Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, Volume Two, December 2020.
Theresa Griffin Kennedy is a lifelong Portlander. She is a writer, poet, author, editor, publisher and abstract painter. She writes Gonzo Journalism from time to time, and focuses on literary fiction, memoir, crime history, restaurant history and confessional poetry. She was educated at Portland State University and lives in Portland with her husband, Don DuPay, also a writer and author, where they both continue to write and be published.
Laughing Scarecrow People
May 9, 2020
Dedicated to Miss Julie Generic
When your damage becomes your crutch, when abuse masquerades as love, you learn to let things go—the beauty of a freshly washed window, white roses in a clear glass vase, the elegant writing you hope to sprinkle on a blank page—that goes, too.
When your damage becomes your crutch, you let possessions go, as you head out alone, wandering the streets, meandering through avenues, letting the moments dissipate into one simmering ribbon of memories you share with no one, as you pass out to strangers antique books, brass opera glasses and the silver jewelry you never wear.
When your damage becomes your crutch, and you’re still holding out to be loved, the hours become one deep cauldron of blurry images and consumed time—becomes a video montage of screamers, and laughing scarecrow people all melting together into one single grimace as you continue down a dirt road, purple with shadows, and walking after dark, when you know you shouldn’t.
When your damage becomes your crutch, you drift away from things that might otherwise make you still—the shimmer of moonlight on Jade-colored nighttime water, the toxic rain that collects in the grooves of the petals of a rose, the perfume of a man who passes you on a downtown street, his handsome face made shimmering because of blonde hair and the sparkle of perspiration on a high clean peach colored forehead.
When your damage becomes your crutch, and abuse masquerades as love, you learn how to hobble alongside it. You walk hand in hand with it, talk to it; hear its murmurings, its suggestions. Alluring and always the same seductive lie, it promises you the unpromisable.
When your damage becomes your crutch, you believe the token promise of returning home, of redemption, of cure, of finally reaching sweet hope after being lost for so long.
When your damage becomes your crutch, you continue to walk in the direction of dim spent chances, and the crumbs of sweet fantasy, the final joke, the endgame illusions continue to mock, extends their hands, telling you they will help you, they will protect you, they will love you.
When your damage becomes your crutch.
Lush Silence, 2005
Silence is what I shall give you, lush and precious, finally the silence you claim to have longed for. To wonder what possessions I hold in the tender of my palm, what oils or salts I sprinkle into the bath water, opaque and bluish through sunlight.
To speak of me or think of me, when I am not present, this is what you will have and nothing more. The salaciousness of imagination is now my gift to you.
Things you can never know, will lead your moss-colored eyes to blank walls. Struggling to pass through windows, you will be blocked in ether and disallowed to enter. The darkness of my perfumed bedroom you will not be allowed to see.
The slate grey blinds and sheer curtains, over those portals will remain unmoved unfluttered by your invisible essence. The repainted metal bed, you caressed with both hands will remain unseen by you. It was only a momentary respite, filled with lurid desires spoken through your dim tongue. Fierce precepts of pursuing love, courageous and determined to take what you could, you fled with the penny purse, but by then, you were an extinguished shell, your eyes full of want as you peeked into other peoples windows.
I sought you in your various coves; strove to hand you back your pain. And with sweet revenge on my lips, I closed my eyes and felt the tears fall from your face, smiling as I did so. It was a promise made; now it is fulfilled. The moments have passed and it is, silence, quick in its consumption of time and fleeing from your rapidly.
As seductive as Laudanum is to the addict, the glittering liquid that never eases its claim, silence, only silence is now my gift to you.
© Theresa Griffin Kennedy