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Breaking the Cycle
by stylus Monday, Feb 13 2012, 9:08am
international / prose/poetry / literature


you took me in your arms
when first i cried out
in desperate pain;
inflicted by sick parents,
who are not supposed to be
one’s torturers --
the abuse only ceased
when i escaped them.

you assured me then, in my cot
at three, ‘let it go!’
taught me not to dwell
on anyone inflicting pain
and never to take it to heart,
a lesson that served me all my life.

my ‘mother’ (rarely home in my infancy)
would appear at times all smiles and loving attention
and then make much ado about leaving,
dragging my instinctive infant’s attention
and need for a mother’s love and kindness
to the door, ensuring i was aware of her abrupt departure,
leaving a neglected infant s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g
in despair –
she did this more times than i care to remember
as if deriving a perverse pleasure from her
ability to finally domineer and manipulate a vulnerable human being –
an unfair and sick advantage i was forced
to overcome early in my life.

one time i impassively looked
at her leaving without making a sound
no expression of disappointment or plea --
that was the first time i recall changing
another person’s facial expression/demeanour

did she learn anything from her horrid behaviour toward
a defenceless, dependent infant?
apparently she did, she found other ways to taunt and torment me
and me, not yet out of my cot!

without your support and constant protection
i would have succumbed as my useless,
drunken father – who never laid a hand on me in approval,
or anger, did;
he blew his brains all over the lounge room floor
in Bondi after we emigrated to Australia.

he had survived the constant U-boat
attacks in supply convoys crossing the Atlantic in ‘42
but couldn’t survive this sick, man-hating creature;
she tormented him relentlessly attacking all his vulnerabilities
and making known she was screwing other guys
until she succeeded in breaking him, pushing
him over the edge to self-destructive finality.

i learned early how really sick she was
though her method was all psychological
and emotional but devastating nonetheless.

i was ten at the time and cried for a father i never had,
today i loath his weakness.

with my father’s demise her pathology and man-hatred
was directed entirely at me;
a relentless refrain ensued, “you’re hopeless, just like your father
a useless, good-for-nothing so and so,” etc, etc, etc.,
right through my teens
attacked at every turn,
she never served a dinner (the only meal she prepared)
without first starting an argument!

i shan’t dwell on her, there is more and worse, as you could imagine
this piece is really about the one that sustained me through it all
and has never abandoned me since that time i cried for help in my infancy.

i am pleasantly ambushed daily by that glorious, familiar presence,
i learnt in early adulthood the identity of my protector
who refuses to abandon me even now.

just yesterday walking the perimeter of the park i
happened to glance skyward, an awesome spectacle,
a breaking storm of grey and white luminescent clouds
back-lit and pierced by golden shafts of sunlight reaching the earth
the mixed beauty of it made my soul leap for joy
victory to the sun and breaking blue sky
i nearly keeled in ecstasy

i am playfully ambushed by you daily
during the silent times, just me, existence and you

after all the abuse in my life i harbour no ill-will for any individual
i understand the cause of the perversity
and relentlessly pursue the evil that threatens entire nations today.

until we succeed in restoring peace, harmony and justice
to the world, we must constantly persevere.

the plague and the forces behind it
have no chance against us,
we have defied the odds on so many occasions
it has become routine.

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