She spent half of her life
wearing the same pair of shoes.
When she first saw them, they were dazzling…
full of promise (and promises!)
Tightly laced and polished,
glistening like diamonds upon her feet.
They were immediately comfortable, and comforting.
At first, she walked through dark night forests
and midnight-winding streets; breaking them in,
smiling at the melody of new leather creaking
in harmony with the violin-sawing of cricket wings,
with the ruffling of the night owls feathers.
She dared to share her dreams, and danced in her new shoes
with abandon and trust and hope.
The shoes spoke to her of wondrous things to come…
making promises shoes should not make
but new love demands –
of forever cradling her feet against sharpened stones;
of warming her toes through winter’s storms;
of lifting her heals in rapturous dance…
She fell in love with these shoes,
flooded with dreams of where they might carry her.
Each morning, she slipped them on with tenderness and love;
each night, un-laced, she fell asleep clutching them to her breast…
…whispering sweet hallelujahs
for all the miles they had shared,
and would in all their ahead days walk,
promising – until death do us part!
She loved her shoes with complete abandon
and imagined they would always be as comfortable
as the day she first placed them upon her trusting feet-
each day praying these shoes would always love her in return;
with tenderness, truth, and above all else, never hurting her.
But the years went by, and those beautiful shoes began to wear.
With time, they lost their gloss, and the leather cracked and hardened.
She noticed, one morning, a tiny droplet of blood upon her sock;
Later, a small cut upon her heel, a new pain within her heart.
Yet still, devoted, she continued to wear them
though at night she began setting them beside her bed.
In the final year, she wept looking at these shoes;
they were now ugly shoes, painful shoes.
“These shoes,” she tearfully whispered,
“will never carry me to where I need to go.”
She could tell in other’s eyes that they
were glad these were her shoes and not theirs.
They never talked about her shoes.
They looked away in embarrassed empathy.
To learn how awful her shoes were might make them
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
She began, for the first time, to hate her shoes;
with guilt at first, then with an increasing passion
until one day an awareness swept through her thoughts:
“I deserve a better pair of shoes.”
She looked around, and for the first time understood
that she was not the only one who wore those shoes.
“There are many pairs in this world,” she thought.
I can either learn how to walk in them, timidly,
so they don’t hurt quite as much…
“…or I can throw them away.”
And she began to plan.
“No woman deserves to wear these shoes,” she cried.
So for the final few months, she gathered her courage
…..to throw them away.
Ironically, it was these shoes
that had made her a stronger woman.
These shoes had given her the strength to face anything.
They helped make her who she now was.
One day, she slipped them on a final time
feeling the worn leather against her savaged foot;
then, flooded with the intensity of love one can only feel
knowing love is forever lost…she kissed the shoe goodbye.
When the time was right, she took her shoes to a secluded ravine
kissed them, and tossed them…like an old pair of shoes,
into an abyss.
The shoes lay there broken, tattered, worn and useless.
The shoes could not speak of the love they held for the woman
For its tongue was torn.
Left to decay with nothing but the scent of the woman’s
tender hands scenting its laces, slowly fading.
As soon as the shoes were disposed of
she went barefoot into tomorrow, pain-free
and dancing and singing:
“I will forever walk the bare feet
of a woman who has lost her shoes!”
But in exactly one year, she slipped on another pair,
happy and in love again, dancing and laughing once more...
hoping against hope, forgetting old shoes,
willing with all her heart for this shiny new pair to carry her home.
In the bitter waves of loss,
Thrashed and tossed about,
By the sullen winds of life that blow,
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors of love once cast
In search of eternal purchase
Now dragging useless in sorrow’s gale.
I am quietly holding fast, holding alone
To the things that cannot fail.
That’s what I seek (although my heart knows full well)
The truth is, I may never be able to know for sure why.
But I do know that there is no single
“Should have done” or “could have done”
Or “did” or “didn’t do”
That would have changed that why.
All that love could do was left undone.
This shipwreck, my castaway life,
This endless frothing of cold, death-capped waves
Was due to my taking my eyes off the horizon
Where our dreams were setting with the dying sun.
I preface this poem with an apology should it provoke any memories in my dear readers of similar abuse. It is never my intention to cause pain. On the contrary, I offer my love and compassion, and yes, my hope for healing by bringing into the light secrets that grow and fester in the dark. I dedicate this to my younger sisters, who I love and cherish dearly, for the countless midnights stolen from their innocence. And to all victims of this senseless abuse. There is love and hope beyond the pain ~ Dennis
Bathed in an ethereal light
this child has no skin in the game
yet her trust holds demands
she cannot bear.
The creak of her bedroom door
snatches the sleep from her eyes
and in the darkness, horror descends;
her pillow, once soft and warm,
betrays her and once under, now over,
muffles her surprise.
Beneath his weight, she dissipates –
her cries muffled in the night.
Her fright smothers – she gasps for air
and he’s still there, grinding her
fragile hips into dust.
God looks on, and in His fashion
does nothing to intervene;
a celestial voyeur.
Stuffed animals bolt to the floor
one after the other, and with them
descends lost innocence;
her face laced in spittle, and she’s so little.
He rolls over, spent and condemned
as blackness descends to fill her.
Nothing is as it seems, but not a dream.
Tears wash away the vision of
He rises as she plummets;
this child painted with the smell of
cigarettes and cheap liquor.
Morning filters through frosted panes
but she finds no warmth in the rising sun.
They’ll be no accounting for this sin
and no childhood left within this shattered
shell of a child. A darkness, deeper than sleep,
envelopes her lost innocence, as the
morning’s breeze carries the cry of angels.
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“Just so you know, despite the darkness and despair of some of my poetry, here’s a glimpse of the more hopeful and soulful affirmation of my personality” Anyone laughs, I un-follow!
You ask if love’s forever
A promise I can’t make
But if I could, or thought I should
I would not hesitate
I’d promise you forever
And then a day or two
If I were free to guarantee
Forever loving you
But promises are born of doubt
A doubt that’s seldom real
The love we know can only grow
In trusting what we feel
Yet, I’ll promise you this moment
If words can still your fears
Just hold me now and show me how
To love you through the years
He pillaged the title the day I was born
and like most thieves, he took for granted that which he stole.
Being a “father” meant no more to him than taking the trash out
the only difference being, he preferred to bring the trash in.
Each night, drunk and puffed full of false bravado, he would
return home from the bar twenty minutes after closing
with some strange woman who was half his age
who still managed to look twice as old as he was.
They all smoked and smelled of cheap perfume and beer,
and as he pushed by my mother with
with a violence that seemed to rattle her bones,
he would look at me, a frightened five year old
with no understanding of what this all meant,
and flip me the finger.
Every day was “father’s day”..
his to do with as he willed.
They took their sins into
my mother’s bedroom and slammed the door behind them.
I feared my father, but hated my mother
for not taking us out of this broken house and into
the world where somewhere, someone could love us.
That’s all I wanted…love. What I got was limitless contempt
for complicating their lives.
She just sat in the living room before the television, defeated
and sipping her gin, counting the years down until she might
find the courage to cut her wrists,
leaving us to…him.