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Image: Survivors Art Foundation

Poetry 7

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


Steve Brown
stebrown@juno.com
http://www.dimenet.com/disculture/
Mr. Brown earned a doctorate in history in 1981 at the University of Oklahoma. When pursuit of a career in history stumbled because of discrimination, he expanded his activities with a local disability rights group.

Holding Toes
© Steve Brown

The crystal-clear full moon
lights our sculpted mountains
on Christmas Eve
like the stars


Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan
saigon@mindspring.com
Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan is a survivor of childhood neglect, sexual, and physical abuse. She has also survived her 17 year old son Michael's death when he was hit by a speeding car in 1995, her sister Claire's suicide in 1997, and her sister Jackie's heroine overdose in 1998. Tammy is now enrolled at Dowling for her MBA in banking and finance. She lives with her husband Joseph, her son, Vincent, and her daughter, Eliza.

Footsteps In the Night
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

    Fear grips my throat,
    Like a boa.
    Limbs motionless,
    As if lead laden.
    Chest heaving,
    Heart pounding.
    Mind racing,
    There IS no escape.
    His footsteps in the hall
    Are my alarm clock.
    This time he is headed for
    The bathroom.
    Reprieved,
    My body slowly relaxes.
    But what about tomorrow night?

    2/9/94

Michael
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

    While the lawyers battle it out, I wonder why.
    I wonder:
    Why a young man lost his life?
    Why I lost my "baby", my first born?.
    Why a man lost a son, his "right arm"?
    Why two children lost their big brother?
    Why a young woman lost her first love?
    Why teenagers lost a friend?
    Why a wrestling team lost a player?
    Why a school lost a student?
    Why a community lost a member?
    Why a state lost a resident?
    Why a country lost a citizen?
    Why a world lost a human being?
    So that the Universe could gain another star?
    While the lawyers battle it out, I wonder , "Why?"

    9/28/95

Known
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

Beat by beat
Breathe by breathe
I have known you.

You, my "creation"
You, my son
I have known you.

Every pore, Every inch
Every hair, Every lash
I have known you.

Your life, Your love
Your death, My grief
I have known you.

10/6/97

The Nature of Leaves
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

Every autumn
I
Observe fall leaves
Commit suicide
As they charge in front
Of oncoming cars.
Like lemmings
Herding blindly towards
The cliff's edge
And leaping
Without
Purpose
Or
Cause.
As with all suicides,
It's not a matter of common sense
But a lack -- sense of self
Just an unknown force
Driving them all.

12/12/98

When The Rain Comes
by Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan

And when the rain comes,
Will you have adequate shelter
from the downpour?

The rains will come,
the winds of change also.

And when the dry season comes,
Will you have a storehouse of
provisions to see you through?

The dry days will come,
the arid air will sear your lungs.

And when the twilight comes,
Will you have secured someone
who will comfort you through
the long night?

The darkness will overtake you,
as it does everyone.

I,
will be your enduring shelter,
your retreat,
your hidden cave,
your safe place.

I,
will be your provision of moisture,
your liquid balm,
your flowing nourishment,
your well of rejuvenation.

I,
will be your everlasting comfort,
your loyal companion,
your eternal champion,
your ever watchful sentinel.

6/96


Alexandria Heather-Vazquez
studio422@earthlink.net
http://www.studio422.com
Alexandria Heather-Vazquez was first published at the age of nine. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications, magazines, books and galleries, both in the United States and abroad. She uses a variety of pseudonyms to examine the responses to identical art from male and female artists. Although this experiment has many variables, thus far she has discovered that the responses to male pseudonyms overwhelm the female names for the same works. A multi-media artist, her work examines the many imbalances within our world. Dedicated to the belief that men and women must recognize each other and the earth as interdependent organisms, her art, films, poems and fiction are the end result of an ongoing process of understanding years of childhood sexual abuse. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, stepdaughter, turtle, iguanas, and two very pushy cats.

Child of One
by Alexandria Heather-Vazquez

Sun rose out of nowhere
the easiest thing to do
forget breathing
hands over hands
tongue over tongue
restless cronies in
mid-afternoon underwear
look on disinterested
the home-full
the home-less
crumpled forms of somebody’s child
it hasn’t been easy
this act of not giving up
not easy remembering
where i came from
sit
glazed
lost in the moment that is
yes, there is no doubt
this moment of breath
you and i exist
fleeting knowledge
we are fleeting
the cronies sit
staring
watching the kiss
fad into the air that obliterates
the stench of the city
overrides our small creatures’
sense of self


Gaelic Lungs
by Alexandria Heather-Vazquez

Second hand smoke
burn my eyes
lungs heavy with soot
I can feel them cry
Once they were pristine
pink, I’m sure
took it up
‘cos this city
is the biggest schoolyard bully
Coffin nails
as much a part of
me as
laborers
gypsies
lovers
liars
drunkeness
and heartbreak
irishenglishafrican
and everything before
They have left me
with the smell of the fields
before the first frost
and the deliciousness
of lust without action
and the desire to smoke
from a long pipe
while we
discuss
the meaning
of the stars


Martha's
by Alexandria Heather-Vazquez

Finding purchase on the rocks
you’d already fallen once
skinning your knee
letting the blood soak
into the dirt on your legs
satisfactory gore
greenbottles sway
drunkenly at your knees
rocks had been there
longer than any of us
your blood had no impact
solid masses
coated with algae and slime
salt stiffening in our joints
greasing our skin with
the carnival air
blowing from the boardwalk
we’re not tourists
we sit proud
pay the same prices
fight the same crowds
days melt colder
winter it is all ours
island of silence
edged by violent caress
horizon
white caps
flotsam
jetsam float
with no regard to
the position of the sun


T. Simmonds
sanctuaryrock@hotmail.com
Mr. Simmonds is a survivor of fraternal incest, is in his late 30s, and recently completed a graduate degree.
He had been involved with volunteer literacy organizations in the past, but had to scale down his work in this area due to the time constraints of work and education.
His interests in poetry and art stem from a profound appreciation of the works of Rennaisance artists and literary greats such as Albrecht Duerer and William Shakespeare. He is a
musician by inclinatiion, and was encouraged to submit his work here by friends and other survivors. Many of the artists whose work appears on this page so impressed him that he was moved to examine his own painful experiences and express them in the form of poetic verse for the first time in the Summer months of 1999.

Broken toy
by T. Simmonds

Broken toy
now a man
went home to mend the damage

Damage done to him by another
under the pretense
and Nuremberg defense
of being "Just a Kid" growing up

The ultimate betrayal
The ultimate deception

Parental discipline
was handed down with a clenched fist
Peer rejection
handed down with a razor tongue
Sexual exploration
yes, even this was handed down
Molestation, Fellatio, Sodomy
three ugly words
for an ugly crime

The ultimate betrayal
The ultimate deception

Their mother went to her grave
at 55 never understanding
why her joy with her first son
the charismatic, popular, handsome athlete
was offset by the presence of her second
who always seemed odd and out of place

Broken toy
now a man
had to find his own way home

07/20/99

Across the coals
by T. Simmonds

Across the coals of your darker nature
was I forced to view my horizon
when I was raked over them
did I, in my silence, become both player
and pawn
in a game I didn't understand

In the violation of the sanctity
of the trust into which you were invested
did this darkness of your nature
reveal itself to me but to no other

It took me years of sorrow
years of quiet anguish
to bring me back from the resignation
and hopelessness
of a battered spirit

You were stronger, faster, and larger
a predator with quicker reflexes
always playing to win

Took me out to the woodshed
for unbridled male aggression
took me to bed
for the ultimate power play
commiting acts,
the ramifications of which
took me years to understand

It makes me laugh now
when I ponder the abject hypocrisy
of your newly acquired self-righteousness
Mr. P.K., Mr. holier-than-thou

It's amazing I'm still Christian
in the wake of your destructive swath
learn to forgive....I did
forgetting is another matter

In such a way did you secure me
in a cell from which I can escape
but never leave behind

I was then made
and sometimes still remain
a prisoner of my own body
and the keeper of a soul
in a constant state of repair

But repair it I will
though the work will never be complete
Repair it I will

07/26/99

Double amputee
by T. Simmonds

Some years ago
when I attended
my first Masters Regatta

I encountered a strong, stocky woman
a woman who's upper body
clearly showed the strains
and muscular fortification
provided by years of rowing

She was dressed
in the athletic uniform of a rowing club
clearly she was there to compete
in one, or more of the day's events

The most amazing feature
of this Spartan woman
were her lower legs
both were not her own!

her walk was assertive
and perhaps enhanced
by the prosthetics
though to this day
I swear it seemed
more to do with attitude

This woman did not walk
She strutted

Clearly here was a life undaunted
a will, Herculean
and a spirit
abounding in self assurance

This unknown competitor
will never know
how much she inspired me
that day
nor how much she continues
to do so

09/20/99


Endurance
by T. Simmonds

I have learned to put my back
to the wind
living with the scars of the past
meeting the trials of the present
while seeking a brighter future
which always seems
just beyond my grasp
This has been anything but easy

The memories remain
memories of being pushed
through the fire of sexual abuse
of being led
into the freezing rain of isolation
and of finding myself
left at the gates
of self-destructive tendency

I have fought the choking grip
of self-pity and self-despising
often by making conscious efforts
to withdraw inward
and become a nameless
face in the crowd
only to have my uniqueness give me away

I have battled tirelessly
with the poisonous desire
of the peace found only
in the grave
going so far
as locating the spaces between my ribs
holding the dagger in my right hand
pointed inwards, poised to strike!
only to let it fall to the floor at the ever-decisive moment
punctuated by tears and laughter

Still I endure
still I longingly desire a path to redemption
and still I quietly struggle
with the quest for meaning
in the face of it all

Passing from victim to survivor
means assigning relevance to those painful memories
burned in by the actions of my own brother
buried under years of denial and quiet isolated desperation
hard to imagine
harder still to remember

Still I endure
while not fully knowing
my place in this world
it is the faith that one does exist
which drives me forward
and is the most profound reason why....
I still endure

07/28/99


Blessed Solitude
by T. Simmonds

This early Autumn evening
when the air still carries
Summer's vestigial warmth

I find myself on campus
with my thoughts
and guitar
as my only company

The calm is only slightly disturbed
by the constant, muffled, roar
of some vast, unknown machine
concealed in one of the large edifices
around me

Otherwise, it is so quiet
I can hear every tonal quality
of this semi-hollowbody electric guitar
without the need of a headphone amp.

The campus mall stretches before me
this Sunday evening
with an increasing student presence
around me

Some traveling singly, some in groups
some in sports equipment off to play
and some in street clothes
making a hurried pace toward the library
as is perchance to be preparing
some last-minute assignment

Other than this
I am alone with my thoughts
this night
enjoying the break
from my attentions, setbacks, cares
and reveling
in my blessed solitude

09/19/99


Patricia D Hemrick
http://www.creative-women.com/wintoc.html
"I am a 43 year old survivor of multiple tramas. My life partner and I reside in the foothills of the Carolina's where I write poetry and short stories and am compiling a book for family and friends. I dabble in various different types of art and it is that passion for creativity coupled with the gift of a deeper knowing that has kept me grounded throughout my life. I have discovered during the last three years that I am far stronger than I ever dreamed possible. I am a warrior, a womyn, a child that is moving ever so constant toward my goal of becoming a more loving, forgiving, and healing self. Iëve looked fear in the eye, tasted it on my lips, and carried in my breast until I crushed it with my strength. I will not be kept down! I have an inner light that was meant to shine; and as long as I can draw one breath; I have faith that my God will see it through! These are my words; this is my truth, my soulsong. And I know above and beyond all else, I will survive! I believe that there is not only a healing; but a higher plateau of inner peace and knowledge and understanding to be found only through the arts. Oscar Wilde once said 'Find an expression for a sorrow and it will become dear to you.' I know these words to be true."

Millenium Wishes
by Patricia D. Hemrick

I wish for you
winter peace
and Christmas joy
all year long;
a strong spirit to be the most
wonderful and unique person
you can possibly be;
a spirit that yearns
to grow and flourish;
that has a tender touch
and a strong embrace;
with a merriment that lives
in the center of your core
and spills forth as laughter
like a wine.

I wish for you
strong arms with an aching need
to embrace loved ones;
a sharp intellect with the ability to articulate thoughts through clear voice
as you speak your truth
and strum your soulsong,
and always with the passion
of lava in your veins.

I wish for you
the strength that is needed
when life shocks and rattles the senses; the courage to
STANDUP, CRYOUT
SHRILL and LOUD,
to BELLOW from the depths
of your being;
then finding the strength
and will to carry on
without ever losing
the compassion to care.

I wish for you
the vision to see
the beauty and truth
in all things;
a strong faith,
a loving family and community;
with the ability to forgive yourself and others through grace and goodwill,
and that it might cling to your character all year long.

I wish for you
tender moments
with a lover's sigh
like when she aches,
when she wants,
when she needs,
and youíve fulfilled
her winter dreams;
and she now drifts
in winter peace.

all rights reserved
Patricia D Hemrick
aka Windfield 12/20/99


Rock
by Patricia D. Hemrick

Alone in the darkness she sits
engulfed in fear, pain and shame.
Her young spirit
bludgeoned beyond recognition.
Drawing her legs up
she wraps her arms around them
in an effort to comfort herself
she begins to pray,
she sways into the pain,

rocking
rocking
rocking

to
and
fro

rock

rock-a-bye

rock-a-bye baby,

rock

rock of ages

rock of ages cleft for me...

She prays:

'Yea though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me'...

And the blood flows freely.

She calls out into the darkness his name,

O God....

Alone in the darkness she sits,
the darkness that now brings comfort
in the form of sleep.

At least he answered that prayer.

all rights reserved
Patricia D Hemrick
aka Windfield 1/10/98


M.A. Norman
m.a.norman@ic24.net

This New Machine
by M.A. Norman

I know what it is like
To feel lost and alone,
Far away from friends and family,
Far away from home.
To be the victim of a hate campaign,
And peoples cruelty.
To see normally nice eyes,
Light up in anticipation and with glee.
As the pleasure of putting another down,
And making them pay,
Becomes the modern highlight,
Of a manipulated person's day.
Influence, power and money,
Rule the actions of so many,
There are now few morals against injustice,
There seem no longer any.
Even great Churches are not exempt,
And feel the cruel sting,
Of going against unscrupulous power,
And the nastiness this brings.
A vicious word here, innuendo there,
Has brought our good Church
To her knees.
There is no shelter, even with the Church,
Allowed, for those who offend
This new machine,
Which will bring others down in any way,
So it looks like what it does
Has never been.
Such ways of penetration they have,
It is not difficult to perceive
How society could have got caught up
In such a stranglehold,
That has brought it to its knees.
The name of the game is power and money,
To negotiate
With instruments of war,
Keeping a certain section of our society
Ever vigilant to their cause.
And if this 'cause' calls for 'witch' hunts,
And lost reputation of inocent names,
It is hard luck on those innocent ones,
For this is now the name of the game.
But what about a good society,
And its future as such?
It would seem this is now too much to ask for...
Just too much.
When innocent hearts are robbed
Of their freedom and peace,
By this new 'machine'
That peddles war and destruction,
Society's deadliest desease.

© M.A. Norman 1996

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