Captive Listener

After leaving an abusive marriage, my mother updated family members on my recovery in this way, “Lucy no longer looks around the room for permission to laugh.” I wasn’t even aware I’d been doing this until it was pointed out to me. For this reason, I chose to write this poem in third person.

Captive Listener
By Lucy Furr

When others laugh…

She sits quietly

Dousing joy

Unsmiling

Until laughter is approved

Her ears prick outward
straining to hear his crackle of euphoria blend with others in happy, symphonic unison.

Musicians tell her she has “no ear”

“Just mouth the words, don’t sing,” they say.

But they are wrong
Her hearing is fine-tuned
She hears subtleties
She hears his silence amidst thunderous cachinnation and, on cue, mimics ill-at-ease

Or, plucks his laughter from raucous seas and yokes her laugh to his.

On these rare moments…
her heart sings.

Advertisements

Daddy I Remember…

by Lucy Furr

Today with oxygen and walker tight in hand,

we shuffle past the window, ‘round the kitchen,

down the hall.

With loving hands I brace your weakened frame

so you won’t fall.

But, Daddy, I remember when

you ran with healthy lungs and legs, holding me on wobbly bike,

as I progressed from tiny trike.

Today I brush your teeth

and shave your sagging scruffy neck.

But, Daddy, I remember when

I’d snuggle close. You’d tease and hold me tight,

then tickle me with whiskers as squeals of fun met morning light.

Today I comb your grey, sparse, wiry hair.

But, Daddy, I remember when

I climbed on cushions piled high to reach your black and curly hair.

You’d lay back and close your eyes and let me try a few new fashions.

With warm water in a cup, pink curlers, ribbons, barrettes and bobby pins,

I’d build creative up-do’s; then hold a mirror for you to see and ask,

“Daddy, what do you think?”

With water dripping down your neck, you’d respond with complimentary words,

and I’d beam and blush so gullibly.

Today I yearn to talk with you of vicissitudes of life.

Once I thought I knew it all. Not so. There’s much for me to learn.

But talking is a strain.

You’d rather use that perfunctory wave of hand than form a word or two.

But, Daddy, I remember when

you’d reply to all my silly questions of what and how and why.

Brilliant explanations to the miracles of life.

Today, I tuck you into bed, not knowing if in the morn’ you’ll wake.

Because you hate the cold night chill, I pull covers up around your chin,

then gently kiss you on your cheek and say,

“I love you Daddy. I hope you know I do.”

You answer back with just one, simple, acknowledging word,

“Good.”

But, Daddy, I remember when

you’d shape your lips into that crooked grin and say…

“I love you too.”

Party of One

Sometimes, I can’t shake the feeling I’m being watched and look for a red laser beam on my chest. I always close my blinds when the sun goes down.

Sometimes, I wonder what day he’ll choose for his suicide/homicide. My birthday perhaps?

Sometimes, I wonder whether or not to attend a dance or special event because “he” might be there with a loaded gun.

Sometimes, I wonder about seemingly selfless acts of kindness. Why is this guy being nice? Who is he really? Who will he become when my wall comes down?

Sometimes, I jokingly say, “All men (and women) are sociopaths until proven otherwise.” I’m not really joking.

Sometimes, I wonder if I’ll go to my grave having never been loved.

Sometimes, I wonder if Humpty Dumpty is laughing at all the king’s horses and all the king’s men trying to put my shattered soul back together again.

Sometimes, I remind myself that I can’t possibly go to the grave having never been loved because I love me…and, it’s okay if I’m just a party of one…because I’m a f**king awesome…worthy of love.

Note from Lucy Furr: If you suspect that you’re in an abusive relationship or have been in one, I have several tips and resources that helped me escape my perpetrator. They are as follows:

  1. You don’t have to be physically assaulted to seek help from the women’s shelter. When I landed in the women’s shelter, my then-husband had never beaten me, though I lived in fear that he might.
  2. If you’re not sure you’re in an abusive relationship, seek help from the women’s shelter. They can help you sort out your emotions and answer questions.
  3. If you don’t want live in the women’s shelter, contact them anyway. They have an out-reach program that offers many resources and classes that are helpful.
  4. If someone is holding you hostage via suicidal threats, you’re likely in an abusive relationship. The women’s shelter can help you learn how to deal with suicidal partners in a healthier way.
  5. I strongly recommend reading the book, “Why Does He Do That?” by Lundy Bancroft. Even if you’re not in an abusive relationship, this is the best book on the market to learn about the red flags of manipulation and control. It’s the most important book you’ll ever read. All young girls should read this book before they start dating. (Note: The book isn’t just for women. It’s written for men too. The author didn’t want to say he/she throughout his book so he chose one gender for ease of writing.)
  6. Leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim. If your perpetrator hasn’t physically assaulted you yet, he/she might easily escalate to physical violence when he/she believes you might leave. Most domestic related homicides take place when a victim is leaving his/her partner. Don’t let your perpetrator know that you’re leaving.
  7. Just because a controlling person has no record of having been physically violent in the past, this doesn’t mean he/she won’t become physically violent in the future.
  8. Don’t jump into other relationships after leaving an abusive partner. Trust me. You’re f**ked up. It will take time, therapy and a lot of self-reflection to break the pattern of abuse.
  9. Movies and television don’t depict sociopaths accurately. They don’t look or act anything like Dexter or Hannibal Lecter. I highly recommend reading the book, “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout.
  10. Before you attempt to date again, I recommend reading the book, “Dating Game Secrets to Marrying a Good Man” by Alisa Snell.
  11. Educate yourself about sociopaths. Visit: LoveFraud.com or PsychopathFree.com