power & passion
did not escape unscathed; scarred
permanently
our heart skipped many beats

We observe each other
observed by our men (& women),
surviving their own stories,
our selves attract to ourselves
psyche healing vicariously
most of the time, everyone
learning to find peace, love
happiness taking its time –
but don’t be fooled by pride
awareness is awry, warning

I do my best to break this cycle
not expose you to harm
triggered reactions lead us astray
our nautical compass
navigates storms, skewiff
I cling to my internal lifesaver
lest I drown at sea

My own mother is a farce
painfully denied & despised
tea leaves attempt to predict failure
our grandmothers are responsible
for nothing but vindication
like her mothers mother’s mother

I am your mother
you came from my body
you are of my blood
I love you,
my mother could never say that
once, in past tense
once, in goodbye

4.
I refused to drink
drunkenness hurt me more than ever
in the past, I was scared

I refused to drug
& I was spiked for my efforts, in vain
I learned his true psychedelic colours

I refused to parade men; a room
full of strangers, who could
watch & wait for those opportune moments…

I must have failed
I feel like a failure, ashamed of myself
ashamed of you both at times too
but only because I see how it could end

I warn you about danger
from yourself from others
predators in the world prey
dark & destroyed souls
seek nothing but instant gratification
self-righteous justification
anger is violence
no excuse is proffered up
& we are all culpable to some degree

5.
I am a strong woman
I feel very deeply the injustices
of others, of yours, of mine
I only have myself to chastise
& you, that part of me I protect
in my mind

I am harder on myself
my self is much harder to bear
I expect much more than vengeance
to ease our hurt awakening anger
we need love & kindness
I only want the best for you, for me

I am also very proud of you both
I see two beautiful, independent
headstrong women, myself
on a good day
I want you to be happy, exude warmth
I need you to love me, back
the way I loved you, back then
when we would all laugh & play
when we all had our innocence & joy
I want you both to come home

6.
I feel pain of the most heinous kind
happiness eludes me most days
searching, my self finds traces
of her, that little girl that became
lost in the ethereal space between
what was & what could have been
she separated parts of her self
doted & despised, both
in continual conflict

I have memories, denied versions of truth
I struggle to reconcile – I feel violated
I despise lies & deceit, power & control
I wrestle with such terrifying demons
who tempt me to trust & I am often
mistaken – I no longer believe it exists
on a bad day

7.
My fear became terror
when they both laughed
& came for me in my corner
I was held down while the soap stick
ripped through me
turning me inside & out
as I floated away
I was 4

My cat could have been shot
in front of me
he held up the gun, she held
the cat steady
“do you think the bullet will go
straight through?”
I was 5 or 6

My life could have been over
when I choked
but he said “she’s not my kid”
I pulled the sinewy gristle out
by myself spewing onto my plate
I was 6

He told me I was ugly
unwanted, unloved
I should never have been born
but I had a guardian
He told me “it’s meant to be this way,
it won’t be like this forever”
I was 6 or 7

My body knew pleasure before
it knew pain, before he touched me
& my spirit carried me
away to safety
I was 8

I watched him
his violence incarcerating those cows
chained, their backbones
smashed with a galvanized pipe
they had no where to go
I remember blood pouring from sores
like an avalanche
I was 8 or 9

My eyes saw the Sheep’s throat cut
with a blunt knife
he held our heads together
forcing us to watch, laughing
I was 10

I might have felt loved
if I wasn’t told it was the worst day
of my mother’s life when I was born
on my birthday
I was 13

His brother was a sneak
he came into my bedroom
he tried, I failed in his eyes
his brother’s too
though he was blind
I was 16

I trusted him
the Blue Mountains forever etched
into my brain
it was midnight
“if you don’t…I will leave you here
& they will find your body”
there was a cyclone in 1984
I was 16 then too

Death, like Charon is ever present
He resides beside & inside us
He will happily take us one way or another
if we let Him
I refuse to pay although I am tempted
He doesn’t give a shit at the end of the day
so don’t waste time entertaining him
or sway your hips to his tune

8.
My heart only ever loved one man
My Grandfather
I never knew my Father, not
until I was 17
& now I don’t want to know
because violence is not OK for you two
but I must have deserved it

I might be his daughter
but he only raised boys
he doesn’t know how much
daughters need their Fathers
you both need your Father
I needed my Father

I knew this, then & now
I never withheld them from you
I fought for them as much as for you
so that they understood
how to love, the girls who would become women
so you can recognise a gift
when you see it
& trust

9.
I watch my man with our littlest princess
I find I am comforted & confronted
that silver arrow that pierced my heart
let loose grieving
I sob for her, for you, for him & for me

Her Father is effervescent, his love
has the capacity to transform hate
into grace under pressure
while we watch the seeds of destruction descend
on, in & around her
we recognize she needs all of us
you included, so she can find comfort
& become what we all needed
unconditional love
there is no place for jealousy & resentment
she is now a part of you, me & us

We all watch the slow erosion of her innocence, see her wrestle in defiance
like I saw you, like I saw myself
she is my light & she heals me
her gentle softness radiating like a Halo
I heal her, my nurture having been
honed because of you, thank you

10.
My man knew love too
Grandparents are vital for our children
we now know another kind of love
because of them
I watch his metamorphosis into manhood
his lessons finally internalised
he knows how to love himself,
mirroring

11.
I love you both with all my heart

It is no coincidence Karma
your boys will teach you everything
else you need to know
perhaps the curse is broken?
It was always meant for you
to become
the beautiful mother that you are
please understand, your boys
need me as much as I need them

Leisa, whether you like it or not
you are an extension of my self
I feel very proud of you & of myself
pain is like fire, it burns
I prefer to view my fire as a controlled burn
as part of nature’s regeneration
it makes way for new growth,
stronger roots & solid ground
I need you
as much as you need me

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

Cold Comfort

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I’m going slightly insane
Oh, to be deaf, dumb, blind & mute!
turning that blind eye, having nothing
more to do with it – all

No shoes on her feet
her hair a mess
the first thing she says is,
“Are you a mean stepmother or a nice stepmother?”
cuddling me, she tells me I’m nice before I can answer, awed
saddened & proud
all at once

I’m so afraid for our little girl
afraid to bear witness; joy, pain, confusion, innocence
I do my best, continuing to be consistent,
loving, nurturing & hiding
my own pain to shelter her

I need time out
not from our littlest princess, never
from that bright spark that lights up my world, my own fear worse for wear
knowing truth; being called a liar
cruelty appears nonchalant & we all know
ignorance breeds ignorance

I rise
above this time & detach
from that confined space lodging
deep in my brain & heart, threatening
to expose my GI Jane

She thrashes inside her prison cell,
the bars of my prison bend
but do not break, I give thanks
to God & Godesses & the Furies,
my Crone; for temperance
my aenima inanimate for the moment

,●

I hear her laugh,
that contagious giggle
putting a smile on my face
all I need is patience; I can wait
Karma has not yet spoken, giving
cold comfort will come at a cost – all
I can do is love

© Copyright 2015, Jodine Derena Butler.  All Rights Reserved

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