Sunday, November 28, 2010

not just his shirt

i see a man in the second story window, red brick building, across the street from the bench, i sit, waiting for the 7:45 bus. it's not that i can't mind my own business, but he is there every day & i know him only as wife beater.

& it's not just the stain white shirt stretched across his girth, but the words, his words that bullhorn across the distance. he treats her like a dog, not that i have anything against dogs, or think they should get hurt. & the banging...banging...banging...crashes across the asphalt.

(are you getting pissed yet?)

his day old beard, shimmers greasy, as he leaves, chest puffed like he's king of the world, locking the door behind him, from the outside. smiling...smiling...and it may be bad but i am wishing i was driving as he crosses the crosswalk. he says good morning as he waits next to me.

& she appears in the now slid up window, eyes hollow black holes, sucking all the color from the day, except the cigarette she sucks to a butt, then flicks. tumbling end over end, it leaves smoke written confessions, hanging in the air, dreams deferred, dissipating.

she was pretty once, you can tell, a trophy beneath the tarnish & she had hope once, but hitched a ride on the wrong star streaking across the night sky, only to find it was a busted piece of space junk plummeting. back then she was someone, before he took that too.

& then the window is empty, the bus here, & i am just glad to catch a glimpse of her because one day i won't. she will either wake up or not get up, again. maybe tomorrow. maybe the next day. he boards in front of me & our bus pulls away.

This is a Magpie Tale.

86 comments:

Sophia said...

Silence here....memories flood my mind...emotion floods through my being. Remembering incident after incident....it started as just a push or shove....then a smack across the face....(still justifying his actions because I wanted to be loved and accepted and thought it was me)....

....one thing turned into another....the hits escalated to beatings....a toss over a sofa into the TV....pinned to the floor with a hand to the throat....pinned on the bed with a pillow over the face because I couldn't stop crying out in pain from a blow to the back.........it kept going and going.....promises of never touching me again......until it escalated in slamming my head into the side of a bed, fracturing my skull, crushing my ear, and giving me a concussion..........I WAS something and became NOTHING after having him in my life.....a "trophy" to his friends in public and punching bag to him at home behind closed doors.......


.......It's people like YOU....who stand up for the wrong.....it was someone just like you who had enough guts to STAND UP and save my life. Otherwise, I would have been the woman that would have one day....never woke up..........................................................................................................................................

CM said...

He locked her in...in more ways than one.

The most striking to me were the dreams deferred and the space junk reference.

So sad. And yet he has the nerve to smile and say, "Good Morning." I guess sometimes all you can do is say a prayer.

Sophia said...

PS....because of this person saving my life....I became SOMEONE again....someone beautiful who OVERCAME and now reach out to other women and have helped save countless lives because of it.

Please don't stop standing up for stuff like this. It's wrong. And every person who can, that's just another life you have saved!!!

(tears)

faith said...

Very powerful. Love the title!

Betsy said...

Oh, that's awful. :(

Bee's Blog said...

Extremely powerful and so near the truth for many - many who still feel they 'deserve' it and continue to take the abuse. Take the abuse because they feel there is no other way - no way out and no one to help them.

My landlord beats his wife. They live upstairs and we can hear it. It's very distressing but the police will not get involved calling it 'a domestic matter'. Until she makes a complaint against him, there is nothing anyone can do. I do not speak to my landlord. I cannot bring myself to be cordial. It is, sadly, accepted in the country where I live for men of East Indian descent to beat their wives.

And meanwhile I cry - for her ignorance, pain and suffering. But no one will listen to me.

Sophia said...

Bee -- it's often not "ignorance" of the woman (or man these days) of not getting out. I am a survivor of domestic abuse and can tell you first hand the many reasons why it is hard for a woman to leave.

1. FEAR - the abuser ALWAYS threatens to kill them and/or their family if they try to leave
2. Most often no financial support TO leave.
3. No family or friends to lean on or move in with because of it.

Without the proper support, education and them knowing what resources are available to them...without a PLAN on HOW to leave, they won't. And how will they EVER know what's available out there to them if NO ONE ever steps up and out to inform them?

Just saying...not tryint to be rude, but I have to say I find it offensive when other seem to think it's easy to leave and due to ignorance. THUS why I speak all over the place, sharing my story and educating people on HOW we can help.

Bee's Blog said...

I know Sophia what you mean and I know the reasons why women don't leave - I have dealt with several cases.

By 'her ignorance' I did not mean that she is ignorant. I mean her ignorance or rather unwillingness to listen regarding what is available to her through several organizations. I should have explained more clearly. My apologies.

I will also add that for many in the society in which I live, regardless of all the help and education that is available for battered women, they believe that it's a man's right to hit his woman. I also know people who decided to leave only to be made to return by their parents. Because leaving brings shame on the family.

We recently had a case where a woman had taken out a restraining order on her common law husband. He came to her home. Relatives called the police and because he was in the throes of attacking her with a knife, the police shot and killed him. The wife turned on the police.

I'm glad that you survived the nightmare and that you have held out your hand to help others who are going through what you did.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Touched a nerve. So many have lived it, thinking the life they are living to be invisible to others. It is not always easy to pull yourself out, the abuser works hard to isolate .......

Syd said...

It happens way too often. Once is one time too many.

ds said...

Oh,this is powerful stuff, beautifully written and sobering. I want to scream at the narrator: why don't you do something??? but know that the reality is that he probably can't. At least, nothing that will help that woman. "The trophy beneath the tarnish" her eyes, the trail of the cigarette. His greasy shirt.

Images that stick. Thank you.

TALON said...

Vivid writing, Brian. Hard subject matter, but you handled it well.

budh.aaah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
June_Butterfly said...

Very well written ,Brian.As bad as child abuse itself.Domestic Violence is a scar that doesn't heal easily.Some doesn't even survive,and those that does are mostly broken for life.How sad how one mistake can change one's whole life.

Thanks for sharing this,Brian.Brilliant as ,always!

Zuzana said...

Very powerful and very sad... Puts life in perspective, as there are so many out there whose own reality is so painful...
Have a lovely Monday dear Brian,
xoxo

Becky said...

So sad, but so true.....unfortunately.

Have a nice new week Brian!

Valerie said...

Unfortunately, escape is not easy. I worked for so long with women who had escaped, the stories they told were heartbreaking.

slommler said...

Oh this just breaks my heart! I am afraid I wouldn't be able to keep my mouth shut and if I were a man...worse! I would get that key and go and let her out. But would she leave??? Many times they don't and they die. Oh I cry!!!
Hugs
SueAnn

the walking man said...

If he is that big there is nothing there a baseball bat can't fix. If he is equal in size nothing there a fist won't help cure.

Bullies, no matter the victim or their age are cowards. Beat his ass once, maybe twice if he is that stupid, and he will change especially if you leave him paralyzed.

Cheryl said...

Tough read, Brian. Loved your description of the butt: "tumbling end over end, it leaves smoke written confessions, hanging in the air, dreams deferred, dissipating."

JStar said...

Powerful Brian! I was "her" once...but I am ME now :)

Lorraine said...

too much of that going on...Someone has to speak, thanks for doing it!

Daniel said...

There is a deep passion in your voice that gives me a glimpse of the word you encounter. Hang in there man. It can be rough sometimes.

Alan Burnett said...

The words drive you on to read them, right until the end. Very well written indeed.

blueviolet said...

I can't stand the thought that so many people live that life...and then don't...

By the way, I keep forgetting to ask. Where did your blog name come from?

budh.aaah said...

Itwas a very sad read and so many people can empathise with that woman as I am sure there are many who feel like you do about the situation.

Keep up the good work, even feeling the way that you do is your 'one drop' to this ocean of goodness. If we each contribute that one drop this world be such a beautiful and warm place

Arts web show said...

Reading this, i just want to beat 7 bells out of that guy.
And i am not a violent person. lol
It's difficult to help such victims because they tend to blame themselves.
It's a sad story indeed.
Excellent thought provoking story brian

Slamdunk said...

Sad that there are so many situations like this of suffering. You describe the ugly so well.

Gaston Studio said...

Hard to read this as a huge fist wrapped itself around my heart while doing so. I've never experienced but can sympathize with those women who feel trapped in such situations and, unfortunately, don't seek help.

Candie Bracci said...

Sad reality.How many?Too many died each year.I hope she will wake up before it's too late.She's not living her life,she's living his.It's easy to say for us to say though.

Kimi said...

Beautiful and so sad!

Lydia said...

This is a haunting kick-start on a frosty morning, most definitely. How could we possibly ever expect countries to get along together when this kind of crap goes on in the very relationships that are supposed to make us feel safe in a world where countries cannot get along together.....?

willow said...

Hitched a ride on the wrong star. Sadly, it happens all too often. Interesting take on the trophy, Brian.

secret agent woman said...

I've called the police before in similar situations. And if not that, at least a note given to the woman when he's not there with the contact information of a shelter. Witnessing abuse is not enough.

Lori said...

I think you already know that I once walked this road...so reading this brought tears to my eye's, not because of the bad memories but out of joy that I made it out before he loved me to death...and even more that I have chosen to value myself enough that I will no longer accept that kind of treatment. I know the signs all too well of how it starts so will never go back there.

My heart grieves for all those, like I once was, that are trapped in this hell.

As always your words cause my heart to jump. Happy Monday Brian.

Tabor said...

These men are hauntingly ugly. The only reality is that most are not always bad. Just when they are lost or angry. Sometimes they are decent although the media never portrays them that way. They always portray only the worst of this crowd. I know, because my F.I.L. was one.

natalee said...

Oh that made my heart break... The writing was so vivid .. i wanted to scream at that fat bastard... as usual you have put a spotlight on an unflattering unspoken topic and made us.. aware.... ps,, yeah im with blue.. where did you get your blog name from

Vicki Lane said...

Excellent Magpie! It's frightening how common this sort of abuse is.

deb said...

your piece was riveting and raw , Brian
and honestly,
now reading your story , Sophie, I am silenced.

why are people capable of such dehumanizing.

so incredibly sad.

sophie, my heart goes out to that back there woman,
and is glad that you are whole once again.

David Waters said...

this one cuts deep. Obviously I wasn't an abused wife, but the words your character yelled....my father could cut you down with one word...of coarse he didnt stop with that, the fist always followed...

sadness...

Magpie said...

Sad, sad, sad...and obviously touches more lives than one might expect based on your followers' comments.

Brian Miller said...

deb..sophia's story is heartbreaking...and that she has been a survivor in light of it is truly inspiring...

Hope said...

brilliantly written Brian, as usual. my guts tied in knots all the time I was reading.

thank you for sharing

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I do not know how you bring such commendable incredible imagery to something so very hateful, but you did. -J

Myrna R. said...

this was really powerful Brian. I've known women like that. Some get out, some don't. So sad.

Anonymous said...

this was really painful brian. what a vivid description.

trisha
mydomainpvt.wordpress.com

Six Feet Under Blog said...

That happens more then you think!

Bridgette said...

I am being honest. Why don't you write a book? Seriously! You are an excellent writer!

Stranger said...

Fantastic take on the magpie and a beautiful work of writing, Brian.

Nezzy said...

The sad truth is how many women live this every day! This truly tugged at my heartstrings, I have counseled those in this very situation.

Great and Powerful write man!

God bless and have an incredible day!!! :o)

Kavita said...

Sad and thought provoking.. and .. just very sad..
"smoke written confessions" just did it for me!!
How can any human being feel good after beating up another?! This is something I probably will never understand... I almost feel like wishing ill for such persons.. but then I think, if I do that, what is the difference between me and them..
But I wish.. I really wish!

A very powerful write, and an even stronger read, Brian...

Reflections said...

Brian, Thank you for sharing this write of such a difficult subject, heated by the memories of so many before and so many now... You write with passion, igniting the same in others.

Glenn Buttkus said...

although probably fiction, you
give these poetics the sting of
actuality; excellent use of
run-on thoughts and the
build is intense. As a writer,
your narrator is you, and
yet perhaps not, just the
seeing eye, the seeing heart.

I like the line /his words
bullhorn across the distance/
I liked the /sucking all the
color from the day/ but
it is followed too closely
with /the cigarette she
sucks to a butt/. Great
line /it leaves smoke written
confessions/hanging in the
air/.

Great hook and a great
feel for the subject.
I hear Brubeck behind
the words, and see the
event in black and white.

Liza said...

Yeah, I'm pissed!

"shimmers greasy"
like a snake,
and this man is one.

"eyes hollow black holes, sucking all the color from the day"
that whole stanza is quite vivid in my head, especially the smoke butt tumbling.

"before he that too"
I really like that line, and the placement of it.


Hope you and yours enjoyed your Thanksgiving.

LauraX said...

"...it leaves smoke written confessions, hanging in the air, dreams deferred, dissipating." Oh Brian, this line is exquisitely crafted...the whole story so intense.

Claudia said...

the smoke written confessions, hanging in the air made me swallow hard - and angry - volcano eruption mood!
so in case you wanna grab some torches, set the red brick castle on fire and free the princess...i'm in!!!

Kate Hanley said...

Very powerful and vivid.

Birdie said...

whatever violence, physical or psychical is always as heartbreaking ... I read Sophia's story in the comments and it is truly great that she can give hopes to many ... and I applaud you, once a more, for bringing up such a 'sensitive' subject Brian!

Pauline said...

your story makes me feel the same ugliness inside he must feel and leaves me wondering how to fix the broken ones, both of them...

Hilary said...

Such a powerful post, Brian. It sure makes you think about how we never know just what goes on behind the eyes of others.. unless we catch a glimpse.

Deidra said...

I think we're all holding our collective breath...hoping, praying, pleading for her to wake up.

I had a boyfriend in high school who could have worn that stretched and soiled white shirt. The school was on his side and - for me - it was a helpless place to be.

drybottomgirl said...

Very good, and like I said denial has to be one of the most powerful laws of the universe. It can destroy so much....sigh....

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Brian...
Brian said,"then the window is empty, the bus here, & i am just glad to catch a glimpse of her because one day i won't. she will either wake up or not get up, again. maybe tomorrow."

A wife abuser (a bully!)...She must try to leave, but where will she go?
She must leave...before it's too late.
Thanks, for sharing a very thoughtful post with your readers. ;-(
DeeDee :-)

Heather said...

a trophy beneath the tarnish...how sad. Really sad for those who suffer from any kind of abuse. your words are very powerful here. you really having an amazing way with words. xxoo

sheila said...

My mom was that woman. But not for very long. If it weren't for her courage, I might not have turned out to be a strong woman. :o)

My thought was also that I wished I drove that car.

Paul Andrew Russell said...

Wow, powerful stuff Brian.

Jannie Funster said...

That is one of the most heart-breaking things I have ever read, Brian.

I am so lucky to have what I do.

xo

Ed Pilolla said...

hitched a ride on the wrong star alright.

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Oh wow! This story really brought out the dark seedy side and reminded me of my volunteer times counseling women in abusive relationships. How helpless it made me feel whenthey stayed and returned. You captured it with a trophy prompt! Shakey and dark, but well written.

Jill said...

Pissed.

Fireblossom said...

"he leaves, chest puffed like he's king of the world, locking the door behind him, from the outside. smiling...smiling..."

Somehow this is the most disheartening part of all.

KB said...

Sad but true.

Cloudia said...

Chilling!

kkrige said...

You got some pretty powerful feedback here Brian. A story that too many know, wishing they could forget.

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

Oh man, my blood is boiling....powerful words...powerful message...of an awful reality.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Gulp! Very powerful story.

Cheers, jj

ladyfi said...

Oh gosh - so moving. Wonderful writing.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

It's hard not to wish that he gets the pulp beat out of him until he realizes the scars that he's left on her.

Gutwrenching, yet all the same, vivid and true and real, Brian!

BLOGitse said...

Sad but true.
We all want to be loved...

Paul C said...

Powerful choice of images. She a trophy beneath the tarnish, she hitched a ride on the wrong star, he a busted piece of space junk. Effective social commentary.

TechnoBabe said...

So many times people looking from the outside at a couple don't see the true story. I am so blessed to be married to a man who is honorable.

Goofball said...

you wish you could scream to her "Leave, leave now now that you still can"

but I'd probably not scream if I saw it

Pat said...

You paint such vivid pictures with your words. This was powerful.

Mighty M said...

So very grateful for my wonderful life. :)

shewriting said...

so very sad...I hope she escapes him some day...

Marla said...

I have dealt with guys like this. They usually don't like me much. Mission accomplished.