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Image: Survivors Art Foundation

Poetry 8

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


Rory Breen
rory_breen@hotmail.com

A poem in memory of my sister, a diagnosed schizophrenic, who was murdered in July
by Rory Breen

The law
They sit there in their ivory towers and manufacture laws
They believe they really can decide my mind all broke with flaws
If I had a broken bone in hospital I'd be treated
Because I'm just a shattered mind that care will not be needed

I can stay alone in my flat with their blessing and consent
But in my mind I'm fading fast, a frightening descent
THE SCHIZOPHRENIC CAN YOU SPELL ME LET ALONE COMPREHEND ME
The broken bone easier to say easier to mend me

However, if you neglect it are slow to treat the break
My bone wont ever really mend, you wont make that mistake
But if you don't fix up my mind you'll break their hearts those left behind
A loving sister, Philomena Breen


Funding
By Rory Breen
Funding funding we need more funding

Take the fun out of funding and we have ding, let's have a wingding
Take the ding out of funding and let's have fun
Put more funding into mental health and give sufferers peace of mind
They don't ask for fun or a wingding just stability in their lives
Relief for their family from so much troubled strife

Help mend their broken minds like we mend broken bones
One in three suffer mental stress, they're not the only ones
Don't count the people cost cause that would be too high
It's the bottom line that counts no matter you or I
I hope when I get sick the cause it can be seen
Like flu or broken arm, not that I'm all that keen
But if I'm ill of mind how will they ever know?
If I need to tell them I'll not even know

So x-ray my arm if it's ever broken
X-ray my mind I think you must be joking
Put the fun and ding back or even leave them out
But put more funding in cause we can't do without


Healing
By Rory Breen

The words aren't always in my head when I begin to write
They seem to flow right out my pen - inspiration in the night
The ink's as black as night encased in tubes of plastic
Just comes write out with it, the truth both mild and drastic

Then often it reveals to me with rationale and sense
And I agree and out flow stress and muscles that were tense
To see it otherwise, just tells it like it is
The flow of words from out my pen, a therapeutic whiz

It's up to you
Look at me to-day and you will see my yesterday
Look at me to-morrow and in my eye see my to-day
See that twinkle in my eye glowing from within
With a flick I switch it on yesterday wont win


Jaclyn Stein Henderson
http://www.oz.net/~jaclynh
Jaclyn Stein Henderson is an author, poet and quilt artist living in the Pacific Northwestern United States. She is a survivor of sexual abuse, domestic violence, incest and cult mind control. In 1999 she was diagnosed manic-depressive, a Bi-polar I, Rapid Cycler, paranoid psychotic. Jaclyn takes prescribed medications and is an advocate for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). Interestingly enough, she completed two terms of naturopathic medical school and has been a licensed massage therapist and counselor for 19 years. She is also a published author. See also her work in Fabric.

how to clean a toilet
by Jaclyn Stein Henderson

    with your gloves on,
    skim the outer back top of the lid,
    repeating the words, all cleanliness is next to
    godliness, remembering that youre not cleaning this
    toilet for yourself, but for the lords body on earth.
    rejoice!

    when you lift the lid, always align your higher
    spirit with the word of god. here is where
    men leave their drops of goodness, and as we know,
    men are the positive points and women are the negative
    points in gods plan, so dont take anything that they
    leave behind personally, but lift it up to god for blessing.

    heaven and earth are one, so clean the top portion of the
    toilet bowl first, and then the inner bowl.
    this inner sanctum should remind you of the golden bowl, always open to
    receive your prayers, not your longings, but your perfect love to serve god
    in every way.
    uniting heaven and earth we are now one in christ.
    you should now stop to reflect on your duties as beneficent opportunities to
    prove yourself as a true member of this, his only family on earth.

    be sure to dust the toilet lid, and pick up any small specks of dirt
    anywhere near, for these serve as a reflection on you. these particles of
    dirt reflect those very same small mistakes that you make in the eyes of
    god, and in the eyes of your server. these sad little oversights will be
    seen by others, recorded and given back to you later, so that you may do
    recompense with your server whenever he deems it necessary. all will know
    that you blundered in the sight
    of god, so leave a perfect peace wherever you pass,
    and remember that not everyone was chosen to fulfill gods plan, so give
    thanks to be able to participate, even with all of your small dirty
    inadequacies.
    the lord has to start with us somehow!

    be sure to be finished with your chores in time to meet with your server.
    line up in a row, show him your
    clean hands and outstretched arms
    so that he knows that you are there
    to serve the lord, to meet his needs, and to move
    in the current of the spirit.
    your job is to employ yourself with whatever
    acts he finds necessary in the eyes of god,
    and in whatever positions he wishes to hold.
    bear yourself upon him as his needs fit,
    for his ways should be your ways, so sayeth the lord,
    and you will be remembered in his book until the next time,
    and let us all say amen.

Rod Dreams
by Jaclyn Stein Henderson

    When I dream of you
    love brings me down slowly
    sews my torn dependencies
    touches the broken place with a validating hand
    renews me out of mind
    fills-in the missing unlived time

    I always feel you dreaming too
    above the world we missed
    we fly, side by side,
    my dark passions bird
    seeding me, healing love we never made
    finishing the intercourse we set between
    but never finished, blocked by those who didnt know
    who stayed our love with entanglements
    and regulation, told us when to meet
    and consummate, when to set in motion the much
    anticipated pulsation

    But with that same husbandry you knew
    you held me in your arms
    with no rhythms bound to heaven
    time stood still, stands still now

    These dreams work within me now
    to bend life just a little
    reshape the cracked compass with a balmy hand
    mold memories into smaller bits of time and fortune
    digest daylights drowsy appetite clouded with cinder ash
    grind soft the force of days
    and nights cast with others

    For this dreamscape,
    this star-shaped hidden heartland
    joins us, will not leave us
    ever, no matter what different lives
    we take up
    with the sun

Childless
by Jaclyn Stein Henderson

    There is
    no beginning
    or end
    to my pain
    of being childless.
    You dont need to have children
    to fulfill your true purpose
    for being on earth at this time,
    was the black priests directive.
    Repeated for years, they needed
    unattached, unencumbered pawns
    to scrub toilets with a smile,
    fulfilling their way, truth and life.
    Innocent shields for their hypnotic mind.

    By the time the light turned red,
    I was 32, without a clue. Years followed,
    black priests scrambled for positions
    within the fallen school.
    Lawsuits filed, cruelties revealed, abuses discussed.
    I was into my third diagnosis:
    clinical depression (wrong, that).
    I knew by 36 I would not bear my seed.
    Too many unknowns for work and relating,
    too many incomplete cycles.

    Motherhood became a very sad thing.
    Holidays and Christmas, families celebrating,
    my fake smiles, Oh, Im fine.
    Nieces and nephews Ive never known.
    Too painful to see my kin take part in celebrations
    without sharing in the same.
    I fear they know me as the weird aunt,
    and going to the mall is always a chore.

    Ive laughed away superficial grief
    by thinking that my writing will stand the tests of time.
    Like growing children
    my pieces will cycle through the lives of others,
    instill them with notions and emotions Ive never healed,
    fulfill for them my unconsummated perceptions.

    And my cats are solace.
    Whisker-faced sweeties,
    they are my babies now.
    I hold them close to my breast
    just to feel something there.
    See, she sleeps on my lap, above
    the empty cavern. Hear her purr softly,
    in-filling the barren womb,
    catacombs of dying seed.

    And now, she lies between my legs,
    newborn kitty of my world.
    She knows, yes she does know
    that her loving kitty life heals my pain.
    Alone, I hurl this silent cry across the inner plane--
    OH GOD! WHY DID I DO THIS THING?!
    TAKE ME BACK, before I lived these years!
    Let me start over, or put me under.
    Put me inside a mummys tomb.
    Buried ash cannot rise up,
    silenced mouths cannot speak of progeny

    Not again, please, no more.
    Let me never again hear a family tale
    without my heart breaking.
    Let me feel nothing ever again.
    Only silence, solitude among the broken leaves,
    Nothingness, again and again.

The following comes from Annunciation, Mystic Songs, © 2000 Jaclyn Stein Henderson, and speaks to her healing process, having been out of the Emissary cult for one year and five months (as of May 1, 2000):

Roots
for Mom
by Jaclyn Stein Henderson

    Sometimes old roots unwind themselves
    out of darkness on clear blue sky days,
    replant themselves into newness,
    forever, please.
    * * *
    I climb up my homestead mountain.
    This coarse dirt trail is mine.
    On either side grows scrub brush, juniper, sage and thyme,
    with small pink blossoms turned to face the sun.
    A warm breeze blows sweetly up from my valley floor below.
    Now I remember where my paradise comes from.

    This wild sage is mine it blooms along the trail.
    I pick some sage and drink in its deep fragrance.
    There is not enough sage to save for later.
    There is not enough space in my pants pockets
    to pick all the sage that I need for later.

    I climb and climb the rock shale, and finally reach a top plateau.
    I look out over my valley home below.
    There will be no smog today.
    I look up. It is a hot, clear, blue sky day.
    I look down. Nearby there is a low-lying rim-rock.
    I strip off my tee-shirt, and lie down on the rocks layered folds.
    The hard stone shapes itself to my back.
    The hot, southern blue sky sun beats down upon my body.
    There is not enough sun to heat up my body.
    I sweat. I am renewed. The hot sun pours down on me,
    forever, please.

    The wind picks up the sweet scent of sage across the mountain.
    There is not enough wild sage for me to smell right now.
    My life sinks into these sweetly scented roots sweeping through my senses
    rim rock, sage and sand.
    The desert birds sing a juniper song.
    All else disappears, evaporates with the sun.

    Later, it is time to leave.
    I stand. I dress. I hear childrens voices below,
    singing, playing in the park.
    Crickets rub their heated joy together in the brush.
    I slowly climb down my mountain,
    and suddenly realize a great truth
    that I shouldnt expect too much from myself right now.
    I shouldnt expect to do the same things that I did before.
    I shouldnt expect to know what I want to do in the future.
    Shoulds and expectations are not a part of this
    falling away time, this falling down time,
    this time when roots rearrange themselves
    upward or outward, it doesnt really matter.
    What matters is only to sink down with them,
    beyond stone, into the unseen crevices
    where you replant yourself newborn
    and you stay
    forever, please.


Catherine Delmia
Catherine Delmia was a survivor of child sexual abuse, marital rape and sexual harassment. She passed away on July 9, 1999. Her work has been featured in many exhibitions and several special projects in California, where she studied photography. Her work here is courtesy of her soulmate, who says: "I feel that Catherine's work is particularly valuable in the whole context of her life as a survivor of various forms of abuse and trauma. See also her work in Photography.

f-a-c-e-s
by Catherine Delmia

    I
    Her and her child
    showing teeth.
    Somehow, it don't quite look
    like smiling.

    II
    In the morning's bright sun he came,
    desparation pressing against the walls,
    filling the inside,
    flowing through the eyes-
    making him like an overripe fruit
    the flies keep digging at.

    III
    Some freak in a red hat
    has frozen the wind
    to make it visible-
    because it is there
    and he needs to prove it.

    IV
    These stretching walls, noisy halls,
    keeping the seething, the breathing,
    the needing all inside.

    My nakedness shows!
    My masks and hatreds, they've cracked...
    My fig leaves have torn!
    Wrapped up in this skin.
    Wearing thin.
    Discovered.

    I am alone-
    and alive.

    V
    The most uncharitable thing you can do,
    she tells me,
    is to simply observ me. The least
    you can do is offer some help.

    Who's to help me?
    I reply.

    She shrugs.

Untitled
by Catherine Delmia

    How come you keep looking
    so stunned?
    The freight train has passed
    over your body five times
    today,
    and you have not moved
    as yet.

Steel Eyes
by Catherine Delmia

    Steel eyes.
    Cold and blind eyes-
    steel can see but shadows...
    shadows in the fob,
    the mist,
    which has covered reality
    effectively.

    Steel eyes.
    Cold and blind eyes-
    aims his steel hand well,
    for a blind man...
    and first steel pellets
    into soft flesh
    of one who saw

    Steel eyes.
    Cold and blind eyes,
    staring into steel eyes-
    dead.

    One has a heartbeat,
    the other has not.
    Heartbeat stopped.
    Stolen.

    Untitled
    by Catherine Delmia

    We are music
    soft and rampant
    raging between banks-
    the musk of the earth
    covering us
    like a bright blanket-
    summer and winter
    stapled between covers.

    Then the leaves begin to fall,
    like a wild painting
    come to motion:
    (like an odd painting
    in my memory,
    surreal, with sharp edges)-
    and the clouds settled close to the earth.

    I remember so well:
    like explosions in my brain,
    I watched your eyes.

    By the sea, alone:
    fingertips touched sadly, parting-
    with the leaves
    sighing to the ground.

    (And this room is so silent
    with everyone gone-
    and I am alone
    with this leaky faucet.)

Untitled
by Catherine Delmia

    On such a quiet note
    the two-way street
    deadends-
    so silent,
    not even a sign put up
    to mark its passing-
    only stately shady trees,
    quiet humming of gnats and bees-
    no fanfare,
    no tears-
    it all just stops-
    here.

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