Color Me

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How does one write a poem about domestic violence without slipping into shallow prose, or, more importantly, without trivializing a horrifying trauma.  As a municipal attorney, I have helped hold DV perpetrators accountable for 23 years.  I have spoken with the women, seen their fear, heard their terror.  I have seen the photographs of bruises, heard the sobbing screams in 911 recordings, and watched the abused tremble on the witness stand.  I have watched the “bad guys” smirk and win acquittals from ignorant or misogynist juries.  How I admire the courage victims have to become survivors, to stand tall and to say “Never again!”  I wrote this poem for victims of domestic violence, though the poem is by no means a celebration or victory song.  The poem attempts to express both the horror and the hope of someone caught, for now, in the twisted power and control dynamics of domestic violence.  To all of them, I say: have courage; have hope.

COLOR ME

blue—royal
blue—navy
purple almost to black
witness
Van Gogh starry nights:
beautiful
but
not here
where pale skin
should be

red lightning bolts
in white orb

two weeks
maybe three
until
I can pretend
it did not happen
no one knows

dark pigments
you paint on pale canvass
private studio
still life model undressed

would you plied
with greens and yellows,
orange and sky-blue

pinpoint pupils
in a Saint-Rémy sky

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4 thoughts on “Color Me

  1. Becky Roberts

    It’s interesting you chose to post this just now. I have had a dear friend staying with me this week in an effort to escape her abusive husband.
    Life is so hard for some people…
    You are a talented writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      Thank you, Becky. Manipulating an intimate relationship through power and control is simply evil. Best wishes to your friend, and thank you for helping her. Would that all abused persons had such friends. Let me know if I can provide any resource information.

      Like

      Reply
  2. The Twentysomething Social Recluse

    This is really beautiful, it made me feel quite emotional – my heart goes out to anyone who has experienced domestic violence. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad the poem touched a chord. Being the victim of another’s power and control manipulation is a terrifying experience. The subject becomes trapped and powerless. Only through enormous exertion of will-power, often aided by true friends and supporters, can the subject escape. Attempts to escape often provoke increased violence aimed at reasserting total domination. I so admire the courage and strength of women who escape and rebuild their lives as survivors and thrivers, and to all who show that domestic violence will not be tolerated.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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