Salt

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Grief is pouring out of me
unexpectedly violent, suddenly indecent 

assault tempts me to die, stealing whatever else you left behind

my soul, violated 

shredded skin, giving away my heart for safety

killing her off slowly

and I can’t bear it any longer – this pain

consumes me, squeezing every last breath I take

to want nondescript now; everything I had left with you

totally and utterly forlorn, I am bereft of any life, when you said
you loved me – that was an evil lie

there is no faith left in my world when I think of you

I am foetal, cradled in my own embryonic arms

closing bloodshot eyes

for darkness to caress my fetid skin, sinking in

lost; longing for you in vain, my grief is pouring out of me

and it won’t stop – I can’t make you stop

broken, and excrutiating to remember

you abandoned me, destroying everything I thought I meant to you

and the salt, knowing you’re laughing – telling how you want torture 

before dismembering my body for a barrel

some days the grief is so bad I want to die, check 

my self in to the nearest vein before I slice my way in – till I can’t feel you anymore

and watch my self disappear


© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. All Rights Reserved

Check Mate

Photographer/Headpiece/Makeup by Andreas Boldt

You went back to the old ways, baby
let those speak for me, on their behalf
poisoning your mind and self
to bring you back home, tethered
to that place you’ve been trying to leave
you let them whisper in your ear,
sweet nothings to woo betrayal,
the only thing you trust
you’ve gone full circle
fear taking what was good for you
over love held in contempt,
lust luring you back again
already screwing you
now they’re trying to screw me
with phone calls, designer texts
intimidation sending me
into undercover, in disbelief
believing you have a hand in thuggery
you were so protective
of me, once family
willing to sell it all to the Devil you know
sending them all away
but they have your head in a vice
that false prophet Halo
surrounding you in darkness; checkmate,
stealing more than just Mary’s soul
you are weak, following
in your fathers footsteps
the one closest to you, the first
learned her place underfoot
her escape futile, her existance
cruel penance for that lost child
proving her guilt
she accepts her fate, now
that’s why she turns a blind eye
allowing your atrocious behaviour
to go unchecked – you raise your voice,
she see’s him in you and resigns
I have fallen by the way
learning to let go of my heart,
my mortality reminds me daily
that I am alone
I look forward to other things, now
bringing fulfillment here,
my father in his Twilight
where I can care for love
without risk, losing it all
the best part – his death
teaching me everything else
I need to know

/

one day, I hope
you sneak back into my bed,
just because you can and
we have an hour or two
to ourselves, like it was before
remembering our smell,
feeling our hearts open
loving each other well, adjusted
until the next time we say goodbye
and life goes on

© Copyright 2016, Jodine Derena Butler & Poetry Out West. 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.

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

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