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Image: Survivors Art Foundation

Poetry 5

Please note: The Survivors Art Foundation is not responsible for the content of an individual's work or related site, which may contain graphic or triggering material.

Submit YOUR Poetry to the Survivors Art Foundation


Kim Schneiderhan
Timmanet@aol.com
http://www.angelfire.com/fl/kimsssafeplace/index.html   
A survivor of sexual abuse/incest, Ms. Schneiderhan has been very active on and off the web for survivors of sexual abuse. See also her
visual art.

I'll gently wipe away the tear on your cheek.
Can you hold my hand?
Is it ok?
I see you trembling...
Hold on child, hold my hand.
This shall pass
I promise
I promise to keep you from harm.
There, there little one
We are safe now
Rest your tired head
on my shoulder
I will hold you until this passes
I understand
I know
there there my child
I see the sun breaking through the clouds
I feel that gentle cleansing breeze
feel the healing powers of the wind
as the sun warms our souls
Rise up
open your eyes
Live your day
See the gift
of you
of this day
of the knowing
that you don't have to be
alone anymore
Take my hand,
rise up
Look
the horizon is clear
It's a new day.


Cecilia Millado
cesbm@hotmail.com
http://www.angelfire.com/ok/cesmillado
Ms. Millado's poetry is presented here in both English and her native language of the Philippines. She is a survivor of child sexual abuse.

Okay Lang Ako
by Cecilia Millado

Okay lang ako
lalo na kapag tambak ang trabaho
Madaling araw na akong
nakakahiga sa kama.
Okay lang ako
Huwag lang manumbalik
ang paulit-ulit na panaginip
sa gitna ng pagkahimbing.

Twenty five percent
of the time
I believe it happened.
The rest of the time
I just accept this memory lapse
of my childhood.
After blowing seven candles
on my birthday cake,
I turned fifteen.

Minsan gusto kong maniwalang
hindi iyon totoo
Mahal na mahal niya ako
Lagi niya akong inaalagaan
Lagi niya akong binabantayan
Hindi niya ako gigisingin
Tuwing hatinggabi
Hindi niya ako gagapangin
Tuwing hatinggabi

Gumigising ako
mga five A.M.
nasusuka.
Dinadala ako ng mga paa ko
sa banyo
At doon lagi’t lagi na’y
kailangan kong hugasan
ang dila ko
ng malamig na tubig
mula sa gripo.
Tapos, okay na ako.

Twenty five percent
of the time
I take off from my body
I bump into doors
and tables
I bleed from slashes
of bond paper edges
I ram into street curbs
while driving on late nights

Huwag kang maingay
Huwag kang magsusumbong
Iiwan ka ng Mommy
Magagalit sa iyo ang Mommy
Mahal kita
Mahal kita
Huwag kang maingay

Paboritong kuwento ng pamilya
Ang pagkabatugan ko
Hinahatid ako sa school
ng nakapikit
Bago noon, sinusuklayan ako ng nakapikit
Bago noon, binibihisan niya ako ng nakapikit
Bago noon, pinupunasan niya ako ng nakapikit
Bago noon, hinuhubaran niya ako ng nakapikit
Bago noon …
Pagdating namin sa gate ng school
Dinidilat ko na ang mga mata ko
… Tapos noon, okay na ako.

Twenty five percent
of the time
I believe it was my fault
I never said "No."
I would stare blankly
at wallpaper patterns
As his hands roam
but I never said "No."

Hindi ako nag-iingay
Kahit ngayon,
kapag nage-emote ako -
tahimik.
Natuto akong umawit
Natuto akong sumayaw
Natuto akong umarte
Pero hindi ako nag-ingay.

Okay lang ako
hindi ako nagagalit
hindi ako nagtataas ng boses.
Kapag nasasaktan ako,
naisahan
nagamit
naapi
hindi ko agad nararamdaman iyon
Basta made-depress na lang ako
may hindi tama
may maling nangyari
hindi ako makahinga
sumasakit ang ulo ko.
Umiiyak ako na parang gripo
Tapos, okay na ulit ako.

I was never taught how to say "No."
Mommy threw away my favorite
armless Barbie
but I never said "No."
Yaya always rearranged my
seashell collection
for I never said "No."
Dad would barge in and pee
while I showered
and I never said "No."
Sis gave away my new kittens
since I never said "No."
He enters me
as I bleed
I never said "No."

Kahit noong nang-iwan
ako ng asawa
Pagkatapos ng limang taong
pagsasama
Hindi ako nag-ingay
Pagkatapos ng limang taong
unti-unting paglaho
ng sariling pagkatao
Pabulong akong namaalam
Lumulutang ako sa ibabaw
ng isang babaeng
humahakbang papalayo
sa sariling tahanan;
Lumulutang ako sa ibabaw
ng isang inang natutong
humawi ng lampin at sampayan;
Lumulutang ako pabalik
Sa isang batang piniling mabuhay
at natutong humindi.

Iyakin ako
at mababaw ang luha
pero okay lang daw iyon.
Maraming pinagluluksa
ang tulad kong
pinaslang ang kamusmusan.

Seventy five percent
of the time
I consciously go on living
I breathe
I learn
I grow
I stare at sunsets
I bask in moonlights.

Garalgal ang tinig
mula sa diwang
ngayon pa lamang
natutong umimik.

Kapag nakakakita ako
ng mga puting bulaklak
- kahit pa binabalot akong muli
ng lamig ng madaling-araw -
Okay na ako.

Twenty five percent
of seventy five percent
of the time
I teach myself
to trust again.

May himig akong
kinapitan
sa mga gabing
di nakapag-ingay …

Humihinga ako
Nagmamahal,
Okay lang ako.

I am a survivor
of child sexual abuse.

Ngayong gabi
nag-ingay ako.

Crusing Inside Me
by Cecilia Millado

Walking onwards,
I met my soul
on the way back.
It was cruising
lonely
on a two-way
highway,
taking with it
the mountain standing
quietly
underneath
blazing red
sunset clouds.

I looked to my left
and saw white
carabaos grazing upon
brownish grass,
Dead grass
it was.

And then I lost
it - the beautiful
sight of my cruising
soul.

One wink of an
eye - and I lost
sight!

So I continued on
walking
until the ground
was no more.
And then I knew
my soul was back
cruising inside
me
While I was walking
and walking,

... and flying.


Bridget Rose Duquette
The Room Painted Blue:
http://members.aol.com/Denimwoman/roompaintedbluehome.html
Fragmented Light - group site for structured poetry (haiku, etc.):
http://members.aol.com/fraglight/fragmentedlighthome.html
Bridget Rose Duquette considers herself an artist, poet, humanitarian, former juvenile delinquent and woman-of-issues, and lives on the West Coast with her son, three dogs, finches and goldfish. Bridget has survived emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and domestic violence. She suffers from Post- traumatic Stress Disorder and uses poetry as a primary form of emotional expression. Bridget is also a licensed attorney and daylights for a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. She eventually wants to work in children's policy and is currently looking for a pro bono opportunity with a nonprofit organization to do policy research and policy level advocacy on issues concerning delinquency and troubled youth.

In the Absence of You
©1998 Bridget Rose Duquette

You were gone,
leaving an emptiness
with space for two men
in dark suits,
carrying badges,
sitting in a light-blue car
in front of our house,
stopping me each day
as I walked the path
worn across our lawn,
overgrown with weeds,
on my way to school
and home again.

My answer was always
"no," I had not seen you,
I did not know where you were,
a simple word
but a difficult truth
for a child to speak
in answer to questions
raising others far beyond
my ability to ask or comprehend,
until, eventually, the space
next to the dead tree
at our curbside
was empty.

They were gone
leaving an emptiness
marked by the dead tree,
driveway standing bare,
an unlocked door,
children running free,
exposed to the core,
inviting strangers
who filled the emptiness
with sin
while you hid
from yours.

In an effort to escape
their presence, your absence,
I dug deep into the hard earth,
a hole far deeper
than that needed
to escape, crawling
into that hole, a grave,
to sleep in peace,
touching, and touched by,
its emptiness, stiffening
in its coldness, withering
in the stale air, waiting
to die, but finding
my heart continuing
to beat, its beat echoing
through the emptiness
of its chambers.

There in that hole
I attempted to bury
my memories, your absence,
but your absence,
like you, escaped me,
leaving an emptiness
measured by itself,
known only to itself,
invisible to me,
but consuming
the buried and
invisible me.

Prisoner of War
©1998 Bridget Rose Duquette

His heart beats black, anger
smothers his mind,
strangles his soul,
he breathes hatred,
lives violence,
destruction.

Through gritted teeth,
lashing out, storm
explodes, lightning
strikes, maims, war
is waged in
confusion.

Fighting tornado strength winds,
hurricane rains,
she crosses mined fields
to retrieve pieces of
her heart,
blown to bits by
words
full of shrapnel.

Drenched, shivering, alone, cold,
she applies pressure
to stop bleeding,
paints her face dark,
retreats, crouches low,
remains silent, still,
listens, alert for
a crackle,
sandbags surround,
guarding against
bitterness.

Flood waters rise,
Thunder,
Loud,
Ferocious,
Roaring,
Bombs explode,
Napalm burns,
Heavy stench
of death, maggots
animate the dead,
soul gasps for pureness,
heart cries in anguish,
he shares dreams of terror,
flesh grows old, love
dies.

Violent and cold,
the storm of war, destroying
all in its path,
including their home,
its foundation,
the earth's rich soil and
the tender shoots of love
that once struggled
to grow.

United as
husband and wife,
for better or
for worse,
she became his
Prisoner of War,
not knowing that worse
includes surviving a war
thought ended
many years ago.

He wears his colors proudly,
grieves for fallen comrades,
but sheds no tears for
the loss of their love,
the death of their marriage,
his war wages on.

Vowing to see an end
of war, death,
destruction of love,
of marriage, she
picks up the pieces of
her mangled heart,
delicately wraps in gauze
her bruised and bleeding soul,
will nurse and comfort her wounds,
heal, gain strength
and move on . . .

. . . if she can escape with her life.

In a Heap of Leaves
©1998 Bridget Rose Duquette

Insulated emotions render
the discussion of the current crisis
nothing more than
small talk about the weather.

The winds long ago whipped
the leaves from this tree
leaving tattered limbs
silhouetted against
a twisted sky.

Grays, blues, whites
flashes of light and
an exaggerated startle to
the sounds of life.

The crackle of
leaves under feet
causes fright when
the footsteps belong to
prospective lovers of night.

Dark eyes pierce blue,
spotlights shining into
an eternal shadow that
warps light, shapes
days of confusion.

Questioning the velocity of
the wind at night
and average rainfall amounts,
as reported by
an interested observer,
is skewed.

There is no objectivity when
distorted hours
tick away into seasons
obscured by a stormy past and
threatening weather.

The bark toughens,
hardened soil holds upright
the leafless tree,
she bears no fruit,
stands alone,
roots unseen.

Hours and seasons become
irrelevant in a climate where
variations in temperature
cannot affect
the unexposed life.

A smile on a sunny day,
a shield against oneself,
concealed realities,
a guarded defense in
uncertain weather.

Stability captured in
truth imprisoned by
decaying leaves,
a tell-tale sign of
hostile storms and
approaching winter.

There, in a heap,
at the end of the alley
the leaves have gathered,
a favorite hiding place
for a blue-eyed child
who quietly wonders
if anyone will ever
come with a rake
and disturb her
fragile peace.


Belinda Springer a.k.a. "Storm"
http://www.realchangenews.org/StreetWrites/storm.html
Ms. Springer is part of StreetWrites, a writing workshop of homeless and formerly homeless writers in Seattle, Washington and on the internet. "I had become homeless in 1992 after the loss of my children along with the end of a domestic situation involving my soon-to-be-ex husband, unless the drugs kill him first. Since then I've had the chance to continue my education and become an active citizen of the community. I am a memebr of StreetWrites and StreetLife Gallery, and a vendor of Real Change, Seattle's homeless newspaper."

The Homeless Women's Prayer
by Storm

The homeless women,
we are,
the mothers,
we are the sisters...

We need opened eyes.
Help to stay from the arms
of harms clutches...

You are the mothers.
You are the grandmothers.
And we are left to cry for help...

for what you have
that we have not.

Thank God you are safe.
We have to live on the streets.
Scared to death is the fact
and the key word...
You have a locked door;
we do not.
You have showers;
we have few.
You can keep the bugs from your hair.
We are infected
with little choice...
We are your wives,
we are your sisters,
we are your mothers.
We dodge guns,
we dodge knives,
we, sometimes, we dodge rape...
God give us hygiene.
Please God help us stay clean.
And if you have the time, keep us safe.
We do not want to live
in crime-filled streets.

God please get us out...


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