Just when she thought she was complying, she raged and broke apart

Things at a distance …

The child learns

Not to burn herself on cooker top

Not to hold someone to their word

People don’t always return


Things learned at a distance

Words do not describe reality

Reality is not as they say

Life is funny and tastes of rain

One moment it flows then everything stops

Changes course

And you


Sometimes you are forgotten

For adults

Don’t always recall

The necessity of keeping their word


And that child

Grew with restraint and without rule

Clad in scraps of query and uncertainty

Unobserved, she learned not to learn

She didn’t sharpen her pencil and master how to take orders

Her mind they thought gifted but her’s was just a glib mouth with fast words

Sounding beneath the press of water, betraying its weight

Underneath she had no end to her dislike of being told what to do

And they told her

You’ll regret the way you are

Discipline helps breed patience

Patience is honed a virtue

She had none

Never learning her multiplication tables or grammar

She slipped as she ran

Away from the rod

He’d hit her you see, too much, and caused a break

Until she didn’t know how to mend her cracks

Only fury lay

Between her fingers spread against the sun

Silly frivolous fury, the kind girls are mocked for

Usually they are scolded, Child don’t you know? Real suffering exists! True pain! And you have so much and you dare say you are discontent?

Even the shame of knowing on the outside she was a white parody of excess and indulgence

With her predictable dysfunctions all signs of a weakness of spirit

Delving into emptying with hands tied by nurture and the unbearable shake of seeing

If you just got up every morning and jogged, if you just put that cigarette down

You save yourself you know

Of course she knew and like a woman weighted with stones she wanted to walk deeper into the water because every scratch of her fabric was flawed

Why did you let me be born?

Why not give my time to a marvelous well-adjusted mind who will study science and never play hooky?

She played it all the time and had nothing to prove nor music within her movement

No piano to learn

As long as someone

Who wanted to learn



And she

Wished to walk in olive groves hurting her bare feet with dry shrub

As the Corfu sun burned her scratched arms

Creating ugly stains for how she felt inside

Marks of time mottling her skin

Brands of all the times she tried not to be


And invariably

Returning to the mirror time and again, a looking-glass behind her eyes

There was her father’s jaw and elongated forehead

His thin red weathered skin tried by the hour

When they found out some DNA was stronger and certain people were genetically likely to outlast others

She laughed

Because she’d known that for years

You only had to taste the quality of their time

and in the future

They ran dry like a Texan Arroyo long baked by merciless sun


Her father once said

You reap what you sew

and she has thrown herself into air

With no seeds and no design

Just the bare howl of being aware

Knowing the grief she was ashamed and compelled by

Ticking in her imperfect hiccup of a soul

Unable to avoid the error of her need

To rebel against the majority who never seem to mind

But plod perfectly in time to some hidden chant

While she spun, losing ground, hurting and grasping

Never ready to fit herself into a shape commensurate with moving forward

If there were an edge to the world she’d be the one to push herself



67 thoughts on “Just when she thought she was complying, she raged and broke apart

  1. Dear Betty. I always learn more than I impart. But I try to listen more than I used to say, when I was younger. Most of all I feel. You are the same way, I can tell and that is why everything you are going through strikes me deeply as I know you are not glancing off the surface. I both admire that and I know also it is not an easy way to be, but a way that is more ultimately meaningful and redemptive. I wish you love and peace. You have my respect and my friendship you are an incredible lady and I appreciate you.

  2. You got it so right dearest Meghan and I so appreciate you reading this pretty long piece and giving me your take on it – that helps me as a writer and moreover encourages me thank you my friend

  3. That is SUCH a wonderful thing for one friend to say to another. Just another reason you are my favorite redhead but moreover, a light on a dark day, and a hand in a crowd.

  4. Dear Candice, you are so wise. I do think hardship, grief and pain adds to our depth. We never get filled up, we simply grow and evolve. Love takes on new meanings. There is so much going on in unseen dimensions, so many connections we’re unaware of. Grief cracks us open and let’s in a greater reality. We become more. At least that’s my experience of late. Thank you again for your presence here! 💖

  5. Your words made me think of the limestone here in my adoptive texas, cracked open revealing crystals and magic, much as the cracking destroys, as you say, the new dimensions provoke growth, often underappreciated because of the accompanying pain but later, seen for their necessary insight. Why we respond thus seems the consolation for a grieving world, though never compensated because loss cannot be remedied it can only be transformed much like when we die out energy never dies, created from stars we return to them, I like to think nothing can take that or love away, it is safe.

  6. Your comment is sheer poetry, and I so agree. Our energy, love, and our creations, whatever they may be, are never lost. Maybe from the physical world they pass (all things do) but they’re forever recorded on the cosmic walls of infinity.

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