Cruel and Unusual

I wrote a new piece tonight that evolved from a conversation to a meditation to a freewrite to a bullet list and finally into what it looks like for now as I present it to you.

I’ve had a lot on my mind and my heart has been unsettled lately. Recent uprooting of old buried things concerning family skeletons have created a tension in my slice of the Universe and as a result, my usual management of my mental illness has been impaired. In short, I’ve been a cracking egg for a while.

And I hate eggs. The more I think about eggs, the more I hate them. I hate the way they taste, the thick, slurpy fatty texture of gooey sludge sliding down my throat like all the times my father laughs about our childhood like there was anything we were ever allowed to laugh about.

Normally, I would be more held back and I wouldn’t share so outwardly the fact that I have some pretty deep-rooted issues regarding my father. I know there are people who could “blow my cover” so to speak, but I think that after this long, and after this much therapy, I am allowed to finally say it out loud.

He will still believe he is right, and I am wrong. Because he is big, and I am small; he is smart, I am dumb; he is God, I am Unworthy. Lucky. Ungrateful. In the way. I won’t keep going, I could be here all night.

The poem.

Cruel and Unusual

A poem for my father

I want to know why you text me.

Because you do it out of the blue,

And I feel in that moment almost normal,

Like we could be sipping coffee a world away

In the dining room. With that clock, you remember?

Where do you get the nerve?

I want to know how you sleep at night

while I still have nightmares set in that barn.

I want to know how you’ve turned down

The volume of that scream,

The impact of anger against innocence.

I want to know how you get to walk away

like it never happened, how you get to


eight years of my life into a bucket labeled History

like so much garbage.

How you get to burn the evidence.

I want to know how you smile at my daughters

like you never cursed their mother’s existence.

I want to know how you played us like pawns

in your hateful game of Custody.

What did you hope to build

from our demolition?

I want to know how you hid everything,

how you brainwashed them all.

How you smiled and shut the door

And opened a floodgate

Of accusation and education:

Reality redefined into ridiculous.

I want to know how you changed all the rules.

I want to know why you never answered,

will never answer,

for your actions.

I want to know why I held out my hand for as long as I did,

why you never looked down to take it.

Why you kept me;

why you let me go.

I want to know why you wake up,

each day a new day

while I find another yesterday

for every tomorrow I am given.

I want to know where you bought

your immunity,

to whom you sold your soul.

I want to know how you still manage

to guilt me into a Father’s Day card each year,

how you make me miss a man you never were.

I want to know how

you think you still deserve

a daughter,

why I still think

I deserve you

at all.


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