Poetry by imprisoned abuse survivors

Publisher’s note: The following poems were submitted to us from young, female, abuse survivors at the Chowchilla women’s prison. The first 2 poems are by the same woman, and the last poem is by her roommate. Although we are permitted to publish these, the names of the poets are anonymous.

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SOMETIMES

Sometimes I think about where my life would be today if I had not been born in 1978.

Sometimes I wonder if I heard words of love, would I have learned to speak only words of love and never hate?

Sometimes I wonder, if my mother weren’t white and my father black, would they have stayed together?

Imagine that.

Sometimes my heart tells me I’m right where I’m at because in life, sometimes it feels so right, but those nights you cry alone, it’s the inner emotional fight that keeps you feeling empty and cold.

You just don’t know. Sometimes I wonder why I am even here, why couldn’t I have said I want more from my life, why couldn’t anyone hear my silent tears.

Sometimes I wonder who this person is who stands in front of a mirror looking just like me and others’ eyes can’t make the connection, that what that mirror reflects – hides the inner me.

Sometimes I listen to others full of anger and pain, thinking to myself, life is so beautiful, don’t waste it in a complaint, and yet, I, too, find myself sometimes wishing to be someone else if only for a quick minute. It’s this soul engulfed in this body that says no – and keeps me in it.

Sometimes I search in ancient philosophies to lay a foundation of which I’m destined to be. Sometimes I sit quietly alone listening to the wind sing me silent, soft songs…”Soon you’ll be home.”

And sometimes I lose tears for unselfish reasons, my heart aches with hurts from others who have suffered throughout the seasons. And sometimes I close my eyes and think really hard that if I believe hard enough, all the pain will disappear and the wind will remove all of my fears.

Sometimes this can be true.

Sometimes…

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June 6, 2010

PROFOUND FAITH

I just couldn’t understand why I was tossed around in my life. Why many touched me in ways that negligently left behind an invisible imprint of their perverted desire on my soul. Inwardly branded.

If only my shadow could speak – maybe I wouldn’t believe self-mutilation was the answer. Maybe if the teacher who made me an honor student would have looked at me and not just the work I turned in, maybe the unpredictable beatings would have ceased at my home. The bruises were loud enough. If only my shadow could speak … maybe the man staring at me might not have had the chance to molest me in his living room while he ignored my eleven-year-old, underdeveloped body, if he would have looked inside my eyes he would have seen God inside my soul and maybe, just maybe, left me alone.

If only my shadow could speak…I would not have been raped, by not one, not two, but three, and none would have gone free, because you see, my shadow would speak up, when my voice abandoned me.

If only my shadow could speak…it would have expressed the desperate love I sought and needed. Every time I heard I love you’s that were quickly followed by a kiss, a damaging word or two, a blow to my frail body, be it upon my skin or inside of me. If only, if only my shadow could speak…

Angry, frustrated, uncertain, and anguished, I came face to face with my shadow one day. Bitterly I asked, ‘why don’t you speak for me?’ Calmly and ever so gently, my shadow said, “I’m your life, to walk your journey with you, to give you hope and faith, to assure you wherever you go I am there, yet it’s unfair for me to speak for you. This is something you must do for yourself, believe in what’s inside of your heart. I’m there as well, we will not ever be apart – speak, sing, holler and scream, once it’s all out, you can begin to dream.”

As I opened my mouth and found my voice, a roaring dam broke from within. So much was said from inside of me, hours had passed before I was quiet and meek. My life had changed that very night, I spoke up and said when situations weren’t right.

No, this isn’t allowed in my life anymore, this isn’t what I deserve. I no longer will be tossed around, in fact I yelled, ‘I’m going to stand my ground! ‘You no longer will touch me anymore, and confidently I added, with an assertive voice, ‘In fact, you must knock before I decide to even answer my door.’

My soul is clean, pure and light, no longer inwardly branded by the wickedness of the night. Now I say, ‘Look at me, for inside my eyes, many see God. It’s the unconditional love I have for myself and others that has brought me this far.’

Today I speak of hope, sing about faith, share with others about love and chat about the consequences of hate. My purpose is to trust my voice and rise above the doubt. Speak. Seek. Believe. Everything changed once I allowed my shadow to speak to me out loud.

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January 18, 2010

PASS IT ON

Question: How can I do right when the world is doing wrong?

Answer: Within the darkness is light,
coping with life is getting through the storm.
Becoming a part of the chance is showing the victory,
looking in the reflection is accepting the goal.

Revealing the piece of the puzzle defines your characteristics,
Seasons rotating is the contract you created with the at-last,
Allowing wisdom to sink in kills the past.

Accepting the positive is the inner beauty of growth,
running with the flame of peace brightens the darkness with hope…

Pass it on

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