A Brisk Walk

When in an instant

the best of what makes you

is gone.

A brisk walk

to a hospital room.

The unfamiliar faces

that greet you.

The pain gripped hopeless

to each chest

in a symposium of falling

and never truly rising again.

The silent truth

in every eye

as the floor cages them,

locked in

and flailing

with incompetence.

The storm crashing

in your heart,

with thunderous longing

pressed forever

between those four walls.

A brisk walk

to another hospital room.

The body whose soul

you cannot return

because it is not yours

to inherit or release.

The burden you carry

like a terminal illness

until your fate

follows her

into that goodnight.
©2016 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Verbal Vomit

One more second-offense, double-felony child abuser got off the hook without serving jail time today. It just goes to show that if you have two whole brain cells, then you are smart enough to play the system and get out of just about anything with a slap on the wrist! All you have to do is embrace your white male privilege and avoid breaking probation, then you too can dodge a potential 15 year sentence! It helps if you’re good at pretending to have a conscience, too. All sociopaths are welcome to apply, please inquiry the Dishonorable Judge Kevin Lyons for your application. If you or someone you know was a victim, please take a number and step aside. We have an obligation to uphold the rights of perpetrators while we are busy ignoring yours.  Now, here’s a fucking poem.

 

I am not flesh.
I am constant waking
between hotel rooms
and this day,
feet haunting floors
that haven’t been walked
for years.
Today I am a muzzle
wrapped lullaby
commemorated by
cold fingertips,
words of forgiveness,
hands that can not,
will not.
Dark places
you were erased from
have summoned you again.
Everything in circles,
everything in you,
layers of memory
and ghosts.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: 2015

That’s a wrap.  I made it through an entire month of writing a poem in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month every single day.  It was grueling, exhausting, insightful, healing, and full of dark and light places.  Here is a directory to each of these baby steps, as well as the original introduction from 2013 so that anyone who stumbles upon this project wondering what has happened here can gain some insight.  Join with me next year for Code Purple: 2016?  Same bat time, same bat channel.

The original introduction:

I had promised the world that, with the reinvested vigor NaPoWriMo brought to my craft, I would dedicate a poem a day during the month of October (the nationally recognized Domestic Violence Awareness Month) in honor of this cause.  I will do my best to advocate, educate, and promote the overall welfare of domestic abuse survivors and the impact domestic abuse has had on their families and communities.

I strongly encourage my readers to share and promote this cause.  Support your local domestic violence shelters through donations, volunteer work, and simply by educating yourself.  Know what resources are available to you and your community so that you can play an important role in the prevention and awareness of domestic violence.
The purple ribbon donned in the month of October is a symbol to recognize, honor, and remember every volunteer, caseworker, counselor, shelter coordinator, etc who is advocating every day for the victims, survivors, and casualties of this worldwide epidemic.  Let us band together with them to end the violence NOW.

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five
Day Six
Day Seven
Day Eight
Day Nine
Day Ten
Day Eleven
Day Twelve
Day Thirteen
Day Fourteen
Day Fifteen
Day Sixteen
Day Seventeen
Day Eighteen
Day Nineteen
Day Twenty
Day Twenty One
Day Twenty Two
Day Twenty Three
Day Twenty Four
Day Twenty Five
Day Twenty Six
Day Twenty Seven
Day Twenty Eight
Day Twenty Nine
Day Thirty
Day Thirty One

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Code Purple: Day Thirty One

Leaving
is rarely the end.

Take the time
to piece yourself back together,
because you will need
everything you are
to survive.

Gather your family.
Reach out to friends you’ve lost.
Build a storm to surround you,
and then strike your enemy down.

Let your knees shake–
we will hold you up.

But stand.
No matter what happens.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Thirty

You are
the anti-poem.

A dying light
in the backseat
of my soul.

The tundra–
cold and unmoving.

A mirror showing
the true nature
of words.

Everything
you said I was.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Nine

Power
is the name of love
to a madman.

Beyond selfish.
Beyond control.

He is
no more caring
than he is destructive.

There is no reason
he will not defy
with sick logic.

He will insist on being right.
He will insist on proving you wrong.

He will charm you
until you trust him,
then he will keep you up all night
explaining why you
cannot be trusted.

He will give
for awhile,
but afterward
will only take.

He will destroy
everything you love
to hurt you.

Leave.

By any means
you have.

(What doesn’t kill you
will only make you stronger).

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Eight

I am drifting
into that space where
things I once recognized
lose continuity.

I am formed
by opinion,
perceived
by judgment.

Where, then?

I am losing shape,
becoming more
of what others
fail to see.

Do not give up on me,
I am only pale
indifference.

I am only
misunderstood
and delicate,
mute
from the inside.

My grey and sad
needs you
to look closer.

I am still here.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Seven

In the rain,
I feel hidden.
Enveloped
in a blanket
of grey.
The streets
are safe again,
and every face
is a stranger.
I can walk anywhere
and never fear
being caught
in a web
of past transgressions.
I am free
to live
and to inhale
the tears
of the sky
as they meld
with mine,
two beautiful strangers
in the night.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Six

Resilience–
it is the ultimate achievement
for hurting souls
with nothing much
to guide them.
Despite the odds,
I have seen this transformation
in the most unlikely
of faces.
Sometimes,
a single gesture of kindness
can recover
a lifetime of loss.
Learning to look
in the direction of hope, without
the slightest reason
can save fragile lives,
and the most joy
can be derived
from watching them bloom.

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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Code Purple: Day Twenty Five

I walk between
dream and day,
not always knowing
where I am.

I awake
with the same dream
in my heart,
but repeatedly,
and I am lost
in daylight.

How much longer
is this night?

©2015 Jessica Stephenson All Rights Reserved

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