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[Poetry Friday]: Rewind

Curled up body on the floor board \ Not a space across the belly

poetry-friday

Hello, Iphigene here. I’ve been attempting to write a cohesive collection of 10 poems. I was hoping I’d be able to send the collection to a big literary contest here in the Philippines, but it’s been difficult. I’ve never written interrelated poems and as the deadline approaches, I think I’ll have to wait for another year. In my attempt to complete a collection I found myself writing other poems, poems that surprise me. One of those poems is Rewind.

The first stanza to this poem came to me. It stayed as a lone stanza for weeks until I found the words to complete the poem.  What came out was a very personal poem. I didn’t expect it, but maybe it’s time to tell this part of my story. I hope you like it.

For more poems today, you may head out to Jama for some Poetry Friday.

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Internal Agony (Graphite on Paper) by Author

REWIND

by Iphigene

Curled up body on the floor board

Not a space across the belly

This is how you protect

Yourself.

 

Hold your position

Cover your mouth,

Muffle the wailing, this is

How you keep silent

 

My mother knew the rules

Of our game—

She hit us, we folded

We cried.

 

Repeatedly.

 

She hit us, we folded

We cried.

 

Until we’ve learned

The lesson:

 

She hit us, we folded.

I cried no more.

 

My body shakes,

Crumple,

Crumble,

Silent.

 

Thirty Four,

Curled up on the floor boards

Not a space across my belly

My childhood rewinds.

 

25 comments on “[Poetry Friday]: Rewind

  1. Iphigene, words fail me trying to respond, but I have to express gratitude for your honesty and your powerful gifts. How many suffer in silence. Yours is an important, courageous, beautiful voice. Glad you are listening to your Muse; poems which come to us don’t tie themselves to calendars. Sending a gentle hug from the other side of the world. Such strength and sensitivity in your words and art.

    Like

    • Hi Robyn,
      Thank you for such a thoughtful and reassuring comment. I try, as best as I could, to talk about my story. Sometimes I wish it was easier, but it isn’t. I’m just glad I am able, as the muse would have it, write about it. Thanks again.

      Like

  2. Oh wow. This was startling (in a good way, though the subject matter is obviously not). Thank you so much for sharing it. What beautiful language you’ve used to describe something so horrifying.

    Like

    • Hi Akilah,
      It’s strange, but I find the less words I use to capture the life I’ve lived the more easier it is to convey its weight. I’ve used writing since I was 10 as a way to exorcise the pain and maybe that’s where the beautiful language comes from. Thank you for reading it. 🙂

      Like

      • That makes sense. That also explains why poetry can be such a lifesaver. And it has given me some ideas about how to write about things that have often bothered me but I feel I can’t write about. So, again, I thank you.

        Like

        • Yes Akilah, before i learned what therapy was, writing had always been what saved me, it allowed me to externalize the pain and not let it consume me. I do hope if works for you. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. lindabaie

    Sometimes, the words want to come and then be shared so they can be heard, a mystery why but it feels to me like it must be that right time, a time for healing and saying goodbye to the memory or lessening its hold. Iphigene, your words shout for all the children who stay quiet. Thank you for sharing. As Robyn said, poems are not meant to be on a timetable but come to us when we need them.

    Like

    • Hi Linda,
      While this was a far off memory and I’ve come out of it okay, writing this poem felt like an attempt to completely say goodbye to what was.
      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. 🙂

      Like

  4. Thank you for sharing your powerful and heart wrenching poem, Iphigene. Your spare words do speak volumes about the pain and fear you experienced and are still carrying today. It is good to know that writing has been a healing force for you.

    Like

    • HI Jama,
      Thank you for taking the time to read and understand this poem. I am always grateful to writing, without it I wouldn’t have been able to make sense of my life.

      Like

  5. Kay Mcgriff

    Your poem makes me think of a line from a Charles Bukowski poem about what poetry can do–poetry can frame agony and hang it on the wall. Your poem is heartbreaking and beautiful as it conveys such agony. Thank you for your courage in sharing it. May your words and art offer comfort to others who suffer.

    Like

    • Writing allows me to put the feelings out there and free myself of misery that comes from recalling such experiences. I like the Bukowski line, because that is how it truly is for me when I put these words out here. Thank you Kay.

      Like

  6. Thank you for being brave and sharing this beautiful yet painful poem and drawing–so much comes through in so few words and the repetition makes it that much stronger. I’m glad that you can funnel your thoughts through these two areas.

    Like

  7. haitiruth

    Thank you for sharing this painful memory. I’m sorry you lived that, but glad you can write about it. Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Like

  8. My goodness. Such a painful memory to share. I truly hope it gave you even the tiniest bit of comfort to share with us on this Poetry Friday. Healing hugs to you.

    Like

  9. My heart breaks for you. I really don’t have any words except that you are incredibly strong and so is this poem, and poetry can sometimes be therapy. I know it has been for me.

    Like

  10. maryleehahn

    Thank you for your bravery and honesty. Your story, I’m sure (sadly), is the story of many others who need to see that such a childhood can be survived and then unwound from its binding grip on the soul. I hope that writing and sharing this helped in your healing and gives you a measure of peace.

    Like

    • Yes, it is the story of many. I teach teenagers and have in many classes told my story…it is my story that allows me to connect with my most troubled teens and in many ways I am grateful for my past.
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

      Like

  11. srebeccan

    I love how much meaning you are able to convey. Sometimes my own breath is taken away by just how much my past still climbs into the crevices of adulthood. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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