Poetry Collection These poems were submitted to the Women’s Resource Center during our 2012 “No More” Poetry Contest. We are honored to be able to publish such a beautiful collection of poetry in support of domestic violence victims and survivors everywhere. After publication, all rights to these poems revert back to the authors.
www.wrcnbc.org October 2012
No More by Malcolm Davidson Dickensian times and Oliver Twist stood there trembling “Please Sir, I want some more” down came the ladle from the Master and no more it was an empty bowl, yet filled with fear and timidity And so to now and no more gruel and cruel times in the workhouse, but empty hearts and aloneness. The bowls today are filled with drive by meals, lack of sleep poverty, drugs and struggles Meanness walks the halls inculcating a separation an “us and them” mentality Yet the crime that splits us all is the split from Self that riven soul torments us all Embrace the self, with all its flaws and see in others the joy that waits. No more anger, violence, maiming no more fear, self loathing, shaming “Please Sir, I want some more” Love and affection, Respect and acceptance and above all Acceptance of Self.
Faith by Lindsay Raymond FAITH.....Its what makes you take that step forward when everything inside you holds your feet in the mud Its what makes you say stop, to the gut wrenching fear keeping you in that rut Its what opens your mouth when your throat closes, the tears of choking up for so many years finally fall Its what tells you that you are a person, that you mean something and are worth saving at all Its what gives you courage to say help me Its not about wanting a safe guarantee Its not about a white knight come to save you Its about the belief about a new beginning, worthy of me Its that deep thing inside you that says this isnt right Its the hope and the knowing the promise you cling to so tight its all you have when you decide to leave Its not about justice, or anger or reprieve Its about a life that maybe hard, but is free
the Confident Woman by Lindsay Raymond the problem is it happened so slyly It came upon her without knowing but steadily it was growing First it was a criticism here and there a disdainful look and bit by bit her confidence he took then it was control and making her alone feeling unworthy, her constant moan this confident woman always on alert always showing her she was nothing reeling from his hurts she was weak and dumb money the crumb it was always her fault she could do no right after all he was the victim of her fight abuse he would laugh not in their circles she had a good degree all the things that make life pretty no one would believe that she simply wasn't crazy why she'd cry how did that confident woman inside me die where did she go she did not know all she ever wanted to do was keep the peace and be loved how did it come to this, that the person you trust the most is always so amiss all the threats against her kids
his needs a black hole eating her up swallowing her soul then one day, she snapped It wasnt about money or happiness or all of the eggshells she'd trampled to get here it was about her life no longer her fear and something so lost it needed to be found It took a long time and a lot of running around she knew she wasnt what he said she guarded her heart or she'd be dead she worked hard and she cleared her head And what did she hear? not her shame not because of her degree or her old last name or money or divorce or her flight or her struggle to make her life right not how her kids were blooming and growing what she heard was "what a confident woman, a woman worthy of knowing."
Abuse is a dirty word by Lindsay Raymond If she thought this just happened to the poor she was wrong If she thought this wasnt abuse at its core she was wrong If she thought She wasnt a victim she was wrong If she thought how could someone like her be she was wrong If she thought he was just angry she was wrong If she thought he didnt mean to call her those names she was wrong If she thought he didnt mean to be cruel she was wrong If she thought he just needs to cool down she was wrong If she thought after all he never hit her, that she just never met his expectations she was wrong If she thought abuse is a dirty word, used in fights that happen behind closed doors she was wrong If she thought It doesnt hurt the kids she was wrong If she thought its hard to prove, all our friends wont believe me she was wrong If she thought she couldnt leave she was wrong because until she leaves him and everyone finally says it... she was wrong for staying
Get out by Lindsay Raymond help your friend help your neighbor let them know what they endeavor is right dont stay take flight so many hide all the hurts their marriages bring think, plan and run from the man who gave you that ring
Family Reunion by Jessica9names Coulter, J9 My sister My mother My daughter My Aunt My Grandmother, My friend Was raped at the hands of my Brother, My father, My Uncle My Grandfather My friend My sister My mother My daughter My Aunt My Grandmother, my friend Was Beaten at the hands of my brother, My father, My Uncle My Grandfather, My Friend My sister My mother My daughter My Aunt My Grandmother, My friend Was told she was worthless with the voice of my brother, My father, My Uncle My Grandfather, My friend . Her Uniform is many, just like his Her heart is tender and broken Just like his. She weeps silent tears she is strong Palm tree Hurricane winds will not break her She walks in her dreams along shores Taking hold of drift wood Soft Twisted Weathered and worn yet Beautiful My Uniform Was Air Force Just Like His 1 in 5 in this Country will be abused 1 in 3 in the Armed Forces will be sexually assaulted I shed pain by way of tear stained paper with the burden of knowing It doesnâ€™t have to be this way
I see you as Brother, Father, Son, Grandfather, Uncle, Friend Family Unrelated only for beats And Breath and blood We are kept alive by the same pounding of the center of our existence This Heart With stress from living turns cold and closed we choose to break it and spirit with beating with fists breath expelled from lungs with hate filled words and life loss Blood has been shed for too long All at the force of a Brother Father, Son, Uncle, Grandfather, Friend In their own way, they are broken Jagged deep green sea glass to sharp to touch We are all hurting. We are all hurting Blood Loss Men and Women suffer in silence What can I do? I am just one of many Just one in 5 Just one in 3 Family violence permeates the stillness of night air I feel heavy Heart heavy Breath labored I can do what I can I will light white candles, incense and anoint this Universe with oil I pray we can see each other as humanity
See each other as an extension of ourselves We are a reflection of each others Light and Dark I am the Victims I am the Abusers I am the mute on lookers This is not a clarion call to the religious This is a simple request from the mouths of children who saw mommy cry for too long Love yourself so that My Sister My mother My daughter My Aunt My Grandmother, My friend can reside with peace alongside my Brother, My father, My Uncle, My Grandfather My Friend and exist As one.
No More by Rayna Momen
invisible scars, tangible risks, getting away with this
bruises to conceal and hide, black-and-blue eyes tear ducts, dried
power trips and berating words, empty apologies then blunt-force bursts, words cursed.
fragile, broken bones to set, remorse, regret, feelings of worthlessness.
II. weapons with broken wings to dodge, the kind that get sometimes lodged into this fed-up skin breaking in-between my legs, taking what isnâ€™t yours to take, emergency room fiction to protect him as your courage breaks, again. III. bloody-murder screams giving way to calls for help, secret plans to leave, seeking shelter and a sense of self children traumatized by fatherâ€™s machinegun mouth (shooting blanks into their dreams), met with time-bomb fists, detonated rage that drips and bleeds. IV. isolation and memories repressed, bouts of depression and loneliness, fear of moving, speaking, breathing, punished just for being.
I learned it too, by watching you, but made a different choice studied the insanity, then found and raised my voice. No more excuses. No more silence. Exposing truths. Ending cycles of violence.
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Take My Hand by Donna Freeman Take my hand. Follow me away from the noise of screams, the sudden blows, the searing struggles forced upon us, the biting words sounding in our ears. Let us together still the pain, walk to a safer place, arm in arm away from harm. We go to peace.
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Untitled by Kayla Stoffel What we had was so beautiful You dressed us up in your lies I was blinded by myself In trusting your disguise What we had was such a mess I convinced myself I was dreaming But baby now I confess Inside I was screaming So what now? Now that it’s all unveiled How is my heart supposed to heal? I’ll just tell myself I’ll be strong I’ll just tell everyone I was wrong And I’ll carry on, and I’ll move along Until I know where I belong Everyday I’ll wake up and shake off reality Everyday I’ll paint my face up with smiles I’ll tell the world that this fatality Was building all the while But I don’t see, just how long It will take for them to see The real you is a bloody joke And you destroyed the real me But baby, let me say this at least The bruises and the heartaches will seize To bring me down, to the cold hard ground If you dare touch me again, just you wait and see So what now? Now that it’s all unveiled How is my heart supposed to heal?
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Self Discipline by Diane Cole You see I never dot an i in a timely way. I just don't get the point of it. Everything in me resists lifting the hand, the â€˜coup de plumeâ€™ the relentless rap of blue/black marks. Writing the words hit, strike, especially infuriate. A dot should mean one thing. Period. The end of a sentence. Period. The end of a marriage. Period.
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Accommodation By Diane Cole It was the cheapest motel we could find â€” brocade drapes hiding dirt, a gray carpet, fibers closed like fists, edges worn down on the laminated bureau. I said this should do, but you refused the bed, curled on the cold bathroom floor, locked the door. The neon sign flashed all night but I talked softly through the keyhole, settled into the lumpy bed, turned this way and that to get used to it. I warmed the bed, and when you came out I slipped over.
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Paterson by Laura Marie Marciano the morning thrust upon the earth with tiny flowers, female, with their aspirations of love, littering the streets with purity and blood amongst the male city surrounding their delicate, strong, natural heads. i find the river flows to the ocean and the flowers fall into the gutters and find their way back when the city has become a bitter memory in their absence and the air of hiding in fear too rough to swallow. find me here in the gutter, where you left me, swimming to the creator, mending my petals and dreams, resting again with the flowers that were left by your counterparts last Spring
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whatever you would like by Laura Marie Marciano I could be that girl who likes state fairs and bakes for you when you come home from work, hiding the purple spots on my legs, and that one time on my eye, with concealer, so my mom stops asking. I could be that girl who says yes to sex when she means no, and says no in a quiet enough voice so that it sounds like yes, pretending to like the things you do for yourself to my body. I could be that girl who was picked when you walked outside with your measuring tape and your scale and decided it was time you needed that girl. I could be that girl with a well attended funeral where they say “well isn't that a shame” or “if only she had called for help” with a perfect final putty face of make up for the world I could be whatever you would like. I could be whatever you would like. But i've got friends now. But i've got friends now. So i'll be me. So i'll be me. Thank you not so much. Thank you not at all.
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Bearing Witness poem by Kim M. Baker photo by Nansy Rafi It’s personal whether you know someone personally or not who has been abused murdered Red wooden figures bearing witness for atrocities unsuspected deaths not silent but singing to bagpipes low lonesome voicing stories of standing in front of children so they weren’t the ones punched They beseech you not to turn your head next time best girlfriend mother sister cousin coworker girl scout leader pastor nurse favorite store owner suddenly seems a little more timid invisible bruised terrified vacant absent Music doesn’t soothe the bruises but might open your heart awareness candles don’t show the scars but illuminate the truth red silhouettes don’t just represent loved ones lost but bear witness to their innocence implore us with “no more” Come trace the stories Come light a candle Come cry with the survivors Come It’s more personal than you know