The Abuser as Colonizer

Colonizzer

As obtained under the system of colonialism, an abuser aims to violently take control of another person. Both systems act to break and exploit a person in order to bolster some distorted sense of glory. An abuser, whether in full awareness or not, operates a system that is aimed at destroying   another’s courage to hope, as well as to foster deficiencies in one’s pride and self-esteem. Like colonialism, systematic abuse places a stronghold on the person subjected to its ministrations whether or not the perpetrator intends to do so.

A tankOften – times the abuser justifies the status quo treatment of the subject. An apathetic society then becomes complicit in this justification of such subjugation by being mum on the subject or by not openly addressing it. The persistence of such a system tells of certain structures deeply embedded in our socialization system that allows for the perpetuation of this evil generation after generation. We need to identify and annihilate those pertinatious structures from among us.

striong woman

As alluded to the poem “I don’t Break, I Bend  a postcolonial renaming is called for as identity rediscovery and reclamation must be realized for recovery and transcendence. To allow for this, colonialist implants of the abuser in the psyche that reconditions a person into thinking he/she is not enough, must be rejected. Simultaneously there must also be a rejection of the attendant subjugation that overtime causes the subject person to become settled into the unacceptable positions. To escape the stranglehold- the accustomed prison- and neuter the impact of the abuser, the wounded must rename herself. In the process with God’s help that person would achieve ascendance to transform her/his point of breaking into her/his point of making

I Don’t Break, I Bend

I don't break I bendI Don’t Break; I Bend

Just where you broke her,

that’s where she did grow,

herself for to know.

 

Just where you finished her,

there she famously died,

but her eyes opened wide.

 

First cowering and stumbling,

she learned to stymie fear.

Then rising from her tomb of clay,

her truth she came to bear.

 

Watery tears nourished.

Her life’s garden flourished;

towering flowers in reds and blues,

choirs blossoming in every hue.

 

She’d outwitted the battering,

the identity confusing and a future so uncertain,

to roar upon high mountains.

By rejecting the guile,

brokenness she did foil,

and astutely stronger grew,

offering comfort to the broken new.

 

The recovering fatalist now

chronicles a phoenix’s dusty rise

out of dreary brokenness upon unbroken wings.

 

Celebrates the shattering,

the fueled postcolonial renaming

and shrewd neutering

of the colonizer’s deadly renderings

This and similar poems can be found in my book Splendor from Ashes

Brenda fixed my book cover

 

 

 

 

The Returning Soldier

soldier

The Returning Soldier

Many a time we face the battle of life like untried soldiers. And, like untried soldiers we are never fully prepared for the sometimes-dramatic consequences of warfare. Then when we confront life’s amoral demands for conformism we become stunned like deer caught in the headlights.soldiers-

But having taken institutional vows we feel we are under moral obligation to act the part to keep up appearances. Oftentimes this may come at a cost. It may come at the cost of a slow and painful death of core values, of dreams and of self.

Yes, we kill off our dreams and other aspects of self for appearances because we are mindful of the oath taken.

wounded soldier 2

At times as returning and rebounding soldiers we are so broken that it is quite challenging – near impossible to make the psychosocial adjustments required. Yet we soldiers return to wherever home is, to face ridicule after having sacrificed a part of ourselves for that which was judged as valuable, or for some other – perceived greater good. So, did I.

This short exposition is hopefully a guide to the understanding of the poem “The Returning Soldier” which follows:                     

The Returning Soldier

Soldier, did you kill a man?   

 How did it feel?                                                                                                                 

Woman, did you leave your man?                                                                                        

How did it feel?

This woman did kill a man—

Soldier, did you kill a man?

How did it feel?

Woman, did you leave your man?

How did it feel?

This woman did kill a man—

not that man, this inner man, in partial suicides,

in sneaky, slow dyings

with the technology of sharp-shooting inner snipers

configured by the Cain of conservatism.

She was a terrorist against herself,

blowing body parts to bits,

soul and blood raining down upon a tortured landscape

to join those of Abel in post-Edenic torpor.

Be a self-preserving surgeon like this woman.

Amputate the amalgam of selves that anesthetizes

and forces you to choose another’s interest over your own.

But don’t you dare sit in your sterile towers

and politicize and sensationalize her cracks at survival.

 

The Returning Soldier is taken from my book Splendor from Ashes

Brenda fixed my book cover

 

 

 

The Writer as Conscience

Black writerThe Writer as Conscience

Last week I posed this question to my students: “What is the role of the writer in society?” One particularly bright student said. “The role of the writer is to inform upper class people of what is going on in society so that they could bring change”.  I restated the student’s response in this manner: “So then one could infer that the storyteller/ writer is the conscience of the people”. He concurred. The writer Karl Keating writing on the role of the conscience says, “Conscience is the faculty which warns you that you’re doing something wrong — or neglecting to do something right that should be undertaken”.  My hope is that in some small way I could be a tiny conscience to others on the issue of domestic violence.

Student

 

In the role of society’s conscience of sorts, I try to accurately describe issues experienced so that at the end of a poem or anthology a reader can at least say that the writer understands what I am experiencing. In my anthology/memoir I try to portray myself as a real person in a quest just like my readers so that my dilemma becomes theirs. At the forefront of my mind is to portray the universality of the issue at hand, and the dilemma of being human.  Thus as conscience the writer begins by being a mirror reflector.

As a metaphoric conscience I aim not to be a mirror that reflects to distort and sensationalize but one that brings clarity to the human condition. I reveal my life with an authenticity that makes me vulnerable to be misinterpreted, misunderstood or frowned upon. Yet I feel compelled to chronicle my experience with a fidelity that has the potential to convincingly expose the dark underbelly of the society and of the self. You see it is my belief that one only has what one gives away. In giving myself away like this and leaving myself open and vulnerable it is my hope that I could persuade others to make psychological investments in human kind. It is my hope to inspire others to bring the change that the student spoke of or at least to agitate to make that change happen. Certainly, I want to spur them not to neglect to do something right or to undertake that which should be done to address the situation

Protester

 

In the poem below I reveal how my life was shaken in the aftermath of domestic violence. In the process not only do I leave myself open to the criticism of others, but I become my own worst critic. Because I try to write with honesty and sincerity at the end of the process I see myself and examine my thoughts and become self-critical. Here is where writing becomes a painful experience as it is hard to face your truth. Even though you may want to take back what was written it is already written and taking it back does not make it less of the truth. Ultimately, I resolve the matter by admitting that it was my truth at the time, but I have grown away from that position.

In honesty I try to show the pain that was my life. As I look back on this poem I see the pain that was my life. I see the ugliness in me that caused me to question my faith- which is my center, and I feel ashamed. I see my weakness and I am critical of myself for allowing circumstances to move me like this. I am still trying to forgive myself for this error.

I hope the poem that follows touches hearts and minds, causes you to have opinions and inspires you to make a difference.

Crossroads

My God! My God!

Why hast thou dealt so harshly with me?

Why hast thou forsaken me?

Why? Why?

O God of my childhood,

sweet gentle Jesus,

I had not known you thus.

Why are pain and unhappiness

constant residents of my being?

God, remember how we were

intimate once, You and I?

I was the lamb frisking

in the green pastures of your presence.

We communed then,

You and I,

while all heaven looked on.

It was good then, so good, Lord.

Now visions of the grave rise

before my eyes and scare me.

Every moment I fear the end,

for in the menace’s eye

is the ominous presence of death.

7

And what is left?

A God who seems absent,

abuse from within and without

at the hand of a stranger—lover and brother.

Oh, my God, it never stops.

I’m the cornered fawn,

forever retreating

before the heinous hounds of hell.

I’ll be good, I say to the menace,

but that’s not enough—

nothing I do is ever enough.

I weep in the shackling gloom

Crossroads and similar poems found in my book Splendor from Ashes 

Crossroads

girl at crossroads

Crosswords

When you face your truth then writing becomes self revelatory and hence a painful experience. Ultimately, you resolve the matter by admitting that it was your truth at the time, but you have grown away from that once held position and are continuously evolving towards an elevated plane.

I share with you my poem Crossroads.

Crossroads and  similar poems found in my book Splendor from Ashes

Crossroads

My God! My God!

Why hast thou dealt so harshly with me?

Why hast thou forsaken me?

Why? Why?

O God of my childhood,

sweet gentle Jesus,

I had not known you thus.

Why are pain and unhappiness

constant residents of my being?

God, remember how we were

intimate once, You and I?

I was the lamb frisking

in the green pastures of your presence.

We communed then,

You and I,

while all heaven looked on.

It was good then, so good, Lord.

Now visions of the grave rise

before my eyes and scare me.

Every moment I fear the end,

for in the menace’s eye

is the ominous presence of death.

7

And what is left?

A God who seems absent,

abuse from within and without

at the hand of a stranger—lover and brother.

Oh, my God, it never stops.

I’m the cornered fawn,

forever retreating

before the heinous hounds of hell.

I’ll be good, I say to the menace,

but that’s not enough—

nothing I do is ever enough.

I weep in the shackling gloom

A Narcissistic Boss

Narcisus.2

Aggressive Ethnicities (2013)

Aggressive ethnicities,

not race but class,

jump-starts this vendetta.

Cain-envy, that’s the story.

Crying shame, Abel’s not to blame.

You are your own fierce pain.

Cataclysmic sounds

scream from your underworld;

guttural cultural sounds

destroy, in any event

stifle the great.

Camaraderie linguistics,

collaborative putrefying hums

imminent birth abort, distort,

noblesse threat to crush.

47

Ghetto halo winging it,

competencies unimpressive,

etymologies of insecurity—

unquestionably, Mafioso eccezionale.

As Narcissus, prostituting other love for self-love,

your reflection in the pool must see,

else soulless gaze transforms to worthless stones.

I, Perseus, have you pegged.

This and similar poems found in my book Splendor from Ashes

SKU-000686587.gif mybook - Copy

Echo and the Narcissistic Leader

Echo 2

We seem to be predisposed to choose as leaders; the physically attractive, the charming and the seemingly self-confident. Many times, however, these outwardly physical qualities mask latent traits of self-absorption, egotism and the potential for oppressiveness and the misuse of power. Wherever this genre of leadership is unveiled it can be categorized as Narcissistic Leadership.

Narcisistic boss

The narcissistic leader is power hungry perhaps driven by the need to compensate for inner powerlessness and lack of self‐esteem.  Compensatory strategizing is key to this type of leadership operations.  As part of the compensatory package, this type of leader self-promotes distinctiveness and evaluative positivity by inflating achievements and works to devalue the worth and competence of those perceived as threats. With boldness these bosses self-categorize as visionaries and transformational leaders, yet they disallow equitable exchange of information among their team or else manipulate information to discredit others to promote their own ego. The narcissistic leader cannot appreciate that there is a direct relationship between quality of leader- follower exchange and productivity.

Narcisus.2Death arises with the ascendance of Narcissus bosses for they like Narcissus can only see themselves. For an individual to allow integrity to get in the way of bowing to the manipulative exploitation of the narcissist is to knowingly commit career suicide. Weak others quickly learn that they must prove their undying love for the Narcissus they must sacrifice their integrity and begin on an emergent journey to Echo status. All soon learn that nothing and no one gets in the way of this type of leader, not race nor homogeneity of any kind; for class ascendancy is the grail. Meanwhile the Narcissus boss would only allow for a scant acknowledgment of the Echo group who must walk on eggshells to avoid getting in the way of this Narcissus as he/she reflects on and perceives of his/her own self-importance. The narcissistic leader must see only see herself/himself reflected in the pool.

The above treatise throws light on the poem (Aggressive Ethnicities” shared below  from my book Splendor from Ashes

Aggressive Ethnicities (2013)

Aggressive ethnicities,

not race but class,

jump-starts this vendetta.

Cain-envy, that’s the story.

Crying shame, Abel’s not to blame.

You are your own fierce pain.

Cataclysmic sounds

scream from your underworld;

guttural cultural sounds

destroy, in any event

stifle the great.

Camaraderie linguistics,

collaborative putrefying hums

imminent birth abort, distort,

noblesse threat to crush.

47

Ghetto halo winging it,

competencies unimpressive,

etymologies of insecurity—

unquestionably, Mafioso eccezionale.

As Narcissus, prostituting other love for self-love,

your reflection in the pool must see,

else soulless gaze transforms to worthless stones.

I, Perseus, have you pegged.

 

Owning Our  Dreams

 

We all have the right to chart and navigate the course of our own lives. We have the right to choose our independent course and not always be expected to sacrifice our needs and emotional well being for the security of others. Sometimes we may have to choose to  break with that which stifles our goals and our rights to self-determination. We take ownership of our dreams despite their quirkiness. In taking ownership of our dreams we do so propelled by a sense of inner locus of control, for we act in full awareness that we can exercise some influence over the events of our lives. We’re not powerless, neither will we fall back into blaming others for all that goes wrong in our lives. In fact we are even ready to act before the green light is given. We take ownership of the dreams as we are so persuaded by their potency and authenticity.

I share with you “Dreams” a poem from My book Splendor from Ashes

Dreams (2013)
I live your dreams,
and, oh, how I want to live mine.
Your dreams are not as sublime,
are not easy on the span of my mind.
Dreams, scientific, methodical,
incongruous weighty dreams—
your anchored and balanced dreams
sure don’t fit in with mine.
Dreams mirror the truer self.
My dreams are light and freeing,
infectious and idiosyncratic.
So unyoke my dreams;
my spirited bulls of Miura.
The truth is I would be fine
if you would allow me a slot
to define my own space in my own time,
to walk leisurely with the grace
to change my mind.
44
I need the privilege,
the easing out of tight ridges,
of ideas unprepared
and not quite decided.
I have the need to clear my desk,
without the burden of redress.
Get rid of the clutter,
and with each new dawn,
craft the path of the reborn
with dreams unplagiarized,
not borrowed, boxed, or generic,
and courage to revel
or put the gears in reverse.
I’ve lived your dreams,
and, oh, how I want to live mine.

 

………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

The Abyss

The Abys with pictureThe poem; The Abyss reflects the impact of domestic violence on the psyche of the victim. And, although this happened years ago I can recall the impact as if it were yesterday. However, writing provides catharsis and further healing for me and I hope it will do the same for other hurting people.

The Abyss (2003)

There comes a time

when you give and you give,

and then you can give no more.

So the decision is made

to do what you can.

But you being you,

you do and you do

and you fight and you fight

mercilessly.

You become estranged from yourself.

You step outside of you

and wonder who you are.

You find that you are a stranger

looking at your children,

and you are alienated

from the pain or laughter they bring,

for you don’t want to feel.

 Everything is being drained,

drained from you.

You wish that something would snap

and pop inside of you,

hurling you into oblivion

or to times of laughter—and soon.

You don’t want to think, think, think,

for thinking seduces you

and reduces you,

and you fall like a dwarf

before the Goliath of your thoughts.

Taken from my book “Splendor from Ashes” available at amazon