Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What the [Bleep] Have I Done?

A friend moved up to our rural neck of the woods a couple of years ago so she could take the psych-tech training course at a local state facility. She moved up from the city at five years of sobriety, intending to start life over.
But moving disrupts life, and starting over takes time. She battled loneliness and second thoughts for a year and a half, but she completed the training, and school turned into a job she has a feeling for.
It takes a while to build a new network of friends and a support system. She trudged that road, some days wishing she could run off, screaming. But she never gave up.
I wrote this poem in her honor on her birthday:

What the [Bleep] Have I Done?

She stands in a 10 x 10 cell
and stares at the cheap walls
the narrow bed the tiny window
through which wild turkeys plod
more dirt than days out there
in this godforsaken place

She the mistress of pearls
Ferrari, backstage rock stars
She with the Fendi
alligator shoes cashmere coat
mink slung around her neck

with nothing now but turkeys
coyotes, dirt, no room
for all those clothes
the crystal left behind
in the city of angels

Exchanged for this cell
this prison training school
this hell of a new life

Time passes. Tears fall
get sucked up wiped off
The cell slowly undergoes
a transfiguration
becomes the cocoon
where she rests from the labor
of being born again

Time passes. Tears fall
get sucked up wiped off
wings emerge
she rests from her labor
wings emerge
open, close, open, close

And off she lifts
without her pearls
no cashmere coat
but glowing wings
whiter than pearls
winging her way
to freedom

Photo credit:


Karen said...

Beautiful, Chris. How fortunate your friends that you write POETRY for them! There could be no better gift, other than your friendship, that is.

Alan Burnett said...

There is almost a compulsive rhythm about this fine piece.

Madison said...

This is a good one for the refrigerator. Love it. There is so much truth in the pain felt in transit. From hell to a better life. It takes years sometimes for the heart to catch up to the fact that the old value system is being replaced. It's a new season. I'm glad she hung in there. Time for her to start a blog.

Shadow said...

'winging her way to freedom' YES!!!!

the walking man said...

It is endemic to freedom to fly weighted with a past.

Poetikat said...

What a wonderful credit to a friend who must mean much to you.
It often strikes me how so many forget that celebrities and those in their milieu are only people, after all. Only. People.


Scott said...

that's beautiful!

Tall Kay said...

This one touched me deeply. I can relate to the hell of a new life. The hope is in time heals all wounds. What a gift to watch this transformation in your friend.

Dianne said...

Very good. Like portraits, I wonder how many of our friends understand the layers of our poems or think something completely different about it? Well keep writing them, regardless.

Brian Miller said...

this one left me with a smile of my own memories...about a year ago i moved back...after a year away...amazing how much changes, old friends have moved on, new stories created, with you left in the fringe...its tough moving, starting over...but it is possible to fly once again...

Prayer Girl said...

I absolutely adore this. It is beautiful. I love the flow of thought, the choice of words and rhythm. I love everything about it.

You're right, we are on similar pages with "winging to freedom".

Love this post and love you,

Syd said...

What a great tribute for your friend. May she continue to soar.

Steve E said...

Though it may not seem so, the new hell beats the hell out of the old hell.

And we continue to grow and Flutter By.

Lou said...

Reminds me of the AA saying "no mattter where I go, I take myself."

Love ya, Chris, thanks for your insightful comment today.

Gabriella Moonlight said...

What a phenomenal, i have so been in your friends shoes...thank you as always for sharing yourself and your poems with us, I am forever transformed and grateful.


Beth Niquette said...

Gorgeous photo, wonderful poetry.

big Jenn said...

Cashmere and mink are never what we'd thought they'd be are they?
we are always left with ourselves over and over again.
Your friend and I both are lucky to know you.jeNN

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...


Just Be Real said...

This is so great and that amazing picture is awesome! Very nice tribute to someone special in your life. Thank you for sharing it with us. Blessings....

Hope said...

This was lovely to read.

Julie said...

What a beautiful poem. It is a wonderful tribute to your friend. I love the clean rhythm of the lines and the portrait you paint of her. Though she is a physically lovely woman with pearls and mink slung around her neck, that is not when she is most beautiful. She is most beautiful in those last two stanzas. What a powerful ending! It's an excellent contrast to the first stanza and her 10 X 10 cell. How lucky she is to have you for a friend. I have a friend who struggles with addiction (she's been clean for over two years now), and I can't wait to show her this poem. I know she will love it, too.