My Final Defeat - Fixed Competition

She probably can't remember
and I know I can never forget...
the first time I saw her like that
I was only nine years-old
not naive by any stretch
having seen my share of tragedy-
my parent's bitter battles in my first five years of life
then the inevitable end of their marriage
but not before 700 days of devastation called divorce
that destroyed dreams and deeply damaged hearts
I had no idea life could get worse...

But it did -

The day I found her passed out cold on the living room floor
I thought she was sleeping at first
In fact I swore she was just sound asleep
to my petrified little sister
whose big brown eyes screamed with fear
at the site of the lifeless body of our mommy
slobber dribbling out of the corner of her mouth
soaking her cheek below the dirt of her eye makeup
that trickled down her sallow skin on a face
devoid of any expression...

Is mommy dead?
a little voice whimpered
my sister weeped

My gut said Yeah she's dead as a doornail

Thankfully my words said No No she's not dead
as I carried my trembling, tiny sibling upstairs
and tucked her in bed with my promise
that Mommy would wake up in the morning...
as I wondered What if she didn't?

Little did I know I would wonder again and again
for the next 20 years
who I would see when I came home from school...
my real mom - you know her - the sober, sophisticated lady -
or would I find that ugly, evil spirit
lurking within my mommy's body again?

I loathed that demon who called me nasty names
and didn't cook dinner or do laundry
I wanted to murder the monster that growled at me
slurring words, throwing things and
staggering through our house...

So confused, embarassed, shocked, and dazed
by how my mommy would really be two people

But I learned early -

Never ask questions...
about anything at all
Never tell...
anyone - not a soul
Never complain about the awful monster
for fear that it would take my real mommy away forever
Never trust anyone or even my tomorrows...
since nobody ever knew if the evil demon would be back
Never feel anything...
because it was easier to become completely numb
than to endure the endless pain and loss day after day...

When I got older, I thought I could deal better
but looking back now I know I was wrong...
It didn't get easier, I just became paralyzed
behind the protective wall I built to be safe from her...

Nobody ever met the first boy I went on a date with
neither parent even knew his name
much less what kind of car I hopped into
or where we were supposed to be going...
Because my dad wasn't around and she was drunk
and I was ashamed, so I stood by the front door
waiting for Tommy's car to come down my street
and as soon as I saw it, I barged out the door
raced across the front porch, skipped the steps,
barely letting my feet touch the curb before
I bounced into his Chevy with my gleaming smile
that everyone knew me for -

The radiant face with the perpetually beaming smile
that I faked so often, it almost felt real...
My cheerful facade created to disguise
my actual agony and untold twisted torture

Today at 30 years-old, I have perfected my mysterious mask
as I cower behind my forced, dazzling smile
and feigned nature of blissful peace and normalcy

Nobody ever gets even a glimpse
of the real me - tormented by childhood memories
tossing and turning in my bed every night,
haunted by frantic flashes of bad dreams,
reeling in faithless feelings, lingering self-doubt, desolate disbelief, hopelessly

searching...
for explanations, answers
to my questions that haven't changed in 20 years...

But anything close to understanding
seems to escape my emotional grasp
eternally eluding my ravished, raging mind
and sense of reason and logic...

I surrended myself to a continual, compulsive scramble
through a menacing maze of misconceptions
that I perpetuate with my naive expectations
for a miracle to magically reveal a meaningful response
to my endlessly, impossible questions...

If I could just find...
A solitary reason why
my mother has continued to choose alcohol over me
for more than 25 years...
Or a single clue to explain how
I can compete for her love when
my opponent is a lifeless, speechless, emotionless
loyal bottle of vodka...

Resource Box - © Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art8364.a sp

In The News:


Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Sidewalks a platform for poetry
Sioux Falls Argus Leader
Bev Oliver shows off the rubber mold Tuesday used to imprint a poem in the concrete sidewalk at Seventh Street and Summit Avenue as part of a project she led. TOP: Poem imprinted in the concrete as seen on Tuesday. (Photo: Photos by Elisha Page / Argus ...


The Guardian

Poetry Brothel puts the bawd in bard
The Guardian
She calls herself a poetry whore, and I have paid for her company. For the next 10 minutes or so, she will read me her verses, converse with me, entertain me. Between sheer curtains I can see several other transactions unfolding around us, hear stanzas ...


Downtown Express

Poetry in the souls of those who least expect it
Downtown Express
BY PUMA PERL | I couldn't be happier to report that the spirit of discovery is alive and well as demonstrated by the Rocky Presents shows, and that a new generation is learning that poetry lives on in the streets, and in the hearts and souls of those ...

and more »

NPR (blog)

Book News: Remembering Poet Galway Kinnell, Whose Song Said Everything
NPR (blog)
When Galway Kinnell accepted the post of Vermont's State Poet in 1989, the honor didn't come without a bit of polite disagreement. No writer had occupied the post since Robert Frost more than 25 years earlier, and with the revival came also a desire ...
Former state poet Galway Kinnell diesBurlingtonFreePress.com
Galway Kinnell, Plain-Spoken Poet, Is Dead at 87New York Times
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Galway Kinnell Dies At 87Huffington Post
Los Angeles Times
all 196 news articles »

Prayer Through Poetry includes artistic elements
Chimes
Prayer Through Poetry featured an open mic where students connected through the poems that were shared. Through sharing an untitled song he wrote and listening to other students share, senior business major D.J. Cortez was able to navigate his own ...


Poetry's ambassador
Yadkin Ripple
After engaging with contemporary poetry, Griffin said he decided he wanted to try writing some poetry of his own. He said the process was harder than he first imagined, but still something he thoroughly enjoys. He keeps a notebook with him all the time ...


Professor shares new poetry book
Observer Online
Tuesday evening, Saint Mary's department of business administration and economics hosted a poetry reading honoring the poetry of Dr. Jerome McElroy, professor of economics. McElroy read from his new chapbook, titled “Hidden Graces.” Professor ...


Unique poetry workshop offered Saturday
Quad-Cities Online
Mr. Dougherty recently performed at the Best American Poetry 2014 release party at The New School in New York City. His work was included in the most recent edition of the annual Best American Poetry anthology. In Saturday's workshop, students will ...

and more »

HotNewHipHop

Handwritten Poetry From A 17-Year Old Tupac Surfaces
HotNewHipHop
Here's a good way to celebrate Throwback Thursday. Today Noisey has unearthed some previously unreleased handwritten poetry from the legendary Tupac, written before his rise to fame, when he was just 17-years old. The rapper's first manager (who is ...

and more »

Statesman Journal

Art inspired by William Stafford's poetry on exhibit
Statesman Journal
Artists In Action, in cooperation with the Mid-Valley Poetry Society, will sponsor a multimedia exhibit of art inspired by William Stafford's poetry Nov. 5-22 at the Salem Arts Building, room 180, 155 Liberty St. NE. There will be a reception and ...
William Stafford Favorite Poem Project #2WilliametteLive.com

all 2 news articles »
Google News

Superman

So many looked to you for inspiration,Unlikely hero for the... Read More

Four Poems: Harvest of Apoplectic Horses [Katrinas Pathway]

Four Poems: Katrina's PathwayHarvest of Apoplectic Horses ((Dedicated to: Katrina))... Read More

A World That Doesnt Care

War bombs may explode demolishing man and land. Hurricanes may... Read More

Blind Designs [a Poem] and a Note by Rosa on The Other Door

Blind DesignsBorn today, gone tomorrow Like a butterfly with no... Read More

Why I enjoy Writing?

During interviews and general conversations with the public,one of the... Read More

Looking Out the Rear Window

The funeral rite concluded With the pastor shaking hands, Offering... Read More

A Ship to Remember

Hammers. Timbers. Iron. Steel.They're laying down a mighty keel.As ant-like... Read More

Robert Burns Love Poem: A Red, Red Rose

Robert Burns, a poor man, an educated man, and a... Read More

Three Poems (While in Transition/English and Spanish)

Here are three more poems by the author, Dennis Siluk,... Read More

Review Of Stephen B. Wileys First Book Of Poetry: HERO ISLAND

Poet Stephen B. Wiley's first book of poetry, Hero Island,... Read More

Hindu Poet - Kamalakanta

Kamalakanta was born in Burdwan India in the late 18th... Read More

Wondering

How I wonder what he's doing as I sit alone... Read More

Rocks

Take some time to stop and look at nature. Pick... Read More

The Merchant of Copan [In English and Spanish]

English VersionThe Merchant of Copan [480 AD]Advance: The ballgame at... Read More

For My Mother

I cannot bear to think of when you will be... Read More

Two Poems, with Figurative Language

Says Mr. Dennis Siluk, when asked to review his poetry... Read More

Two Poems: San Jeronimo Brook & [in English and Spanish]

Fair Andes! Thy arms reach highOf iron-woven solid stone Thu... Read More

The Valley Of Pain

We were exiled from the Garden of Eden. Its... Read More

Breathing-in, Minnesota [a poem: now in Spanish and English]

In early fall, in Minnesota, the rain falls, falls, In... Read More

Recollections

I AM SO GRATEFUL for simpler times. Stores were closed... Read More

Lifes Too Short

Time goes by to quickly to hold your feelings inside... Read More

Mechanical Poetry

Do you ever stare at the paper, waiting for poetic... Read More

Four Poems: Two for the Devil, Two for Peru

Here is some witty poetry (not sure if that is... Read More

Three Poems: Phantom of the Rocks; Lady from Lima & Bell Ringer of de Copan

Phantom of the Rocks[Huancayo, Peru]Night falls deepUpon the traveler!Low, over... Read More

Two Poems and an Analysis [?Witness,? & ?An Old Love?]

Two Poems and an Analysis ['Witness,' & 'An Old Love']WitnessMy... Read More