What is Drastic + Dramatic

Friday, February 12, 2016

Valentine's Mayday

Disclaimers: This post isn't uplifting. It's important. Also, my husband is zero percent abusive, don't concern yourself about me. But maybe you or someone you know is wilting from unspoken weight and terror. Be alert, be brave, be respectful and caring when you reach out.
Being in a poetic relationship with words, sometimes an idea hits you, drags you from your slumber, tosses and pushes you until you finally break down.

And say something.

Write something.

Even when you know it's not going to be politically comfortable. When you'll be bruised as insensitive, appalling, offensive. You open yourself to criticism and attacks from worldwide strangers because you dared to say something even when you don't know everything. From the depths of denial, victims will lash out, shaking their chains with fury. Survivors will whip you because have no right, no idea.

But when the idea, as disturbing and haunting and vagabond as it may be, raises its clammy hands and strangles the brain until surrender, the poet must speak.

Publishing controversial thoughts always draws from the shadows of anonymity those who find the argument. Those who wield wounds for wounding, hurt for hate.

Keeping it in, that hurts too. Silence invites more hurt. Not saying anything is exactly how fear and control want us to curl up and lie.

You won't like the Valentine poems that found me, that I exhume here. They may make you uncomfortable. You might have plenty to say or hurl when you're done letting me pluck at your eyes.

But if even one lover recognizes the need for help, call for rescue, time for escape, rise of courage, then sweet is the victory of words. The criticism will melt like truffles in my mouth.

I don't know why these thoughts suddenly came pouring into my mind and kept me awake from 5 this morning. I'm not experiencing abuse. I'm not crumbling in silence. But poems are always floating, waiting to intersect the open mind and heart through which they can find their voice. A poet is always trying to reach unknown depths through empathy to be a receptor of inspiration.

Each thought, like a faded soul finally finding a body again, formed a word and crawled along my brain, clawing to be heard. Not just by me. Through me, by anyone with faded soul seeking a voice through these resurrected words.

The words wailed into the universe and linked elbows with the fates, leading me—by no coincidence, I'm convinced—into this experience later in the morning:

Waiting for the train to work, I open my phone and start releasing the tortured words onto the screen. Train pulls up to platform. I find an open bench in the front car and sit down.

I look across from me to find a woman with a freshly red, swelling ridge curving from the end of her eyebrow to under her cheekbone. She also has long blonde hair, thin-framed glasses, pink sweatpants, a white sweater, a large bag next to her, but that stinging mark reveals an invisible feature of her soul: hurt. I look back to my phone as it catches fire under my fingers.

A couple stops into the ride enters a plump man in a dark hooded jacket and beanie covering his head; visible neck, arms, and hands tattooed; three spiked rings on the three major fingers of his right hand; earphone cord spilling from his right ear. He sits across the aisle, facing the same way I am.

Another stop in, he speaks up. "I hope you have a better day." His words are reaching across from me, for her attention. "I hope you have a good day. Did someone do that to you?"

I'm feeling heat rise in me, a little uncomfortable but grateful. I can only assume she nods because she doesn't speak, because I don't look up, and he continues. "Have you reported it? You should. Try to."

I look up and she looks ashamed, embarrassed. The words howl up from my phone. Do you see? We are everywhere! You must write us into extinction.

I try to paint my face with encouragement, support, love for her.

It's her stop now.

"Don't be afraid," he pressed. She nods hurriedly, leaves hurriedly.

I look at him now. "If I saw a man doing that to a woman, I would f*ing murder him."

I shake my head to acknowledge his passion, but I look away, out the window where I see her walking away slightly tilted, maybe from the weight of her large bag.

Before I get off I say to him, "I hope she is brave. Thank you for saying something."

He raises a painted, spiked fist. "Seriously, I would f*ing murder the guy. You have a good day."

I dissolve when you whisper in my ear
“No one else would ever love you”

My heart beats wildly when you get home
and I see that you're drunk again

You're funny, Valentine,
when you get others to laugh at my expense

When I'm talking to you, I sigh to see the glow on your face
from your phone screen

My cheeks turn rosy red
when your palm whips across my face

Nothing gets the fiery passion hotter
than when you touch my child

You take my breath away
when your hands reach for my throat

My body trembles
when you force yourself on me

When I stumble, you catch me
each time—and never let me forget I'll never be good enough

I've never felt more alive than with you
Gone for the day, and I can breathe again

The woman in pink sweatpants deserves real love, a gentle and supportive hand. The feisty, spike-fisted man deserves to be loved. Do you believe you can be truly loved without exceptions, concessions, neglect, abuse?

We all deserve love and respect, recognition of our value and uniqueness. And when we are wrapped in such love, chances of us hurting others diminish. You are worthy of true love, of which my poetry is devoid. The hardness of abuse and neglect is never an expression of love; it is a flash of uncontrolled agony from someone also in desperate need of real love.

But friend, brother, sister . . . if you recognize abuse in your life, your abuser needs even more love than yours alone. They need help. That help needs to come from professionals, people who can also offer you help and protection if needed.

Be brave. Use wisdom and love. Be supportive where you can. But be safe, be healed, love as you would be loved and unbroken love will find you. Time may not heal all wounds, but what time cannot heal, love can, it really can. Especially knowing and embracing the unconditional love your Heavenly Father has for you can heal your hurt.

Reach out to someone you trust if you need to talk. Try The Hotline below. Contact me. I'll virtually hold your hand. With a gentle hand up, you can rise above and find solutions.

Be what you deserve to be.

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