after the storm (haiku – troiku)

    (haiku)

looks in the mirror
puffy eyes and mouth,
after the storm

after the storm
a thousand “I’m sorry’s”
sounds of white noise

(troiku)
in the looking glass
shades of black and blue
after the storm

in the looking glass
stranger stares back
void of life

shades of black and blue
dreams of rainbow colours
pretends life is fine

after the storm
a hundred and one promises
until the next

© Tournesol’15

Haiku Horizons “after”

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #62 Troiku

Secrets of Despair – 2

cropped-stigma-photos-mental-health2

Bless me, Father,

my last confession was many years ago

forgive me for I have sinned

I have betrayed my ********

in so many ways I am chagrined

I have abused his/her trust

manipulated and exploited her/him

I transgressed beyond Satan’s expectation

I do not deserve to receive absolution

Forgive me Father

I must pay for my sins

help me be a better father.

Amen.

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/14

A call of hope

The prompt for this story says to  Dream Big. Wow!   I can make up a story, a poem or write about something I have always wished for.  The options are endless and you know what? Today my dream may be different from my dream tomorrow or next week. Are not dreams part of who we are?  Are they not mere escapes at will in order to survive the world in which we live?  Since this is my birthday weekend, I decided to add more than a dream and more like a celestial dream…something over the top and a dream I have wished come true many times.

My Angel Playing Violin by Blacktoner

A call of hope

Dawn tilted her head as she listened to the other teen at the end of the line. Let’s call this caller Gabriella.   “I can’t take it anymore,” she wept, “My father is coming home in a few hours and I know he’s going to…you know….”she sobbed softly.  Dawn could hear the fear in her caller’s voice. She was barely a teen, her mother died last year .  Gabriella had no one but her father now.   He’d started drinking heavily after his wife died.   She had an auntie and grandparents but she was too ashamed about what “they did” that she did not dare ask for help…until tonight.

Dawn listened, and tried to reassure her caller.  She  asked her if she could go to her auntie’s house for the weekend and it would give her time to think about what she might want to do later.    She encouraged Gabriella to call the youth line again from auntie’s house.

Dawn waited…there was a long pause.  “I guess I could go but he won’t let me stay overnight usually because, ….well, you know…”  Dawn thought about that for a moment and did something she has never done before. “Go to your auntie’s right now. It’s just a short walk.  Bring a bag of clothes for 3 or 4 days and once you get there, tell your auntie your father gave you permission to stay over.”

Gabriella interrupted, “But I already told you!!! He will be angry and he gets violent when he gets mad. He’ll just pick me up there and drag me back home. I’m too scared to do that.”

Dawn repeated softly, “Sweetie, I know you’re scared. You are a very brave girl. You reached out here tonight and took a chance to tell someone about your situation. I get it. And you know what? I trust that you can do one more brave thing and that is to go to your auntie with your bag of clothes. Leave a note on the kitchen table saying your auntie needed you to babysit and help her with the children for the weekend. Then call me as soon as you get settled at your auntie’s. Is that okay? Call back here and ask to speak to Dawn.”

The caller hesitated and then said, “Okay, if you say so. You will be there when I call back?” Dawn reassured her that she would. They disengaged.

Dawn then went into the quiet room where counsellors often went to unwind after a difficult call.  She shut the lights, put on her “special music” her smart phone, lied down on the comfy couch and put in her ear buds.  Soft angelic voices hummed softly, followed by a violin crying melodiously and Dawn could feel herself drift off.  Her soul seemed to lift from her body and float above her for a moment and then it floated away.

Gabriella hurried to pack her bag and walked the 4 blocks to her auntie’s house.  As soon as she walked up the steps, her auntie opened the door as if she were expecting her.  She said, “Hey there, Gaby, I was waiting for you. It’s so weird. I fell asleep a few minutes when I put Jimmy to bed and had the weirdest dream. You were crying out to me running away from a monster. It was the scariest thing.”  She hugged her niece warmly. “Well, come in sweetie.”

Gabriella’ father arrived home and shouted out to his daughter but there was no answer. He looked around the living room, went to Gaby’s bedroom and then came back to the kitchen and saw a note on the table. “I’m staying at Auntie Sue for the weekend or maybe longer. She needs me to help with Jimmy and the baby, Gaby”

He was fuming with rage.  He threw the table against the wall.  Suddenly,  he heard a strange sound, a violin a woman chanting;  then he saw his wife! But it couldn’t be.

She floated right through the living room wall.  The music continued and this apparition that resembled his wife  floated up closer to him.

“William”, the apparition said. It was not the voice of his wife but her face was so, so, lovely! His wife who he missed so much was here.  The voice seemed harsh at first. “William, I have an important message. Sit down and listen. I will only say this once, so pay attention.”

The voice spoke of the Great Spirit of slipping to the other side and consequences.  It was a long speech and although he was scared there was something peaceful about it.  As the apparition slowly lifted, the strings of the violin intensified in a melody that wrapped him with intense emotions fear, guilt and wonder.  He wept for the first time since his wife died, and wept and wept.  Then he called his sister-in-law.

Gabriella couldn’t believe her ears!  Her auntie gave her a message from her father.  She was so surprised.

Dawn heard a knock at the door of the quiet room.  Her colleague announcing that her break was finished and time to get back on the phones.  She stretched and could not help feeling tired despite her nap.  She felt like she had run on her usual 6 K run on Lakeshore.  She rubbed her legs and went to her workstation.  The phone rang, “You’ve reached a counsellor, how can I help you?”

“Hi, Dawn, I have a caller who says you told her to call back, let me patch her through.”

“It’s Gabriella. I’m at my auntie’s like you told me to do. And the strangest thing happened. My father is going to rehab and will be away for a few months. He said we’ll talk about my staying with Auntie for good and maybe he’ll just visit me for a while instead. Isn’t that strange?”

Dawn smiled, nodding gently a tear running down her cheek.

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/08

Written for:  The Seeker’s DungeonThis week’s prompt is  Dreaming Big  (running from March 6 – March 12) Click here to see what other writers have contributed to this week’s prompt as well as last week’s.

The Red violin soundtrack (Anna’s Theme)

Wolf Girl (haibun)

My contribution to this great prompt at Free Write Friday. Thank you Kellie.

trust[4]

A short Narrative

Wolf Girl

Erik Boone Art

They called her the Wolf girl at the hospital on the psych ward. No one had been able to approach her …much. She was like a wild animal. If you came too close to her, she would howl; if she was hungry she would stand at your table, looking at your tray with the most appealing eyes, no one could refuse her. The staff was curious about her but all, without exception, fell in love with her especially when she would curl up into a ball in the fetus position on the centre of her bed…thumb in mouth, lights ON. If ever a staff member felt pity for anyone sleeping with those bright neon lights and turned it off in her room, she would sit up, howling, eyes wide-eyed holding on to her blanket for dear life.

Her name was Torey.  Child services brought her in 3 months ago to Emergency for a check up and after examination by doctors as well as the psycho-educator in chief, they assumed she would get her discharge no later than 3 days (which was customary in “those” cases). But she never got that release and Dr. Shelley, the Psycho-Educator in chief would not release her. She had a different reason at each court hearing…this last one was selective mutism, and that this youth was sexually assaulted multiple times for years. Torey was 11 by now but what the hell did  “multiple times for years”even mean?  Dr. Shelley just knew that this child should NOT be placed in foster care without guarantees she would be safe.   The system had failed her in the past when this child had put her trust in adults who should have kept her safe.  Dr. Shelley knew there are NO such guarantees.  She  took it upon herself to make sure she remain the ward of the court and in the children’s psychiatric ward indefinitely.  She had hope that some day soon, she just may make a breakthrough. Torey may decide to talk.

It was December 24th, 3 and a half months since Torey’s admission, and she was in her daily interview with Dr. Shelley. This therapist had a unique approach with youths, those with selective mutism.  Her past 10 years experience working solely with teens who had autism spectrum had given her a new skill…EEP.  Her colleagues, mostly professors at the local university scoffed at her when she said it was actually a skill that had to be learned with working with “exceptional” youths.  EEL stands for Exceptional Empathetic Listening skills.  Dr. Shelley had a knack of drawing out the most difficult and resistant child into trusting her enough to start talking…even if it was one hour a day, that was a miracle in many cases she had worked on.

Torey was different. She was brilliant. She had a way of knowing what adults were thinking and what they needed. This is how they discovered her exceptional talent or sixth sense.

One day, Nurse Grant, who had worked on the pediatric ward on the psychiatric section for 20 years,  walked on the floor with a limp wearing tinted glasses.  Staff all inquired with sympathy what had happened to her over the weekend and she just  brushed them off with a, “Ah just clumsy old me bumped into the glass bus shelter. With the darn sleet and snow mingled, I could not see an inch in front of me and I banged the corner of my left eye and slipped and sprained my ankle. Enough said, no need for pity from anyone, so I got these glasses to avoid your mushy sad looks. Now ya’ll get to work!”  She did have a bit of a bark and everyone went back to work. No one asked her again and most avoided looking at her in the eye…or rather, glasses…except for Torey.  She looked at her suspiciously, sucking her thumb. She circled around her looking up at her and raised her eyebrow.

Then she followed Nurse Grant into the nurse’s lobby and sat right next to her on the couch while she sipped her coffee. Torey looked up and did the most surreal thing…she spoke! “He gave it to you, didn’t he?” she said  in a raspy voice. Nurse Grant almost spilled her coffee and looked at Torey wide eye, in shock.

“What you talkin’ about young lady?!” and Torey did not balk…did not feel intimidated one bit. She just looked up at her this time with compassion, and puppy dog eyes and gave Nurse Grant a hug, whispering in her ear, “I know what them do to you.”

Nurse Grant just savoured this moment because she had a feeling that Torey did, in fact, know.

Later that afternoon, Dr. Shelley was advised about Torey’s first spoken words in private by Dr. Shelley who had to come clean of her own personal circumstances.  Dr. Shelley, called in Torey and asked her, “Well, now, Torey. You certainly gave us a bit of a surprise today and I have to say a very nice surprise. I want to thank you.”  Torey had arrived arms crossed, ready to keep her silence but was cut off guard when Dr. Shelley was thanking her.  She dropped her arms to her side and raised an eyebrow and waited…she was the prize of detectives…she had to know for sure…

Trust no one ever!
Exceptional listening.
Suitable moments.

Dr. Shelley continued, “Torey, Nurse Grant has been in a dratted abusive relationship for years and no one but no one has ever had the courage to confront her and plead with her to get out and to safer environment. Today, Nurse Grant came up to me asking to live in the nurses quarters for the night staff temporarily until she found a new apartment. So I want to thank you for doing something not one counsellor, nurse, doctor or psychologist was able to do until you did.”

Torey stared at her sizing what he had just heard, and took her usual seat in front of Dr. Shelly’s arm chair and said, “Yeah, well, it’s about time she left that f…..g loser. She deserves better.”

That was the first session Torey felt she could trust Dr. Shelley and started disclosing the sexual abuse she was exposed to by her father from the age of 7 to 10 and the abuse in foster car the months following her removal from her home.

Trust has to be earned…Torey was not fool enough to trust just anyone…she knew who could be trusted and she chose to speak to Nurse Grant because she saw peer…a soldier in the fight against abuse  in her…as for Dr. Shelley, well, gosh, Torey, knew she had EEL, she was just waiting for the right moment to feel she could actually trust her.

© Cheryl-Lynn, January 27, 2014

The good, the bad and the ugly.

 

This week’s Dungeon Prompt Week #10 is:  

Entitlement Ideology – Making Up the Rules as We Go (running from October 17 – October 23)

 

Gov.t ordered to turn over residential school file

Photograph courtesy of The Canadian Press

This exercise prompted me to look at the Good, the Bad and The Ugly of entitlement. This first part is the Bad and the Ugly, the last piece starts as Good and then, it all goes to interpretation, I suppose.

“As to the Indians, the guiding principle was, promise them anything just so long as they get out of the way”.- Stephen Ambrose

The above quote bothers me to no end.  I realize Canada is “starting” to make progress in talking with our First Nations People but still, we all know they have a lot of hours, days, months and  years before Aboriginal people in Canada can actually feel a positive change.  We, disregarded their rights and privileges.   We robbed them of entitlement to their land, to their culture and their language.  Residential schools comes to mind and yes, I AM talking about it still…the ramifications of such a travesty, of such oppression will trickle down for generations. It will take that long so their healing can commence.

Two years ago, I was privileged to be part of a group from our youth line to visit a reserve in Northern Ontario and ask youths in that community how we could better meet their needs.  The day before our meeting, my colleagues and I took a brisk walk near an old residential school outside of the reserve; the ghostly feeling walking around there was so eerie.  In our group, a young woman who was part of this pilot project told us stories she had heard from her grandmother and great-auntie who had been forced to go to this school.  Most of these youths had no clue they were thousands of miles from their homes. So when a youth tried to run away,  can only imagine the despair learning when caught to return to the school, the despair …they could not and would not see their family for, to them, a lifetime!

I cringed to imagine of youths as young as 4 and 5 that were literally ripped from the arms of their mothers and fathers by the RCMP.    Can you actually imagine such a thing?!

I recall speaking to a youth several years ago who proudly talked about a journal her grandmother had recounting her sad and tragic experiences in residential schools.  It’s important to document, to remember.  Part of healing IS remembering.

What is so sad about these calamities is that many First Nations People of that generation who were “condemned” to those schools, were brainwashed…told from 5 years old until they were 18 to speak ONLY English, to comply to a Christian religion of the white man, to forget their mother tongue and their culture…only to return to their homes as young adults having lost their identities totally.  They could not even communicate now their families.  They were confused as to who they were and feeling they could not fit in anywhere.  How can one heal from this?

Imagine you are taken away from your mom at an age where you cannot grasp certain concepts developmentally at the mere age of 4 or 5, punished if you speak to your sibling in your mother tongue and told over and over how ONLY the white man’s language, religion and ways are the right way. What an oxymoron…the right way is to oppress, abuse physically and emotionally? Let us not forget the sexual abuse as well…yes, the white man felt entitled to rob these people of their own rights in the guise of “it’s for their own good.” That sounds like the parent who hits his child and says, “It’s for your own good.”

This is but a small example of our country, our government who robbed our First Nations People of their entitlements…land, culture, language

Related Articles:

A History of Residential Schools in Canada

The Residential School System

 

This prompt of Entitlement also reminded me of the students protesting last summer 2012.

They walked the streets

for months and months

insist they couldn’t eat.

they said the fees

were way too high

refusing to comply.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they said they had a right

to demonstrate and march

still making their demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

they stopped the students

at any time from going

to their classes.

and then they’d band

anyone from entering

so they could make demands.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

They even blocked

Jacques Cartier Bridge

and said it was their right.

they made a lot of messes

without regard for classes.

self-righteous, they continued

to fight for what they claimed.

they walked the streets

for months and months

banging their pots and pans.

A week or two was fine

I even thought that cool

that youths would get involved,

to be part of a change.

But reasoning was not

to be part of their plan.

simply, me myself and I

the only game they had in mind.

Entitlement

was what they claimed

their only actual aim

for this important game.

They said it was their right.

and these were youths

who one day might

eventually run our state!

now that I’d really hate!

 

 

People gather at the start of a protest to mark the 100th day of a students strike, in Montreal, Tuesday, May 22, 2012. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Photograph courtesy of The Globe and Mail

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, originally written October 19, 2013

 

Related articles:

Quebec Students study in entitlement

Massive Montreal rally marks 100 days of student protests