Baby Michelle Was Melodramatic – Incompetence

Content Warning/Trigger Warning: poem contains domestic abuse and murder

It’s time for some poetry! We are going to go back through all my old notebooks and look at the god-awful poetry I wrote when I was an angsty teen. Unfortunately, this one will not be fun or lighthearted so if you are not in the right mental space for it, that’s okay. Please take care of yourself first.

Incompetence

A wan smile twists your lips
Her baggy shirt shows only her fingertips
Though the searing heat of July
Raises the thermometer to an all time high

Empty conversation follows
Cookies and tea she barely swallows
I watch her closely with fear
There is nothing to suggest cheer

The man has drained her of life
He plays with her, his well tuned fife
Fists, I know have colored her unseen skin
His tyrannical ways have made her thin

Easily he makes her dance to his tune
Nothing as graceful as a loon
But a macabre dance of darkness
That is the reason for her paleness

My delicate cup clatters in the saucer
I know the look in her eye, I’ve lost her
Tears blur the view of my cherished friend
Though she looks the other way, I cannot pretend

I open my mouth to give protest
But then in he walks, the man I detest
All warm and smooth, like honey
Everything about him screams money

Long, lean fingers dig deep
But no complaints are issued, not a peep
A deep, dark rage swamps me
For her sake I can’t let it free

My fists itch to demolish his control
To snap him from his powerful role
Slowly torture him for all he’s done
Throw him in a fiery pit hotter than the sun

I want his blood, warm and sticky
Splattered everywhere, I’m not picky
The urge to beat him into a pulp persists
I stand, “I have to go.” I insist

Out on the street I pause
And unsheathe my claws
With focused rage I destroy
Anything in sight, making it his decoy

Hours later I sit at home
Thinking of you, all alone
Suddenly someone calls
I see the number and my heart falls

I pick up and hear her screaming
A body thuds against something
Crack! Snap! It breaks apart
Obscenities bellowed

Dropping the phone I run
Keys and a gun I palm
The drive takes forever
I throw her into park

Dash up the stairs two at a time
Havoc I see, has been wrought
Left I turn and see a flash of silver
He stabs down as I shoot

Hurriedly I shove his carcass off her
Hysterical I sob her name
I dare not remove the wicked blade
Three numbers dialed

Flashing lights
Too late
She’s gone
Because I was incompetent


I was very tempted to skip this poem because of how problematic it is, but the truth is that under quarantine domestic abuse is increasing. A terrible catch-22 is created, you have to stay home to be safe from COVID-19, but home is not safe because of the person who lives with you. It was something that I was privileged enough to not even think about, until it was brought to my attention. If you are at a place (physically, mentally, emotionally) where you can learn more about this, I recommend listening to NPR’s episode on domestic abuse during coronavirus.

As I am sure some of you may have realized, my high school poem is very problematic, but it is a high schooler’s view of abuse. I will admit I can see the heavy influence of Martina McBride’s Independence Day in this poem. Honestly, there is a lot of country music influence. I can easily think of a handful of country songs that deal with domestic abuse in much the same way (not all of them contemporary to this poem):

  • Goodbye Earl – The Dixie Chicks
  • Concrete Angel – Martina McBride
  • Alyssa Lies – Jason Michael Carroll
  • Church Bells – Kelly Clarkson
  • Black Eyes, Blue Tears – Shania Twain

Domestic abuse isn’t all physical. It can be mental, emotional, sexual, or financial. There are elements to it that are completely invisible to anyone on the outside. I think that it is also important to keep in mind that there are people who are also in relationships that they might not realize are abusive or unhealthy who are now in 24/7 contact with their partner. I don’t really have any answers or advice, but I found the NPR episode listed above very helpful. If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline:

National Domestic Violence Hotline

Trained advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.

Call 1-800-799-7233 or click here.

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