Tag Archives: domestic violence

It happened again last night | Poetry

Hold the fork just so.

Do not like the prongs scrape against the white

porcelain slathered with the red sauce

that gives you heartburn,

but is his Mama’s recipe.

Do not breathe too heavily.

Don’t make eye contact.


That tension’s back in the air.

Feels hard to breathe it in, like

it fights with lungs for every sliver

of oxygen they manage to steal.


Don’t swallow loudly.

Even though the pasta

sludge in your throat.

Something happened at work

on the way home from work

or in checkout line for tonight’s paper bag filled nightmare.


The 5 Ws are only important

to people afforded the luxury to ask questions.


Keep your face smooth.

If you think quietly,

you could manage to disappear.

Fade into the wallpaper like

the antique roses on grandmama’s walls.

Just yesterday he had given you a rose.

Maybe that was last week.

Chipped counter holds the

curled petals,

their beauty leached from them.


Don’t ask questions.

Don’t frown.

Don’t smile.

Just don’t-


This is response to the poetry prompt for The Reverie Journal this week and Poets on the Page. I thought of cycles and immediately thought of the cycle of abuse. This is  the moment before the abuse starts. After the honeymoon period when things have settled and gone back to stasis.

Is there a cycle in life that makes your fingers itch to write? It doesn’t have to be a heavy topic, of course. That’s all up to you.

Aloha y’all!


Filed under My Poetry, Poetry

Stand. Still.

Head back.
Chin up.
Feet shoulder width apart.
Knees bent slightly.

Pull those dreadlocks back.

Tendrils of distraction.
Aren’t they dirty?

Now breathe in slowly.

Feel the air fill your diaphragm.
Your chest expands.

You have control.

Hold for ten counts.
Now release slowly.

Let out the smell of Dad’s breath last night,
Whiskey bruises and bloodied lips

In through your nose.
Quick. Fill up. Short stop.

Out through your mouth.
Concentrated. Deliberate. Mindfully.

Each smack of the belt,
slicing into your back.
You’re the slave here.
He’s finally master.

Flip to page 2.
Second bar.
You’re the star here.
The star in your own show.

Always have the inner smile,
So your song won’t ring flat.

You’re in control here.

Ambulance flashing,
Hand hanging over the side.
Blood drips from pointing finger.

Don’t attack the words.
Tease them.
Let them melt on your tongue.
They should be as sweet as she as.
As this song is.

As you should have been.

Your losing your count.
You sound flat.

You should be better at this.
Your people are good at this.
Do you play bass?

Practice your breathing.
Haven’t you been breathing?
Don’t you realize the very existence of every man
Hangs from the whoosh through your pursed lips?

You should spend less time singing
And more time cleaning this house.
Earn your keep.

Hasn’t it dawned on you,
Every flat note,
Is a tear sent up to the heavens.
We should be bringing them a joyful noise.

Lift your chin.
Shoulder back.
Don’t lock your knees.
Deep breath.
Fast, quick, deliberate.

Less time singing.
More time finding a man.

There’s no time

To keep teaching you these basics.
Do you even want to be here?
Do you want your voice to soar with the angels?
Do you want to be great?

Try harder.

Your inner smile isn’t glowing.


Because you’ll never find release.

Years later when you’re bagging grocers
At the corner store,
You’re going to wonder if that one
misspent night.

That one note that cracked against the bridge of your mouth
Scraping your tongue in its offense,
If that one was the one

That lost every thing for you.

The scholarship.
The respect.
The curve of your youthful body
As you have child number 4.


You have control here.


Filed under My Poetry

You are not alone: In memory of Christine Keith

http://penpaperpad.comChristine Keith was the head blogger in charge at Adventures of a Thrifty Mama. She won’t be writing anymore stories about homeschooling her kids, or eating healthy on a budget. She will not be tucking her children in tonight. They will not open presents with her or their big brother this Christmas or ever again.

Last week, Christine was murdered by her estranged husband. He shot her and their fourteen year old son Isaac before turning the gun on himself. It makes me sick to say this, but she’s not the only one.

Last month, there was a murder/suicide in the building next door to where I was living then.

Today, someone you know is trying to defend herself and her children. She lives in fear every single day. In the United States alone, one in four women have been victims of domestic violence. People still don’t talk about it.

This is embarrassing.

It’s hurtful.

What will people say?

What will they think of me?

What will happen to my kids if I talk?

What will happen to me?

What will happen to him?

Yes, what will happen to him? He’s not always abusive. The typical abuser doesn’t beat someone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are times when he’s charming, charismatic, even loving-or some type of mimicry of love. Those are the times when it’s easiest to think: This last time was the last time. He promised. He says he loves me. Doesn’t he love me? He says no one else will love me like he does. He said he was sorry. He said if I left him, he would kill me. I can’t make it without him.

The reality is, she’s not safe. This cycle of abuse: the abuse, the “honeymoon period” when everything is ok, the times leading up to the abuse where things start getting bad again and then the explosion of abuse–it’s a terrifying place to live, and it’s unpredictable how far the violence will go.

One in three women in the U.S. die by the hands of their boyfriend or husband. One in three women. The most dangerous time is when she’s left him. When he feels like he’s losing control, when he feels like she has “disrespected” him by going. When she has finally implementing that plan that she checked and rechecked. When she feels that she’s safe.

Christine Keith had left him. And now she’s gone. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have to stop turning a blind eye to situations because they’re uncomfortable. Because we’re afraid to get involved. We have to give these women the love and the support they deserve. No one should die because she wants to live in peace.

Christine Keith left three orphans, who are now living with her parents. If you’d like to donate to her memorial fund that her church established please click here. Their home is a crime scene now, and they could use our support.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are some resources available to you:

There’s the National Domestic Violence Hotline, where trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to talk confidentially. There’s Safe Horizon, which helps connect victims to shelters.
There’s the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, which provides access to information, and opportunities for training and education for those who want to work to end domestic violence, or intervene on behalf of somebody in your life.

You do not have to go through this alone.

There are  people who care.

You can receive help.

As long as you are alive, it is not too late.

You are not alone.


Filed under Domestic Violence