Updated: Dec 1, 2022
About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing intimate partner violence in their lifetime, said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This month we share poetic accounts from the pens of poets who have survived.
Colors of the Night
I found myself fracturing beneath his fists,
Beauty beaten in hues of blue, purple and black,
Like clouded midnight skies, full of rain.
My eyes becoming pools of stars, Glistening with secrets of pain,
Shining dully into the darkness of our nights.
Saturated with his snide, stingy, cruel colors,
I soaked in his venom,
Becoming canvas for the art of abuse.
And wasn’t it beautiful?
These tears in skin hindered no smile,
Bruises like paint, enhancing face,
Pupils shining like diamonds,
Rough and worn, but precious.
Aching bones breaking to rebuild themselves,
Tongue red with biting back curses,
Rosy lips curved and sealed against apologies,
Flesh as hard and gray as stone,
Sharpened against wicked whims and foul words,
Aren’t I beautiful –
In all my rainbow tones?
D. R. Parker
He only punched me in my face once.
I wasn’t expecting it.
My glasses flew off, and the cookie I was eating crumbled into the bathtub.
I packed up all my clothes and anything I could sell, and put them in the back of my little red Nissan. It takes gas to get from Texas back to North Carolina.
He went to the car to get his work stuff. When he came back, I walked out with my head held high. I slammed the door behind me, closing that chapter of my life.
The work stuff he went to get from the car was the stuff that made the car work.
See, he was a mechanic, and even though I lifted the hood and shined a flashlight, I was clueless…To say I was defeated, devalued, deflated was and understatement.
I was trapped.
So, I stayed.
Even though he never hit me again, he never had to.
He just reminded me of my defeat and devalued me daily. Anytime my ego began to grow
He was there to didactically deflate it with a verbal velocity that made dynamite jealous.
Days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months and months turned into 18 years. And I turned into someone I didn’t recognize. A defeated, devalued, deflated shell of my former self. My girls learned that this is what it means to be a wife, and my son learned this is what it means to be a man, and I learned that somebody had to stop this train before it hit the wall and killed us all!
So, I jumped off.
Bruised and battered but nobody could see.
Emotionally disfigured. Psychologically drained.
I struggled to regain my footing. The terrain was treacherous, so I kept falling.
But I kept getting back up.
One day I found my balance, and found my center. And at the center I found
the love that called me into existence, and called me chosen and called me beloved
and loved me so much that He stretched out His arms and died for me
Then HE rose for me.
I realized I wasn’t trapped. I was set free.
Free to tell you that He loves you too.
Now, Go Glow
By: Brittani A. Smith AKA: Journey B. Bones
Ezekiel 37: 4-7
I blocked his number.
I deleted him off social media.
And then, I cried.
I cried every night, and even some mornings.
People kept asking “why don’t you just forget about him”?
Not realizing that the process of grief has to exist, no matter how bad the relationship was.
I washed my face.
You see, being in love has a way of clenching its fist around your heart, especially the toxic kind.
That one in particular, clenched its fist around my neck.
I woke up one morning, and My skin had cleared up.
Then I realized the salt in my tears, killed the bacteria that was causing my acne.
People started saying “You’re glowing”.
As I applied my pore cleansing toner, I smiled for the first time in years.
They didn’t realize that they were watching pain transform me.
God carrying me.
History marveling me.
Prophecy covering me.
God has an undefeated record of making art, out of the soap scum left behind.
This poem I accidentally wrote in the mirror, is proof of just that.
From the collection Confession Time by Dierdre’ R. Parker
It’s been 11 years.
I didn’t die.
There were many days I thought I would.
Just as many that I really wanted to.
Some so thick with darkness you could cut it like a pie.
But every day I didn’t die I got stronger.
The darkness got lighter.
The jagged edges of my soul were sanded down by adversity.
The trials that could demolish some only served to polish me.
And He continues to buff out the scratches of my heart firmly, but gently.
When I finally begin to shine, I will shine for HIM.
So that those who know me, but don’t know HIM
will want to know HIM, because they ran into me.