This poem was written circa 2000. It is about my survival as a child in the face of a father I loved who was supposed to love me, who was a Preacher--highly respected in every community we ever lived--a man whose demons were fierce and terrifying. I was the fighter and defender in the family...both brave and stupid (a fine line).
the pattern worked like this...
when the storm got cozy in his eyes,
my warpaint bled from beneath skin
Girlchild with righteous sling shot
versus Tall man with disconnected rage
and access to God the Father.
to soothe, to please
to set right, to confront,
to argue, to hide
to outsmart, to protect the weaker and smaller,
to distract, to Survive...
I am holding a Lantern in one hand &
a swinging thorned ball in the other.
(whipping the dust up to just beyond frothy,
ghosts sneak in finding refuge in present hollow spaces)
Men become less and more of the Tall man.
I see my arm lurching out
into the storm
lit aflame with fear and rage
I say to my God
I plead with my God
If his chest be cracked open,
Can I be trusted to pump his heart?
slippery like the place where a tooth was--
Can I use my hands as instruments
for the dying one before me?
If I am mid-wifin',
don't I count it all Joy?