Running Rampant

There is a degradation of masks piled up in the middle of society’s living room floor. The pink elephant with polka-dots has begun the erotic dance of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” It’s such a beautifully awful dance played out with vicious words typed with anger and a seemingly absolute belief that the brilliant slice taken from a “Libtard/Wingnuts” dignity will most certainly have them eating crow and begging for forgiveness.

This deeply ingrained battle to be right has caused discourse on every level from global down to the familial microcosm. It has pushed down buttons of justice, conscience, defense/attack, personal rights and freedoms for many politically minded adults.

This rhetoric presents itself as friendly fire but is subtly far more bombastic. It is meant to disrupt unity. It is created with both sides seeing the same information but with their preferred “AMEN” spin attached.  It has created a sense of terror, injustice, righteous indignation, and cries of prosecution from every participant.

When the weight of Donald’s election settled into my brain, I admit, I was convinced we’d reached the epitome of desperation. I lamented to my friend, through ugly sobs and heavy snot, that I didn’t believe I’d make it out of this administration alive. The cruelty I heard through soundbites on national news caused such a feeling of anxiety because, although my father died in March of 2016, the alt-right had just, essentially, elected my father to run the country.

How can a dead man be elected?

My sperm donor was the kind of man who took great delight in making other people uncomfortable. It was his passion to destroy anything or anyone that said they loved him. His fragile ego, narcissistic personality, abusive behavior, as well as his habit of gas-lighting others while never once taking responsibility for his actions or their consequences made Donald identical.

The rawness of that realization is so potent that two years later, I am still broken wide open with my muscles dried to jerky. I look like an anatomy book that shows nothing but muscle without skin to hide the innards. Each nerve screams in a constant high pitch because there is no relief. It hasn’t stopped. It will continue until he is no longer in power.

I can only read the news a little bit before I have to put it down and walk away. Many times I’m finding myself going for days without checking anything out that I normally would because the injury to my sense of decency is brutal, bloody, and truthfully, exhausting. With this administration, it’s been like living with an abusive relative that you can’t escape from, despite futile efforts.

The only people who do not seem to see this are, I suspect, so used to being abused that this is their normal. They’re used to everything Donald does from lying to name calling, finger pointing to shifting blame. They believe because the alternative would mean they put their faith in the hands of a psychopath which is totally unacceptable.

They honestly believe the lie that he will build the wall, that we won’t pay for it (and even if we do, Mexico will pay us back), that he is an anointed of God, that he is the best thing that ever happened to this country.

It is my further hypothesis that the people who are so vehemently protesting are people that have been in abusive relationships and have either left or minimally recognized they are in danger. They see all the red flags that have been run up the flagpole (but only to half mast because…guns). They understand that if this is allowed to continue, someone is going to end up dead, which further means it will be themselves or someone they love. Theses are the people who are taking to the streets and rampaging wrathfully for justice to be served.

I wake up each day wondering if today will be the day the world ends. I wonder if the people I love, both Veteran and not, will be able to continue the care they get through government programs. I’m deeply concerned about my brothers and sisters with more melanin and whether they are going to survive the onslaught of violence which has escalated since the induction of white supremacist Donald Trump into the White House. I worry also about the LGBTQ community with Donald Trump’s cronies running around threatening imminent bathroom attacks by trans people or conversion of youth to being gay because they were raised in loving homes with same gender parents.

The focus is completely egotistical to the point that the news cycles barely touch on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Children, women, men, entire communities are starving to death. There is nothing left to eat. The death toll is rising.

Russia is making power plays that are starting wars with their neighbors in the Ukraine. It’s a vicious game of cat and mouse that is being willfully and freely condoned by this administration.

Murdered American citizens by foreign royalty are dismissed as no big deal because there is profit to be made. What’s one life when billions of dollars could line the pockets of the ultra-rich? Life holds no value which, in turn, means none of us matters in the least to Donald. Unless we bring profit, he has no interest in keeping any of us alive.

What’s even more twisted to me, is that Donald’s “Amen corner” seem to agree. They stand behind him as if they are in awe of his boldness while they whole time their hands are held out for more money. It’s a disturbing trend which has been around probably since politics were invented. It’s shameful pandering to the deepest pockets.

I don’t have the answers to how this could possibly be solved unless we can reset the last save and start back in 2015 again before this insanity became the reality TV of real life. When I was a young child, I was proud to be an American. I was proud that this country stood for justice around the world. Now, my shame for what we’ve become as a society makes my head hang like Ol’ Glory, at half-mast. I do not know this Republic that I once loved so dearly. I truly wish she were the Land that I Love once more.

 

 

Victory at Home

I was standing on Fulton street waiting for the Number 15 to take me to the corner near my home. The wind was brisk with an occasional chill, but the lifting of the hood of my sweatshirt over my head blocked most of it. This particular stop homes three buses headed out and about town. It feels quite familiar as all three round the corner coming out of the transfer station down by Van Andel Arena. I switch feet. I look across to Veteran’s Park where I danced with wild abandon at a Thursday night drum circle held after the Jazz concert at Ah-Nab-Awen park. The Main Library is behind that. I spent hours of research in those rooms. Everything I was looking at seemed familiar, but with a dream-like quality.

I came to the conclusion that I was but a drop in the puddle in their eyes, but in mine, I was so much bigger.

When I moved away from West Michigan in 1989, I had no idea who I was; broken, discouraged, full of lamentations. I had no direction or purpose. I molded myself into the ideals that I believed I was supposed to be. I became a fair wife, a devout church goer, a preacher of God’s love, a model citizen in every way. I provided Christmas for impoverished children, took them on camping trips, advocated for their protection always seeking approval from outside sources. I was miserable.

After the loss of Jordan, I began rethinking my life and the choices that had brought me to a point where I could no longer stay. My marriage was a disaster, my friends were there but they were all much younger than I so their freedoms were different. I still had no idea who I was or what I wanted to be or do. At 25 years old, I decided to find out who that woman looking back at me in the mirror was. I left everything behind. I cut ties with family, friends, acquaintances, and moved back to a small studio apartment in Kentwood. I married again but it crumbled basically from day one. I moved around the country for about a year, using Greyhound as my means of travel.

By the time I ended up in Arizona I was a disaster. I married for a third time. I found a group of friends that, for the first time, not only saw me for who I am, but encouraged me to be everything I was meant to be. I felt like a toddler whose parents delight in the antics of the little one, but at the same time, I was an adult. I radiated humor and enthusiasm. I decided I was strong enough to move, so I did. I moved across the country again to Tennessee where I lived with my father for a brief time. He was a miserable human being that rejected me just as fast as he embraced me. It was constant mixed messages from him which led to uncertainty and instability.

I found God living in a little church tucked away behind a natural shade of trees. I was told to go there and I’m glad I obeyed. It was like coming home. It was the first group of collective people that not only appreciated my wildness, but saught me out for companionship, help, and entertainment. I imagine it’s what being a rockstar feels like. What’s even cooler is that I adored every one of them right back. I couldn’t help it. I’d waited my whole life to know what it was to be me. I learned it at their knee. It was the most difficult day when I had to say goodbye to them and return to my hometown of Grand Rapids.

Only, it wasn’t my Grand Rapids.

It wasn’t the place where the broken little girl made up ridiculous fantasies of being the President of the United States or curing cancer with a brightly colored cardboard box and a stick found on the playground. This wasn’t the city where I dealt with childhood tragedies with self destructive behaviors. Nothing was the same, including the absence of the monsters that didn’t live under my bed but were under the same roofs as me. The dark secrets were held up to the light until their power whimpered into submission.

This city doesnt know me, power in my words, body thick with laughter, hair demonstrably wild, my secrets laid open to the beauty of rainbows once forbidden from my fingertips. This city is unaware that within its limits, there is a woman with courage as deep as a wristcutters truth, but as furious as a hurricane battering abusers with education. Grand Rapids has yet to understand that I, that had all along existed but had been nearly crushed by history, rose up to find my feet.

I’m standing in the middle of Division and Fulton in my mind, screaming with laughter at the pure wickedness of possibilities to be reached. This may not be my Grand Rapids, but it is my home.

The Abuser’s Abuse

Forgiveness is easy for some

They let the nefarious acts,

Committed by an ABUSER,

S

  L

   I

    D

     E.

But I cannot swallow deceit, for

I’ve tasted the destruction

from the pants of Mephistopheles,

felt weapons to my head,

heard the bloody rhetoric

with innocent ears,

clawed my way from denigration,

Felt the punishment unjustified.

I recognize what I see.

I will not say I’ve seen something else.

I will not lie and say it’s okay or maybe.

I will not wait and see.

You can’t gaslight me.

I’m calling it straight out, ABUSE

From an ABUSER

in a position to ABUSE.

I will not excuse ABUSE for anyone.

I will not TOLERATE

ABUSE

FROM

ANYONE

PERIOD.

Third verse unwritten

Youthful feet, bare of shoes,

The tattering of proven roots

from family tree, judge recused

Forgiving of a prostitute

Mercy Seat, sang the blues

Eating of forbidden fruit

Self-mistreat, allowed abuse

Rejecting every business suit

Purely obsolete, troubled muse

Punctured soles of ill repute

 

Gypsy heart, wandering free

Creating life to love in hands

Brightly colored, feathery

Wandering compass of all lands

Fully engaged bourgeoisie

Complete with impish contraband

Lustful laugh, bountiful in jubilee

Sometimes dirt, sometimes the sand

Ripened joyful, blissful sensuality

Worth no roots in wonderland

NaPoWriMo: Fifteen TRIGGER WARNING

TRIGGER WARNING: You had no idea

By this time, I was already being taught horrible things; I was six in this picture.

By this time, I was already being taught horrible things; I was six in this picture.

I don’t think you could possibly have meant

For me to return from where I rose my ascent

I was broken, abused, nearly destroyed

All because my father didn’t want to take away my “new toy.”

I held secrets so dark that nobody could love me

Not that way, not no way, not even the slightest possibility.

At fifteen I had not recognized the horrors I’d seen

At fifteen I hadn’t even realized it was safe to breathe

Although the constant abuse had stopped a decade earlier

It didn’t take much to re-abuse me, just be a little squirrelier.

I ran around raw as if chained to a razor blade

The slightest momentum and I’d dive back into my shade

The fears that accosted me, drove me wild with anguish

It took me a quarter century, those demons to finally vanquish.

No, I don’t think you would have, if you’d known what it means

To return to the age of fragility, loss of innocence, the unclean.

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