The Ghost of Denial

I took a poetry course last fall and one of our first prompts was to write a poem with a title structured: “The [Concrete Noun] of [Abstract Noun]”. I came up with “The Ghost of Denial”.

The Ghost of Denial

Everything’s fine.

No, well
yes,
but really – Everything’s fine.

Yeah, I cry
sometimes
at night
most nights
every night
when no one can hear me
but
it’s how I always got to sleep
so I’m used to it by now.
It’s like
my lullaby.
It’s okay.

And yeah, he’s drinking but
it’s just one
bottle
and he’s young, you know
he can handle it.
He’s got a good tolerance.
He’s okay.

And yeah, we fight
but everyone fights
right?
It’s healthy
to fight
and I just get him so
angry sometimes.
It happens, you know
And I am pretty stupid
like he says, you know,
He’s not wrong.
It’s okay.

No, he never hit me.
No,
of course not,
well, that one time
but I really got him angry that time.
I shouldn’t have broken that glass, you know,
it was expensive
and I just get him so
angry sometimes.
It’s okay.
It happens, you know.
It’s okay.

Yeah, I’m bleeding but
you know,
my body,
my soul
just does that sometimes.

And yeah, I’m here
but
not really.

EJZ 09.24.2015

When are we going to do something about this?

When are we going to do something about this?

We are supposed to be a nation founded on equality.

We are equally to blame for the death of these souls.

We are breeding a nation of killers –
maybe not as obvious as the ones holding the guns
but we’ve all signed a pending suicide note in each other’s blood.

We are a country of enablers.

We are a country that sends our children to die for peace in other nations
when we can’t even wash our blood-stained carpets.

We are a country that claims to be color-blind
when we’re really just shutting our eyes
and bathing in monochrome lust.

We are a country that has swept our bigotry under a poorly stitched rug.

You don’t solve a problem with a piece of paper.
You don’t solve an imbalanced equation by slashing the equal sign.
You don’t spray a mountain of trash with perfume and call it clean.
You don’t solve a problem by veiling it in niceties
standing on a foundation without integrity
and shrug at its collapse.

You solve problems by empowering people to take responsibility for their own lives.

This jobless, soulless, listless adult child was enabled to live a life unaccountable
by parents irresponsible
who shut blind eyes to a son
locked in his room
taking painkillers
to numb shame,
the scar,
the birthmark
he inherited from unguided parents,
the ones who gifted him a gun,
the same which took nine lives
and left survivors because he wanted his numbed pain known,
a cry for help unheard
by mommy and daddy through shut bedroom door.

This was a crisis waiting to happen.

It won’t be treated that way.

I doubt it will be treated at all.

Until we learn to honor our feelings,
own what is ours,
we’ll be chained together by a common bond,
hidden under the fabric of our fears.

Our government has represented us wholly –
do not blame them.

Blame the disease afflicting the families of our nation –
the one that locks shame in a cabinet –
hides alcoholics in fancy homes –
rapists and batterers behind  “everything’s fine”
and cries itself to sleep at night
until it chokes on its tears
and hides those too.

Pick your poison –
It’s a free country –
The United States of Denial.

Time to burn the rug.

EJZ 06.19.2015