Tag Archives: trauma

a cup of warm tea; and the aftertaste of trauma

Sometimes I feel cold, even paralyzed
My interior world needs to sanitize
I’ve got to step through or I’ll dissipate…

~*~

the bitter of tea, the tang of lemon—and that subtle hint of summertime sweetness, melting into my tongue in one drowsy haze.

paint-stained hands clutch at the warm mug for dear life, and i take tentative sips and let the aromatic seasons dance around my mouth a bit, as if this very dark liquid itself was my final tether to this plane of existence.

perhaps, in some ways, it quite is.

the effect of sleepiness arrives to swoop me back in sluggishly, allowing me to momentarily lean back and stare blankly at the faces on the wall, all eager teeth and pastel craft paper, curling and fading all the way to wandering oblivion; but only a single smile really captured my absent mind’s attention. i wryly picture how it would look against later impressions of dirty blonde and crystalline azure, peeking rather shyly behind deep laugh lines and a few animated freckles peppered across pale skin, endearingly elusive.

sinking in; and sinking still. the effervescent mania that violently grabs me by the shoulders and dares to push its reckless fingers right in the middle of my tender ribcage, refusing to cease digging around until it finally hits something vital. lung, artery—the unfortunate heart itself, perhaps?

but—as i am melancholically assuaged—i am sure it will find only a hollow cavity where a beating organ used to rest. disappointed? not really. i’m painfully aware that already long ago have i been deemed one of the young naivetes who willingly sold it away, to someone who didn’t even know they were searching for damaged antiques. i practically gave it away for nothing.

and yet, where is it now?

is it gathering cracks and dents in someone’s mantlepiece, within a dusty old bungalow? is it buried lost under a child’s messy closet, along with broken toys and past innocence and all their other outgrown things? perhaps, has it already been traded away by its secondhand owner without a brief hesitant thought or a pause of chagrin, in exchange of a better, prettier, newer one?

ah, no matter…no matter. i no longer feel it anymore, anyhow.

cosmic snapshots. a feline grey and glimmering yellow eyes. lilting snatches of an unwritten song dedicated to the moon. murky rain dripping rhythmically from the plastered holes on the ceiling. a perfect pink photograph more potent than any flavour of tea or dosage of coffee, keeping me up well into the witching hours and then some. just another wordless poet. just another tired pen.

your bitter blue. my summertime sadness. the promise of morning, and nothing else.

~*~

And you know
You’re a terrible sight
But you’ll be just fine…

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a family dinner in two parts

I’ve felt so gray and out of place
Bent out of shape, but stuck in my ways
And I’ve been searching for the answer
Will I always be this way?

~*~

(i.)

i’m sorry that

i don’t act the way

i’m supposed to

that i couldn’t keep up

my play this time around

i’m sorry that i could

barely bring myself

to chew and swallow

because my stomach feels

like it’s choking on itself

i’m sorry for being

too weary and worn-out

not just because i lack sleep

but also because i’m tired

of trying to live again and again

i’d rather just end all this.

.

(ii.)

i’m sorry i can’t be

a part of your picture

perfect family, that

my smile never reaches

my jaded eyes, and it shows

in all the photographs

i’m sorry that my anxiety

is kicking in and badly

crippling my entire system

and i’m sorry you don’t

notice the unnerving mess that

i’ve been reduced to

and continue to yell at me

for being fucking ungrateful

i want to scream back

but it’s all i can do to stifle

my tears and clench my fists

to keep all the trauma in

i’d rather just end all this.

~*~

And it’s getting harder to pretend like I’m okay
When there’s a constant reminder being drilled into my brain
I still believe in happiness and I want to find a way
But lately, my whole world is being swallowed by the grey…

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The Madness of the Mortician

She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth
Things that cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything
Spine is just a string…

The mortician stood in solemn vigil, as motionless as the petite corpse that lay in front of him; a body wrapped in a translucent green body bag that caught the oil burner’s dim lamplight and shimmered iridescently like pulled-off dragonfly wings. The fetid air of coalescing formaldehyde and putrescence tasted bitterly stuffy, damp and stale. On the scratched wooden table, where his instruments were also prepared and patiently waiting, an ancient radio buzzed and crackled with static; the faint echoes of a lost song playing ever so distantly beyond the veil of the curtained morgue and worming its way into the back of his head. He paid it no heed at all, dismissing it as merely white noise as he wiped his hands clean the with a sterile cloth. Outside, nightfall was beginning to amalgamate into a midnight of pure blackness that not even the most resilient of shadows can dare to permeate. He sighed once and checked his watch. Time was running. He had work to do.

I wrapped our love in all this foil
Silver-tight like spider legs
I never wanted it to ever spoil
But flies will lay their eggs…

With cautious steps taken and wary calloused fingers twitching infinitesimally like burnt moth wings, he reached out for the diaphanous body bag and slowly unwrapped the plastic, peeling it painstakingly, yet with an impatient breath held, as if it were a birthday present. But he was fully aware that what would greet his beady eyes would come as no surprise to him at all, given his work and the police records scribbled on the clipboard that spoiled it for him. Still, he braced himself. The pungent smell of decay and sour reek of death began to grow stronger, wafting nauseatingly and hanging around the stale air cloyingly, sticking to surfaces like a demented fragrance. But he was used to it. After all, he had smelled worse things on worse days. Like when he gets those damn bloated carcasses pulled out of canals and lakes after god knows how many days of fermenting underwater, half-eaten by fish and sticky and vile and overall repugnant and a nasty affair. Heaven forbid if more criminals choose to dump their casualties in the river to get rid of them. The taste of the drinking water, that’s what he worried about.

A blowfly softly landed on his hand, jolting him out of his grotesque reverie. He waved it off and continued to unsheathe the cadaver, noisy plastic crinkling intertwining with the radio static, oil burner hissing quietly, the silence growing so thick and viscid that even the perspiration sliding down his forehead could be audibly heard.

Take you hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

He was prepared for every possibility that could ever occur when he fully exposed the corpse—not that there were many of them, mind you—and yet nothing could ever prepare himself for what was revealed underneath the flimsy layer of plastic. On the cold metal table laid the lifeless body of a small girl, no more than four or five years old, wearing a tattered pastel pink and white dress, soiled knee-high socks, and only one red shoe on her left foot. Her auburn pig-tailed hair was matted and caked with layers of mud and soil, barely distinguishable from her scalp, her pallid, almost porcelain skin looking so fragile that he felt like he would break a piece of it off if he so much as dared to touch it, her gossamer lips a blooming shade of bruised lavender, and her delicate glassy baby blue eyes were wide open and staring at him accusingly.

He blanched, stumbling back for a moment, and reached for his whiskey flask to have a drink. He took a swig, momentarily glanced at the corpse, and then proceeded to drank deeply, almost emptying the flask save for a drop or two to spare. He wiped his mouth with one unclean sleeve and checked the time again. His schedule was turning a little delayed. No more beating around the bush. He must carry on. He must.

Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly
Sealed up with virgin stitch
If it hurts, baby, please tell me
Preserve the innocence…

He steeled himself, took a brisk breath that felt like daggers running down his throat and into his lungs, and with an unsteady gloved hand, he picked up a scalpel from the table and forced himself to continue working. He placed a face mask on ceremoniously with an agitated flourish, and hesitantly faced the deceased child. Let us begin.

To start, he’ll make a Y-incision in her…no, he mustn’t think of her as a human entity now, only a non-living object—its torso, pardon—beginning from the stomach, all the way to its frail chest, and pry its squalid flesh open to reveal and dissect its internal organs. Her skin. Her flesh. Her internal organs. The dead little girl, squandered at such a young age. She was young. So young and hopeful and once innocent, yet now all that youthful innocence has long since been pillaged by the metal weapon of a twisted soulless psyche, devoured and ravaged by ruthless parasites and bacteria, and the scintillas of the remaining scraps of it salvaged and gulped down by possessed, remorseless, feather-molting vultures. He shuddered at the morbid thought and nearly dropped the scalpel. His mind wandered for a moment, then pleaded with him, strung tether attempting to pull him back into a detached rationality. Do not think of her, do not think of her, whatever you do, you must not think of her…

I never wanted it to end like this
But flies will lay their eggs…

But his resolution was futile, and his ulterior willpower was immediately extinguished as the gas lamp flickered and flared defiantly, hissing like agitated serpents, brightening the dank room momentarily, silhouettes dancing fiercely on the little girl’s blank face. He shook his head. It’s but a trick of the light, a mere illusion, a worn-out mind taking negative effect—he must be growing tired. He rubbed his bleary eyes and looked upon the girl’s visage again. Devoid of life, devoid of movement. Nothing. But for a moment, to his disbelief and utter shock, her deathly ice-blue eyes appeared to blink. Both eyes. Blink. Blink.

He started with a roar and crashed backwards, landing on the floor with a dull thud and cutting his hand on the scalpel blade. Letting go of the scalpel, he stared upwards into the motionless corpse in equal parts terror and curious confusion, his heart pounding like the beat of a sovereign marching drum, throbbing head dazed and heavy with blood, breaths shallow and ragged like the edge of her torn dress. He absently held his head with his bleeding hand, smudging his temples with the glistening scarlet liquid. His soul filled with a shuddering dread. No. This cannot be happening. His worst fears, have they been finally realised? Was he regressing into what everyone had warned him fervently against? Was he…was he beginning to grow mad?

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

God no. Please, no. Stop. Stop. Stop. The piteous chant in his head was depraved and overpowered by his other detonated senses, the other discordant voices in his head, uproarious and painful to hear, as the radio static gnashed and screeched cruelly, amalgamating into a demonic caterwauling. He dropped to his knees and held both hands against his ears, trying to block out the overwhelming noise but failing to do so, for, he realised, the source was not external. Amid the clangorous dissonance, he could distinctly and vividly hear her sweet, soft-spoken, splintered voice, laughing shrilly and squealing in excitement as he spun her around on the playground turnabout, cheered her on to complete the monkey bars to the very end, and pushed her down the peppermint candy-striped slide, shouting all the way down. But the slide never ended, and the ecstatic shouting turned into a bloodcurdling scream. She was waiting for him to catch her at the end of the slide, but he didn’t show, only empty faith gone to hell, and she fell out of the mouth and collided with the rough concrete ground, skinned her elbows and knees, and cried. Cried alone in the ground as the children around her sneered at her, as she still vainly searched for her absent father that walked away from her, away from her life. The horrid mocking grew angrier, barbarous, louder. The screaming intensified. The muffled crying turned into inexorable wailing, imploring, beseeching, beleaguering as it endlessly asked him why why why why why WHY

What I wanted, what I needed
What I got for me
What I wanted, what I needed
What I got for me…

His daughter. Her crying. His hands. Her throat. His wife. Her mother. The abandoned rundown house at the end of the town street, his abandoned rundown house, infested with restless phantoms and ghosts of the visceral past, raising question marks and concocting urban legends and horror stories under hushed voices and sussurous muttering, passing it on and on and on without ado. The perfect happy family that was immediately shattered on that fateful night much like their photograph that he furiously threw on the wall, and the sharp shards choking reality, the same way the broken glass did as it caught in his spouse’s screeching throat. The fight. The madness that took over. The knife. The screams of NO. The gun. The woman. The girl. The chase. The first shot that reverberated in his skull. The slash that slit skins open and lacerated the beige patterned wallpaper to shreds. A shaky hand doused with vodka. A penultimate warning. The wrong target acquired. The second gunshot that finished the story. The end. The collateral damage. A man dropping his weapons and passing out drunkenly on the stairs. A wounded mother bleeding out and lamenting such a cursed fate with shuddering howls. And the girl. His girl. Dead. Fucking dead. And it’s his fault. Him to blame. His guilt. His conscience. His life, forever locked away in all the insanity like his confined wife in the mental asylum, and buried down along with her darling sweetheart child. God have mercy and damn me, what have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?!

Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head
You never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet…

The radio thrummed, piercing through the manic hysteria, His psychosis abruptly ended. The vivid hallucinations and insane delusions faltered back into the crepuscular room he huddled upon. The vehement tempest gradually dragged down into a catatonic still; a quite disturbing calm. The oil burner dislimned into a sombre light, flitting and flickering restlessly against the unpainted cemented walls of that frigid, haunting basement morgue. He held his breath and hitched. Breathed deeply and composed himself. Murmuring deliriously, he removed his madly-trembling hands from his ears and slowly opened his eyes in suffocating fear and trepidation. Dark morgue. Inanimate corpse. Damaged man. Distressing relief.

Lulling himself, he attempted to stand up, steadying himself against the oaken table. But as he clumsily straightened his legs, his besmirched coat sleeve accidentally snagged on the metal tray and he went down again, lightning pain shooting up his spine, the rusted clangorous metal instruments clattering dinningly and crashing down with him, and the vintage radio pulled along with everything else and hitting the ground, its tiny plastic pieces coming apart and effectively killing the only palpable sound in the room.

Take your, take your
Get up out of me
I’m not proud with me…

A subdued silence ensued. He broke down and collapsed into overwhelming contrition and mournful madness once more, this time never recovering, and he crouched there, on the verge of guilt and trauma, sobbing and frantic, face buried in his bloody hands, whispering splintered apologies amid the occasional sickening laughter that escaped his pale split mouth, as all the while his deceased companion watched with her empty glass-blue eyes. His broken watch ceased ticking. The lost song faded away. The cadaver’s lips twitched. The gas lamp hissed once, twice, and instantly snuffed out against the volatile wind, leaving the grieving mortician and the dead girl in total darkness.

I never ever believed in me
I am your tourniquet.

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Blood Feud

There’s a grudge the size of a headache

Palpitating tangibly in my drying mouth

A necklace of bullets and funeral wakes

That’s what the tribulations is all about

.

And it festered in a sickening abomination

Of pustules and pus in fluid amalgamation

No mercy strain when it reaches your brain

A monster contrite to lick away sanity pains

.

There’s a grudge the size of a headache

And my throat has been badly victimised

There’s no knowing what it’ll actually take

But my burning blood is always traumatised.

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