Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poem(s) of the Week: Two Dark Poems, Two about Time

From right to left: My sister Carole in pink, my brother Phil and me.
This is the only picture of my brother that I have available digitally. I may try to photograph some other, later pictures tomorrow but I'll have to dig them out of storage. Except that we are rather rosy cheeked and painted in the style of antiquity, it's a nice picture. You could look at it and think we lived a different life than we did. Doesn't really go with the poems, but it's what I wanted to post.

This an odd collection of poems. The first two are about my relationship with my brother. It took me until my 40s to realize how destructive he was. I lived most of my life before then in a kind of trance in which my job was to make everyone happy and anything which went wrong in the world was my fault. It took me about 8 years of therapy to start being pissed off. I'm stubborn. The last two poems are just kind of odd. Not sure why I'm posting them at all. Maybe because they are less dark than the first two.
The first two were written probably when I was in my 50s, the second two in my 20s or 30s. Anyway, proceed at your own risk.


When I think of seeing him
I see a giant spider
Waiting to mummify me
In gooey silken thread
Before it makes a meal of me
Slowly over time
Keeping me alive somehow
Until it can suck not just the life
But the spirit out of me
Can I have loved him once?
Was there someone once to love
Despite the rages and hurts
And did the darkness grow and grow inside him
Until there was nothing else left?

- Katherine E. Rabenau

If I let my rage come loose
Will the sharp-edged, iron weight
Fly wild and hurt some stranger
Or will it cut straight through you, dear brother
And kill Mom too?
Do I shield you because
To touch my rage at you
Is to risk hurting her
Whom I loved so much
Who hurt me so?

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Time changes everything
Locks us in words, threadbare maxims
Plays sleight of hand with hope
(Now you see it, now you don't)
But never pauses the slow march
Sideways through eternity
Never stops holding out the bait
While mankind pursues the hand on the clock
Endlessly circling
Until he stops to be rewound
And set on the same foolish chase

- Katherine E. Rabenau


A sequence of events
Ordained by fate and chance alike
Borders of the possible
An infinite set of variable mandates
By which we steer our lives
Into some mysterious triangle
Where all things make sense
And the world no longer sees or hears
But none-the-less wonders from time to time
What it all meant
And what that power is
Whose presence we cannot know.

- Katherine E. Rabenau


Rinkly Rimes said...

Our poetry differs greatly. I am a much more trivial writer, and I usually write in rhyming verse. I wonder if you'd like to visit my Blog. I feel so sorry for anyone suffering as you do, and I only wish I could wave a magic wand and make you less afraid of the outside. However, I have my own fears, and they're not easy to overcome so how can I talk?

Akelamalu said...

I remember reading another post of yours about your brother and thinking how sad that you had such a relationship. Still, it happens. x

Raven said...

rinkly rimes - thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words. It's been quite a while since I've been out. These days I think my phobia is less the mysterious terror that used to grip me during my last days living in NYC and more a mix of anxiety coupled with severe physical limitations. I manage to be pretty happy despite my weirdo status. I have some kind flesh and blood friends who graciously accept that everything we do will be at my house and some new neighbors who drop by pretty regularly. By brother is part of my past mostly.

akelmalu - I so adored my brother for most of my life. It took me 40 years to even know he was abusive. He's a tragic soul on many levels. He was stricken with Parkinson's disease in his late 30s (38-39). When he first got sick I did a lot of care-taking for him. The first step in me recognizing his cruelty was a pastor who knew - and liked - us both, who told me to go into therapy. I spent 12 years trying to work through it WITH my brother - to see if we could heal, rather than sever our relationship. He wasn't willing to let go of sadism. If he couldn't be cruel to me, he preferred to play the part of "abandoned invalid." It was not an easy decision for me, especially since it broke my parents' hearts. I'm glad I made it, though. Boy... my life story in a comment. Sorry.

Jeff B said...

Thank goodness you were able to identify the abuse for what it was and work toward freeing yourself from it.

On a completely different note, I'm starting a new writing challenge and would love to have you input on it.

Dianne said...

I really related to the notion of not touching inner rage in order to protect others.

I've done a lot of that. No wait - I STILL do a lot of that, just much less than before.

Progress eh?

Raven said...

jeff b - I am profoundly grateful for that. I wish I had gone into therapy earlier in my life but I've come to think that there is a purpose to everything. I am who I am because of the course my life took. I do think that if I hadn't gone into therapy and dealt - however incompletely - with the damage from my crazy family - that I would not have survived - at least not outside of an institution. Even the darkest moments in our lives carry a gift. The gift of my sister's murder was that it cracked open my protective armor and much of my denial and got me into therapy for real.

dianne - ah, I know you understand. Progess is good... and awareness.

peppylady said...

I'm not sure what to say about siblings.
I've always thought it was sad for siblings not to get a long.
But be married to someone who has plenty of sibling I can see why some has fall outs.

You must be the youngest one in that picture, in the bright yellow dress with the sunshine smile.

Coffee is always on so when you get a chance stop on in.

Carletta said...

Raven, from coming here and reading week after week I know your life hasn't been easy and things continue to trouble you on many issues. But, even with all that's been I see you as such a gentle soul.
You were right to break away.
Know that you bring many of US joy everyday we visit. :)
And, you were such a cute little girl!
My senior high school picture is painted this way - antiquity as you say.