This would be me my latest poem.
On sexual abuse.
RedemptionI was once my mother’s prayer
God’s whisper of comfort to a troubled soul
But now my own existence is a curse
With my body turned against me
A body turned against itself
There lies within me an enemy
A heart pierced with shame and regrets
Because you could
Because you knew no one would believe a child’s tale
No one told me I could
No one told me I mattered
This body that everyone sees as a site of shame
A dumpster of disgust, of guilt
And I wonder at times
If your body reeks of remorse
Like mine does of choices I’ve made
Trying to redeem myself, this body
To reclaim my dignity, my self
Trying to shed the skin you’ve touched and felt and seen
Trying to mend a body broken into pieces of hurt, of loss
I am done escaping from myself
Fighting with God, resisting God
Because I have reached God
I now gather my body
And wrap it around me, as if enfolded in God’s embrace
I will take it with me
And take the world with me to a far, far away place where
The memory of you exists only in the unshed tears you never deserved
Where it rains rains of mercy that cleanse my body
Where the letters of the Qur’an testify against you
Where you don’t matter, where your body is the flesh the vultures feast on
Where God cares and sees it all
Where God breaks your being, your every bone and your flesh,
And makes you the fuel of the hellfire destined for you
– Sept. 2015
I like this poem. A lot. Now, I’m not that good at playing the role of the literary critic but I find your poem really intense and ‘powerful’, a poem where emotions and pain and hope take shape and come into physical existence image after image, and find their meaning (their poetical justice?) line after line. I like it because of its highly sophisticated rhetorical structure and, also, because of the complex interplay between the ‘body’ (the silent –silenced?- protagonist of the poem, that poor body “broken into pieces of hurt”) and the other characters’s viewpoints on it (the story’s narrator, ‘everyone’, ‘you’). But I like it, above all, because it hurt me and made my heart ache, which means (I’m borrowing Raymond Carver’s words) that there are no tricks in your poem, and you are not faking it… and that’s why your lines can send a chill along the reader’s spine.
(But since I’m not a flatterer –and your singular, remarkable talents don’t need to be flattered- I have to say that I’m a bit puzzled by what seems to be a problem of incoherence/contradiction in the time of action between the lines 3-4 and the lines 21-24: “ NOW my existence is a curse etc.” vs “I’m done escaping… I NOW gather my body”… but perhaps it’s just my English that plays tricks on me)
Beautiful analysis, Gian! Thank you! ❤ Your comment made me so happy!
I have always enjoyed poems where the narrator goes through some sort of transformation in the process of narrating. Starting, for instance, with one tone and ending with another. Or evoking feelings of loss in the beginning and ending with something positive, or feelings of gain. That's what I'd think if I saw such a drastic difference or contradiction in a poem.
For me, this poem is literally a self-redemption effort. "You did this to me, you hurt me, you broke me, you … wait a minute! Why am I still letting you have that much power over me?! I’m done! I’m now I'm back on my feet, and I am done hurting because to hurt is to give you what you want" sort of feeling, if that makes any sense 🙂
Your English sounds perfect to me (but it doesn't have to be ❤ ) and your critique is valuable! Thank you again!