Outcast

Walking downcast into school each day,

No friendly faces meet you there.

Shy and forlorn and can’t connect

Even the teachers don’t have your back.

(An open heart is being rejected).

An outstretched hand not met by one,

Circles of backs not letting you in.

Up-turned noses looking down at you,

The isolation is overwhelming

(the awkwardness too.)

Scowling glances meet your gaze,

Ridicule and mockery and snickers of hate,

Greet you daily…

(it’s too much to take).

Home life is stressful; there’s not much money.

Dad’s an alcoholic and Mom’s emotionally vacated.

No one is there to ease the pain.

No one sees the relentless agony.

And the weighted burden

Becomes oppressive and crushing

Day after day after day…

Dejected, despondent, hopeless and desperate,

Abandoned, forsaken, deserted and desolate.

Photo:  Google Images

Over at dVerse Poets, Karin Gustafson (ManicDdaily) invites us to write on the subject of exile (or Molly):  http://dversepoets.com/2012/06/16/re-joycing-in-poetics-and-exile/

This is a former posting that I have made some changes to for today’s offering.

Protected

Hitch-hiker's gesture

Image via Wikipedia

 There have been a few times in my life that I feel as if I have narrowly escaped something really bad happening if things had gone in another direction.  I’m not sure why I was spared, but in hindsight; I am deeply grateful for having been.  Here are three instances:

 

            As I recall, a couple of my sisters, a girlfriend (she drove) and I, all went out of town to Tampa one night to attend a rock concert.  Tampa is about an hour and a half drive from Orlando where we all lived.  All of us were in our late teens.  I can’t even remember who was performing that night–the drama afterwards erased it from my memory!  After the concert, we left the auditorium, started on our way home and soon found ourselves stranded, out of gas!  Young, silly girls!  Eventually, a couple of guys pulled over and offered us their assistance.  A ride to a gas station was offered and the use of their empty gas can.  We gratefully agreed and all piled into their large, creaky station wagon and rode with them to get gas.  The can was filled and placed in the far back of their “wagon” and we headed back to our car.  It soon became evident that the gas can, which had been filled to the brim and had no cover on it, had started sloshing out a bit–fumes filled the car.  We were choking and freaking out!  Horrified, we then noticed that the driver was smoking!  We become terrified that the car was going to go up in a ball of fire created by the fumes and the lit cigarette.  We started yelling (begging) for the guy to throw his cigarette out and to slow down.  He laughed and ignored our pleas.  We miraculously arrived intact back to our car and after fueling it, our “rescuers” pointed us in the wrong direction while trailing after us.  We quickly realized we were going the wrong way, our friend turned her car around, and finally we found I-4 and eventually, home.

 

            By God’s grace we were saved from being the victims of having been blown to bits or who knows what else!

 

            On another occasion, after having moved down to Miami, (barely 20 years old) I hitchhiked home from work one day.  My ride had not shown up and I had no way to get in touch with him.  I was new at the job and didn’t have it in me to impose on anyone.  So out on the street, having waited over a half hour or so, I decided to “thumb” my way home.  I had never hitchhiked before (except that crazy Tampa fiasco).  It was a hot, summer day with daylight lasting well into the early evening.  I think that gave me some courage too–that it was still broad daylight.  So I stood by the curb and stuck out my thumb–I don’t remember standing there very long before a small car pulled over with three or four guys in it.   They were very friendly and asked me where I was going–I said Kumquat Avenue, Coconut Grove–sure, they said, get in.  I got in.  I didn’t think a thing of it.  Nothing in me told me I couldn’t trust these guys.  And after a friendly chat with them all the way, they dropped me off, in complete safety, at my front door with a cheerful “take it easy”.

 

            Today, I don’t think someone could pay me to hitchhike!

 

            One dark evening, as I stepped from my car after pulling into the driveway, I was approached by a man walking very quickly towards me.  He was talking excitedly as he swiftly closed the gap between us.  He was telling me that he had run out of gas and that his wife was back in their car and asked if I could help them.  Something inside me made me put my hand up in a “stop” position.  I then told him to stop and that I was uncomfortable with him coming closer.  He stopped in his tracks and said he understood.  I told him I would go inside and tell my husband of his trouble and that we would get help for him.  I went inside and told my husband that someone was outside needing assistance.  We both immediately went to the front yard where I had left the man moments before and found that he had vanished.

 

            I don’t even want to think about what might have happened if I hadn’t had the intuition to “stop” him.

 

            There have been some other near misses through the years that still leave me in awe when I remember them.  Clearly, I have been protected from harm and I don’t for a minute take it lightly.  I always whisper a prayer of thanks.

 

 

Outcast

loneliness

Image by Ferran. via Flickr

Walking downcast into school each day,

No friendly faces meet you there.

Shy and forlorn and can’t connect

Even the teachers don’t have your back.

An open heart is being rejected.

An outstretched hand not met by one–

Circles of backs not letting you in.

Up-turned noses looking down at you,

The isolation is overwhelming

And the awkwardness too.

Scowling glances meet your gaze,

Ridicule and mockery and snickers of hate,

Greet you daily; it’s too much to take.

Home life is stressful, there’s not much money;

Dad’s an alcoholic and Mom’s emotionally vacated.

Who is there to share the pain?

No one notices the burden,

The agony carried–

Day after day and year after year.

 

Dejected, despondent, hopeless and desperate,

Abandoned, forsaken, deserted and desolate.

Nightmare

The cat without a name

Image via Wikipedia

I have a reoccurring nightmare where I am frantically trying to lock the kitchen door at the house where I grew up, while an unknown, sinister presence is fast approaching.  I fumble with the latch, opening and closing the door, and I am beside myself that I just can’t get it to lock!  My heart is pounding with fear as I realize the presence is drawing closer and closer through the outside darkness.  This dream has been haunting me for decades.  This is how it began:

It was the summer of my seventeenth year when it started–we were being “peeped”!  We were a household of four, cute sisters, as well as an attractive mother which, I’m sure, added to the appeal of being targeted.

One of my sisters had a couple of friends visiting one evening and they were all in the bedroom yakking and giggling when my sister spied a man’s face peering in at them through the open window.  Screams ensued, the man ran off and we tried to forget it.

But some weeks later, while I was reading in my parents’ bedroom one night (they were not home); I heard footsteps slowly approaching the window.  A brother and his friend were out in the living room, so I went to them and whispered urgently that someone was prowling around outside!  They stealthily crept out the front door and around the side of the house and surprised a guy that they then chased across the neighbor’s backyard and tackled to the ground.  He was dressed only in bra and panties!  After my brother threatened him with “stay away from our house or else”, he sent him packing and he never showed up again.

But it was the next incident that scared us the worst.  After falling asleep one night on our enclosed porch with one of our Siamese cats snuggled in next to me, I was awakened abruptly to find my cat leaning over my head, peering intently through the darkened window, growling quietly under his breath.  I froze with fear when I heard the now-too-familiar sound of foot falls, and then, with my heart pounding in my ears, heard the door knob being jiggled back and forth inches from my head!  Someone was trying to get in!  (Thank God the door was locked.  It was rare that our doors were ever locked in those days).  After a few suspenseful minutes where I couldn’t bring myself to move, the bathroom light suddenly came on.  I leapt out of bed and ran to the bathroom where my mother had gotten up to go–and breathlessly told her what had happened.  That same moment, one of my sisters came home and I anxiously recounted what had just occurred.  It was there, where we were gathered talking, that we noticed the outline of large, dirty shoe prints on the living room carpet!  We tracked them through the dining room and on into the kitchen to find the kitchen door wide open to the outside!  He had actually come into the house within feet of where I had just been laying!

This episode began a series of events that started with someone providing my brother with a shotgun for our protection!  Our father was mostly an absentee one so my brother took matters into his own hands.

One evening he decided to lie in wait in the dark shadows of the backyard and see if our intruder would show up.  His ammunition was rock salt so it really wouldn’t do much bodily harm if he did manage to hit him.  Well, lo and behold, after a short wait, here came our guy!  My brother took careful aim from his hiding place in the shrubs and fired–hitting the backdoor!  The guy took flight with my brother in hot pursuit.  They ran down the street and around the corner where my brother again took aim and this time hit his target square in the buttocks!  At this point, our intruder really became frantic and sought sanctuary with one of our close neighbors, screaming that there was a madman after him trying to kill him!  When my brother caught up to them and set the story straight, the neighbor and he detained the guy until the police arrived.  This man turned out to be a different prowler than the previous underwear clad “peeper”.  I don’t remember if he was ever identified as the one who had earlier entered our home.

We had no further incidents after that and no charges were filed against my brother.

But the nightmare remains for me.

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