Broken- Wendi Clouse

 

Before I was,
My grandfather, creased and brown, was in an accident.
A big rig full of pipe ran over a stock trailer.
Even after 40 years, he couldn’t forget, so I was told,
the smell of burnt flesh and pain.
I watched exotic looking packs of unfiltered camels rotate in his hands
and witnessed bottles of Wild Turkey appear
from a beat-up, two-tone, Dodge pickup
every time someone lit a grill.
Those days I held my breath and waited quietly
for the sharp words to begin.
Wild Turkey was the signal he was headed back to war
where ghosts and screams swirled in burning wreckage.
I endured years of boots and hats,
George Jones eight-tracks, county fairs, depression, and finally cancer
scrutinizing every move, but I never once saw him look directly
at a horse,
he only offered broken glances,
shrouded by clouds of smoke.


Wendi Clouse, PhD. has spent the last decade as a research analyst within the arena of higher education. After numerous academic publications in refereed journals, which include New Approaches in Educational Research and Management in Education, she has recently, returned to her roots to work on a body of poetry, which explores the complex and often hidden life, of aging women.  You can read more of her writing at The Eggcorn

Uncomfortably Numb-by Christine Ray

stop
[Another powerful poem by our powerhouse of a poet,Christine Ray!]

Once upon a time
i was an innocent
girl-child
full of trust
day dreams
fairy wishes
like many
girl children
barbarian
invaders
tried to claim
my territory
as their own
i was young
helpless
powerless
but absorbed
the lesson
shame
 
i learned to live
outside
of the country
named body
retreated
to the
the land
called
dissociation
to protect
the integrity
the fragility
of self
grew thicker
skin
became
a chameleon
felt rage
simmer
in my belly
 
told over
and
over
again
that I existed
for other’s
entertainment
pleasure
called
bitch
dyke
ballbuster
tease
when
i insisted
that i would
set the terms
for
who
when
where
my body
would be shared
 
many years
later
i meet the foe
called
neuropathy
that drags
me
out of
dissociation
and solidly back
into body
whether
i want to
be there
or not
neuropathy
is excruciating
numbness
burning
radiating pain
i laugh
at the irony