This one feels like it was written by a different me, and I guess it was. It comes from 5 years ago, shortly after I admitted to myself that I had been abused as a boy and disclosed to my sister Cathie (November 2003). It felt like the world was falling apart around me and I wrote quite a few poems in an effort to admit the things that had happened in abuse, which I of course figured was all my fault.
At first the memories were vignettes like this one and they were pretty scary. I didn't know anything about dissociation, for example, except that whatever it was I was still doing it as an adult. And I still lived in fear and awe of the abuser, though I knew he had been dead for years.
I still don't know why that bowl of peas remains so vivid in my memory.
“Larry, could you pass the peas please?”
My mother’s words startle me at first and
I realize where I am – and it’s suppertime.
How did I get home? How did it end today?
I'm so afraid and I’m hurt bad - again.
I’m staring out from deep inside my eyes.
It’s like watching a movie, only up close,
Examining them as they enjoy their dinner,
Talking about how their day has been in
The steady tones that mean your world is safe.
Colors and smells, sounds, this chair hurts.
My mouth is making words that aren’t mine.
My fork feels heavy and I stare into my plate
From my dark and chaotic world, where hands
Roam at will to chill a child’s racing heart.
Would they love me if they knew the truth?
Could they bear to look at His “lovely boy”?
I know that even now He could still slip in
And drag me away screaming in the night
And no one would see, no one would hear.
An eternity seems to pass as the storm crashes
And wells from deep within – I can’t stay here.
I so want it all to stop, and in a moment I feel
Myself drifting away, free for a time, leaving
The boy as he passes the peas to his mother.
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me. (Woody Guthrie)