Tag Archives: child abuse survivor

Ants.

I sit in the courtyard watching them.  It is square, concrete all around, the pad under my butt.

Grit everywhere.  Sand.  Small pebbles like irregular irises.

Sun beats down. It’s so hot and I’m thirsty but there’s nothing to drink.  I am stuck here, in this roomless cell with its roofless walls, a prisoner of my own making.

I have misbehaved again

and shuffle to the courtyard

head down, eyes narrowed against the strong sunlight streaming into my darkness

as I shuffle out into the courtyard

and sit down.

Counting ants.

Watching them.

Look at them scuttle, run around.

I pick up a small stone – a boulder to him.

and I throw it.

It bounces around, missing him.

I pick up another and throw it again.  Then a handful.

Bombs falling down

in the ant playground

while I sit watching them.


 

 

– This is from my childhood, when I’d get so bored and there was nothing to do.  I don’t know where the courtyard came from, but we were there. Sitting there in the hot sun.  Voices in the distance tell me I am not alone, but there is no one elsewhere that I can detect . . .
I was held prisoner sometimes
in that courtyard in my mind
and ants were the only entertainment I had;
that, and the blazing sun.
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That Old Time Religion

That Old Time Religion

That old time religion
they beat into my head
made me tiptoe into church
filled full of dread.

The choir would start singing
about the angels and the Lord
while I’d be staring at Michael
with his dripping sword.

The choir would be singing how
God would accompany me to my grave,
but the the question they kept asking was
“Have you been saved?”.
Let us count his crimes;
his sins he will tell,
because we will beat them out him
so he won’t go to hell.
My dad said I was Satan when I was seventeen,
that I was possessed with demons inside.
So I told him to prove I was not God . . .
and though he tried and tried,
my arguments were bulletproof
when I laughed and told him
it wouldn’t matter if I died.

An Army brat inside who had sex when he was five,
I knew what it was like to run, dodge and hide,
but where was I to hide when I would have to abide
the punishment for what was done to me?

So I would look up into the gold laced air
where the Saints stood staring with a cold stone glare
politely ignoring me.
And I would listen as the hymns grew real loud
and the white frocked choir sang.

The priests walking solemn as the angels sang loud
and I would feel a nauseous shame
burning deep inside of me
while my father stood nearby
and my mother held my hand
sternly.

Forcing me to sit up
be still
and stand when required
and kneel when required
and cross myself when required
by church law and ritual
until I became conformed
like the rest of them
thinking I’m going to go to hell until the day I die
when I finally will.

But I don’t believe in that nonsense anymore.
I believe in a special god.
And he’s a bit like you and a bit like me
and a bit like the rest of all mankind.
Seems more ‘real’ to me
than any god presented by mankind
because mankind did not make god
and god is just like man
only different –
like you and me.

 

 

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Shadow Dancing

The savages dance in the shadows
the savages dance in the shade
of the jungle and the forest
around the fire we’ve made.

Their shadows go a’leaping
through the shadow and brush
and they dance in a circle
breathlessly we breath in a rush.

Memories come a’creepin’
within the night’s shade
triggered by the dancing shadows
of the savages in the shade.

Whisper words in my ear
words that comfort and bind,
whisper words to the shadows
of the savages in my mind.

Look at them dancing there, whirling around the fire
kicking their legs and tossing their hair
as the flames swirl even higher.
I can’t make out their forms in the darkness there;
their silhouettes against the fire
but their shadows betray
their true forms and desire . . .

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Sleeping in the Snow . . .

The frosty blew a cold frozen mist across our faces as the deuce and a half plowed along the roads, whipping in from the tailgate end under the green canvas cover.  The heavy green canvas, military grade, was stiff and frozen, like us.  The wind blew sharp ice crystals against our red cheeks, stinging them.  Every once and awhile came the heavy labored huffing and chuffing as the multi-fuel engine struggled to go up some hill.

I looked around.  I sat huddled with some others – our team was split; not out of necessity, but because some of our gear kept us warm.  Having our sleeping bags and backpacks piled up on the ends of the twin rows of hard wooden bench seats helped some.  Having a cigarette in my hand helped some more.  I hunched over the glowing coal, cupping it in my hand for the smoke’s warmth, wishing some of it would drift to my body; then I took another toke.

I was eleven, maybe twelve.  No more.

The boys – all of us, there were about six or seven, I suppose, plus those two G.I.’s – were going on a ‘camp out’ somewhere in the German mountains.  It was cold and it was the middle of winter; the skies were overcast, gray.  Foreboding long fingers and curtains of steel lay across the land; from them a pelting mist fell – half hail, half sleet, and sometimes snow.  All of my compatriots and I were dressed in the same thing: a long pair of ‘Long Johns’ (long underwear), a pair of boots – some  good thick socks on (I think I had two pairs of them), plus a set of warm drawers.  Add to that a set of mittens – or gloves (which I preferred, though mittens kept your hands warmer since your fingers were together all the time).  And field coats – the military kind.

All of us kids wore “Army jackets” – for the pockets if nothing else – especially on these kinds of missions.  We’d spent our days (and some nights) in the bunkers, planning.  These were the old WWII bunkers, left over by the Germans – and there were some secrets there.  Many, in fact, and to tell the truth: some of them are still hidden there, buried beneath that airfield at Fleigerhorst Kaserne.  Seven layers down (I’m told) it went – and only 3 were open to us boys.  Above secret airplanes flew – and sometimes bombs, some of them nuclear.  Us kids weren’t unaware ofeverything that was going on – and we had been told (sometimes right down there in them bunkers; sometimes in some old stuffy office or drills) what was going on.  The shuffling of weapons; the breaking of treaties; it was all old news to us.

We were training for this – how to become expert guerilla fighters (in some ways) – ones who needed no direction, who would ‘band together’ naturally and of their own accord – smart enough to take on the enemy in small groups using hit-and-run warfare; able enough to survive on their own in a ‘nuclear environment’, despite the use of ‘pesticides’ (meaning killing us, meaning killing little boys – and by ‘pesticide’ I mean either a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon: weapons of mass destruction that they can sneak in through the woods; the smallest crack in our lives – and doing us in.  The good ol’ USA wouldn’t be the good ol’ US of A anymore.  It would be the United States of Russia.

And we were the front guard.

Just a bunch of little children – Army brats being trained; being told: this is what you do.  This is how you survive.  This is how you fight back when you engage the enemy.  This is where you run to.  Things like that.

Things like ‘how to hook up a Claymore mine’.  “How to fire a machine-gun (look out; it rises and bucks to the left . . .)”.  How to open a parachute.  How to come in for a landing when wearing one (low; at a half-crouch, preparing to take the shock; rolling, rolling, rolling with the thing – then out comes the knife; off snaps the lines – and you are prepared.  Grab your weapon and move on . . .)

How to live in a cave – a dirt shack; a ditch; in the woods; in a meadow – how to ‘hide’ in plain sight (if need be) – how to stay motionless for HOURS; not to move, not for anything (not for a bug biting you – or a million of hot ants crawling all over your body – or bee stings – or even dying some of the times . . . it felt like that sometimes; like you were dying inside.  Usually from ‘holding your breath’ – though someone was holding it for me I suppose, on the other end . . . dunno.)

Crazy stuff to be sure . . . but getting back to that trip in the snow.

We spent three days there – living off cold C-Rations, wrapping ourselves up in our sleeping bags (Bag, Sleeping, Artic: Down Filled . . . good down to 0-30Degrees. Centigrade.)  Sleeping with just our nose sticking out – buried in the falling snow at night, snug in our warm little cocoons.  I still sleep with a fan on me, reminding me of that thing – how beautiful (and cruel they seemed sometimes!) – the stars staring back at me from out of the night; my breath warm and frosty at the same time; those puffs of air rising out into the cold . . .

You could look around you – this would be at about three o’clock in the morning – and you would see these humps where these sleeping bags lay – and at the end of every one this tiny dot; this little cave, with steam in the moonlight rising.  It looked cool – and the silence of the snow bound woods (except for the occasional thump of falling snow somewhere from some branch that was off-loading) – and the dark pines rising up – white above; dark below; their thin trunks like knees hugging the ground . . .

It was a beautiful place; a haunting memory; just one of several.

And I don’t really know what all it means; who I was a part ‘of’ (it was supposed to be in Boy Scouts; but we met in a bunker and things.  It even had gas-tight doors which swung closed with great iron lever bar latches.  Grey in color they were – and heavy as all get-out.  It took two of us boys to make the really big doubles ones swing sometimes; it was all I could do to push one – just a heavy one – closed.

Just strange.

I think I need – I should – examine the period some more.

 

 

That’s a type of truck; a military one.  It looks like this:

 

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The Boy (on the Beach)

The Boy (on the Beach)

 

He stands,
face to the wind.
His eyes are filled with the clouds
scudding across an empty sky.
The ocean, a mist before him;
muted roar of rolling waves
transmit through the fog
soft thunder on his mind.

 

The boy
stands shoulder to shoulder with himself.
The boy
takes one look after
another look before
and takes one step forward
towards that empty shore
and the clouds go on drifting
across his empty face
as his mind goes drifting
deep in inner space.
The boy.

He stands
whittling away in his mind;
chipping at memory, that endless stone
of desire and want
of past fears and pleasure;
the innocence of having been a small child.

Gone.
Cast away like a stone,
the stone that he is,
has become inside.
Hiding
the horrors
he has seen.
No tongue
no mouth
can give speech to them;
no ears which listen
and want to hear
of the horrors and the demons of his past.
He stands alone.
Cast upon this desert
just another stone.

 

Lost.
Inside he is
lost
to his mind and his own way of thinking;
his original mind.
Lost
gone
distant
in the sands of time
he found it once again and
lost it
his heart, his soul, his mind.

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Infiltrate, Assimilate – Move On: The Army Kid

Infiltrate, assimilate – that is what we were trained in.

But on the other hand, isn’t every kid ‘trained’ – instinctively driven by Nature – by the need to infiltrate and assimilate the world around him?

It makes sense to take a kid – subject him to all kinds of different environments – and see how well he fares – how he assimilates and integrates the world around him into a life of his own.

And what happens when you take this kid – as soon as they have ‘assimilated’ and grounded themselves in the world they are in – and yank him into a different world.  And then another one.  And another.  And another.  Ad infinitum.  On and on it goes.

What happens when you do this to a child who is six, seven, eight years old?  Nine, ten, and eleven?  When you keep jerking him to and fro – changing not only the outside aspects of his world, but the inner ones as well?

What happens when you yank him here and there – letting him assimilate one culture at a time – in a whirlwind blur?  When you go from abusing them in one moment – and then ‘abuse him nevermore’?

Never happens, never did: the abuse goes on: it just changes form, like the world around him.  It went from physical to mental and beyond.

What you end up with is an extremely adaptable child – one who can fit in anywhere – and yet due to what’s happened to him, fits nowhere – nowhere at all.

A lost child, but NOT a bewildered child – one who is just struggling to get along – cope with what he is feeling (without having those skills – that, too, is something he has taught himself: how to get along.  Not just with others, but himself as well – learning to ‘manage’ his disparate selves; how to ignore them – how to ‘get along’.

(shhhhh . . . don’t tell him how.  Let him figure it out on his own . . .)

You are not allowed to ask any questions.  Puzzles placed before you – entire foreign lands – and you are ‘dropped’ in to ‘assimilate’, infiltrate, move on . . .

And being from a military culture, what does this kid zoom in on?  Why military things of course!  Targets and assets and the like.  Noting them in his mind.  As well as the way the people speak; dress, do their hair.  Mannerisms and gestures – everything! we simply absorb it in . . .

making it ‘ours’ – or rather, a ‘new one’s’ – that is, a new personality in our mind.

That’s what I think we did.  Making a ‘new’ one all the time – each time we’d move (which is why I don’t remember the thing; ‘we’ were blanked out for moving, and we’d ‘awake’ into this new environment – and the the assimilation process would begin.  We would begin to change, inside as well as out (meaning in behavior, thought and things).  We would begin to become one with them (whoever ‘them’ are – or were in the past) – those ‘foreign beings’ – becoming one with them, in them – because of them – our mimicking skills gone wild – adjusting and controlling from within . . .

until we were ‘there’.

We would have one of ‘him’ – or ‘them’, if you prefer.  An ‘alien’ entity; another part of ourself to ‘carry on’; move on – thrive and survive in this ‘new society’ of ‘his’ . . . becoming ‘like them’, one with them in ‘mind, body, and soul.’

All the good Germans said “What a good German he’d make!” not only when I was just a child, but later on . . .

the black folks at work said the same thing . . . how I was ‘like them’, was ‘one of them’, which was why they could talk to me so freely.  (and yes, I can imitate them quite well . . .).  Not dispargingly so – but FEELING it, and BEING that sort of thing – not a white man anymore, but something different – a kind of ‘blend’ . . .

same goes for abused children.

Same goes for just about anything.

I can sympathize with the psychotic; I can get into their head; I can sympathize with . . . just about anything – which kinda tears apart my mind, heart, emotions sometimes.

Being DID is more than just a feeling . . .

It’s a way of thought.

(thinking I might assimilate this thing . . . this computer I’ve been working on . . . LOL’ing going on . . . nothing, no emotions, just pixels on the screen . . .  and I’m turning it off right now.)

Until later . . .

a troubled Jeff, et all, and Friends
(mostly Matthew’s in here; this one, as well as our small child, and I, the being called ‘Jeff’ am a little bit perturbed . . . this ‘job’ I’ve had in mind is a little bit more difficult than I’d thought, my friends inside . . .)

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13. Poem.

The wind streams, the moon howls darkness at the night.
The wind blows, the stars glow, and nothing is all right.
The terrors begun, there is no fun, there’s only dark and light
pushing in; pulling out, and I’m afraid to fight.

He comes to me, I to him; together we embrace
locking lips, eyes to nose, staring him in the face
I kiss him.
and I am young
I am thirteen
and yet just a child.
Possessed by knowledge beyond my means
in the darkness bodies pant and go wild.

He goes in, I go out; I am just thirteen
he says this, I say that, but I don’t know what it means.
“I love you,” he says to my face, but now he is behind me
how can that be
behind me.
what is he doing there?

The dick slides in; the dick slides out; I am in so much pain
and yet if he asks
I will do it again.
I am just thirteen
and I don’t know what it means
these words he calls ‘love’
and the things he does.

There’s blood on my lips; blood in my mouth, and it is my own,
my lips had to cover; protect him from the bone.
It was for him I bled; bled down all inside
Feeling him entering me
as a little child.

I don’t know what to do . . . nowhere left to run
the night has come
and I don’t know what to do
but loving you
loving you for what you’ve done
paying attention to me . . .

Acceptance, love and sex – are they not all one and the same?
And if I am the one who wanted it – am I not to blame?
He put it in me, this wall of shame
which I now must climb.
He is gone but I remain
Thirteen, trapped in time.

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