(alternative title: Recipe for disaster)

Build the pile
Center of the living room floor
Anything flammable
Turn the tables to top

Ignore your voices
That say to stop

Select the tool
The perfect torch
Gild it with gas
Perch it on the peak

Step back
Admire your work

Turn around
View the house
That you professed to love—
It was all you wanted

Ignore the chorus building
Stop. Don’t. Please…

Flick the lighter
Toss casually
Underhanded
Watch it catch

Combustion flashes
Conflagration bursts — the torch

Step back
See the tinder
So carefully compiled
Consume

Turn your back
Feel the heat as you leave

Streetside, sharp gasps of horror
As the windows explode
The roof collapses
You had it all

Clasp your head in your hands
Lament the loss no no no

There was no way to predict this ruin
It was only a small spark
There was no way to know
It wasn’t you, wasn’t you, couldn’t be you

The blame of the flames
Is that of the torch

I “wrote” this poem today in the shower, on the heels (and on the heals) of an abusive relationship that I ended a few days ago; because: poems happen. It was a virtual relationship but emotional abuse can happen online, in the age of Internet that isn’t so hard to understand. I’m the torch, btw, not the arsonist — after months of abuse, combustion. For some reason the poem wrote itself as kind of a recipe.

7 Comments

    1. In really crazy-making situations, the abuser will also turn it around and claim, “You’re abusing me!” and it makes you do a lot of self-doubt.

      Moment of total transparency and honesty: My PTSD can flare anger. I have to be pushed, and generally pushed and pushed and pushed, but once I hit a certain spot, and I’m not happy about it, the anger can be of the classic abusing kind, like, “GAH! You are just stupid!!!” And that makes the turn-it-around even harder, because yes, there’s a small amount of truth there. When I catch myself I stop and I apologize. PTSD is a bitch.

      But in my case the abusive stuff happened, caused by him, and I reacted. Sometimes I over-reacted. It was a bad, toxic cycle, but bottom-lining it: If the original, constant, chronic abuse was not going on, I would have nothing to react to, and wouldn’t have. He would often say, “I have no idea how it got to this point!!!” as I was a puddle of emotions, and that was just… nuts. The “why” of it was so obvious, often in text. It was as simple as pointing to, “You said/did this…” and it was hurtful. Sometimes he’d take responsibility, but even still he’d then back track on that and I’d still end up getting the blame. It was nuts. sigh…

      And yes, I AM processing it through the comments. oy :/

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    1. Yes. There is the now rampant rudeness, in things like comment sections of newspapers, or in Facebook or whatever, but also the quieter bit in the one-on-one. I will say it was complicated, and the abuse was complicated. If it had been the standard name-calling or whatever, it would have been easier to leave because I never would have gotten hooked in the first place.

      The poem literally popped out while I was in the shower. I remembered it well enough to put it down in writing. I know it isn’t great literature, but… it worked.

      It really was about the story of the person who causes all of the trouble taking no responsibility for it. Blaming the torch for being fire, ya know?

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    1. Thanks. It is gonna take a long while. I was “all in” on this one… Probably lots of posts to come to file under my heading of “mental not quite health.”

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