Category Archives: Poem

feisty for $25

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feisty for $25

twenty five dollars changes hands over my head
dirty blue and white striped mattress
iron headboard
hot, heavy air
sweaty, dirty man
hands bound to the headboard
my body twists away
my feet kick fast, furious
i fight
with all that i am, i fight
with a chuckle he says
“just what i ordered. i like me some feisty”
my 5 year old brain scrambles in horror
my fight is desirable, enticing
how can i not fight?
fight or no fight, he wins
he unties me
tells me to run for the road
i fall, twist my ankle on the broken, dry dirt
grandpa is there
he chuckles at my tears, my fear
he carries me to the car

angela clark
04/2015
http://www.iamangela.org

I share this poem today to celebrate my truth, my freedom, and my healing. And to acknowledge that it is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. My birthday is today. I am in the mountains singing and dancing with my whole being. Finding joy on a regular basis for the first time in my life.

I believe there are others from northern, rural Iowa from the early 70’s that had this experience. It is time we do all we can to stop these crimes. Even though it was 42 years ago, I want to do what I can to stop children from being sold for sex in every part of the world. Let’s start in our families and our neighborhoods. It starts by talking about it. Openly and honestly.

Help me celebrate healing and consider giving $25 to http://givebackyoga.org/donate-today  I volunteer with this organization and tremendous healing can happen through yoga.

Thank you for hearing my story and honoring my voice.

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Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

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Day 6: The Yoga of Self-Care

Why am I writing about self-care? All I had learned and understood was how to live in survival mode which is chaos and mayhem. Very exhausting. Self-care was a vague and foreign concept – something I am still cultivating an understanding within myself. I believe listening to my body is the foundation for learning how best to take care of myself. It has taken me years to develop healthier habits. And I am still very much a work in progress. Consistency is my challenge. I find myself in a state of resistance or flat out self-sabotage regularly.

There are so many reasons why we, as a culture, resist premium self-care habits in the midst of our platinum and luxurious lives. In my opinion, the lives we are working so hard to maintain, are layers of distraction for avoiding ourselves. I am ready for something different.

I choose to give myself permission to take extraordinary and exquisite care of myself. I give you permission to do it too.

Why all this emphasis on yoga? It spoke to me. Attending weekly Trauma Sensitive Yoga classes taught me what consistency meant for my body. Anytime I see a mat, I feel my body hum. It longs to spend more time on the mat in various states of rest and stretching.

TRAUMA YOGA

Contrary. Oxymoron.
Like me.
Two halves that should not fit.
But must reside in the same body.
The wounded half. The healed half.
I wonder, “How is this yoga different?
My curiosity invites me.
My trauma qualifies me.
My trauma body shows up.
Longing to find my yoga body.

No Eastern ambiance.
Just a conference room.
Filled with a sense of safety.
Created just for me.
And the millions of eligible souls.
Small classes, by design.
No challenge for perfecting the pose.
No call for deepening the experience.
My eyelids shutter closed.

It is just me and the teacher’s calm voice.
My body responds with a small rocking motion.
My self-soothing visits each pose.
Resources on Suicide Prevention keep me company during tree pose.
I smirk at the irony.
Memories of my 15-year vigil with Suicide.
And now I am doing yoga with Suicide.

Several weeks go by uneventfully.
Then my whole being hears the word “choice.”
My body shudders in response.
My mind keeps repeating:
Choice, choices, choice, choices, choice, choices
This is my awakening
I can move a little
Or a lot
Or not at all
The past is not here

Today means
No violent authority
No need to resist
No one holding me down
No one demanding, expecting
It is just me

I immerse myself in the experience of safety and choice
Body memories spasm and sputter, ready to escape
Captive no more
A spinal twist wrings out ancient tears

Yoga connects me to my body
Helps me feel whole
Shows me the path of gentleness
I begin to see a wider landscape of the future
To feel more freedom than pain
To resemble healing more than trauma

Only a teacher than understands
Trauma is ready to witness the depth of my pain
Only a teacher that understands
Yoga will appreciate the stretch of my courage
Today
I practice
The Yoga of Courage
I practice
The Yoga of Choice
I practice
Freedom Yoga

Photo, of the author in tree pose, is by http://www.brittripleyphotography.com/

Previously published on http://givebackyoga.org/trauma-sensitive-yoga-for-rape-survivors-reflections-from-a-poet

This is part 6 of a 7 part series on self-care.

I Remember

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I Remember

I remember, damn you, I remember

You stripped away my innocence

My joy

My freedom

My power

My 3 year old light was extinguished

You marked me with the scent of easy – easy prey.

Others were delighted to find the sign: Dine often, silence guaranteed.

How do I bathe enough to rid myself of that odor?

Unconsciously I have been striving to be better than easy

Perfection = Less Detection

My small, fragile body was used to bring empty relief to your pain, your anger, your rage.

You kept searching for liberation, release

I was not that savior for you

How many did you damage in your search? How many?

You did not know how to stop and I don’t know how you could have ever started.

You had a choice, many choices, and you chose to perpetuate your pain.

I loved you, trusted you – as your title mandated.

Grandpa, I remember now – I remember that you raped me over and over and over.

Maybe death is your savior, your release. Or maybe it is your Hell.

Firefighter

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Firefighter

Rape creates fire
Deep within
Bubbles like lava
Searches for air

Escape

Eruption

My friend
At the tender age of 5
Used a match
On her parent’s bed
Fighting for innocence
Burning for justice
Fight fire with fire

Pull ALL the alarms
Let the fire trucks scream with you
Save your Self
We need (s)heroes like you

Oh Christmas Tree

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Oh Christmas Tree

My friend
Visited her family one
Christmas Eve
Along came Casey

Yippee, a car trip!
New house
Intriguing smells
Lots of new friends

Innocent excitement
Wooden table leg
Resembles a tree
Lifting his leg comes naturally

Family reacts
Hot tempers
Loud voices
Sharp words

Casey confused
My friend defeated
Christmas joy extinguished
Pissy holiday

What if
Christmas joy triumphed?
Ha, ha, ha
Ho, ho, ho

Look what present Casey gave us!
True gifts
Love, laughter
Innocence honored

Feelings spared
People whole
Casey loved
Christmas joy celebrated

Funny family story, 20 years old
Remember when?
Ha, ha, ha!
Ho, ho, ho!

Water and Air

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Water and Air

My friend looks thirsty
I offer
water
No thanks wooshes out with a breath of
air

She dislikes
water
she drinks
air
carbonated and sweetened

When she was 3 and 4 her grandfather
held her head under
water
her eyes wide open begging for
air

Shitty game pappy
rape me, drown me
terror to silence
too much water
not enough air

Grown up now
learning to drink
water
learning to breathe
air

Remembering and healing
the elements of Earth
vital to life
water
air