Tag Archives: sexual abuse

How To Deal With Monsters

As a kid I’d get scared
We all did I know
We feared a thing
called Monster
It’s origins unknown
Yes it could be
under the bed
in the closet
down the hall
but where did this
thing come from
all slimy sickly and slow
I thought it all over
I thought it through
real good
I though if I ever
actually meet the
I’d know just what
to do:
I’ll make friends
with it, I said
a monster seems
a lonely thing
now I know I
only wanted to
manipulate the
monster–get him
to stay under the bed.
Do we ever dream
up female monsters?
No I think we don’t
Do we have good reason to?
Sometimes, but mainly no
Amazing that I feared the
green and gooey
When monsters
were all around me
Well at least there
were one or two
But people called them
Grandfather, Neighbor
or just Joe
Rather than run
from them
call them out
or call the cops
we would roast
them chickens
fill their coffee,
clean their pots
Now I’m not saying
the women were angels
the men were devils
and that was that
but there’s something
to be said for fighting
not running
when things get bad
So if you ever meet
a monster
Don’t you listen to me
Instead of making friends,
you just be as loud as
you can be
Scream, shout, bite, tell it all
Don’t you hold a thing back
There are exceptions to this
rule, as life isn’t always
white and black
But use your rage and
use it good
Be wise beyond your years
Know that monsters come in
all sizes and ages
And this is how you know their near:
You feel it in your gut
it doesn’t have to be dark outside
The monster doesn’t have to
be scary
When you know
you know
you know
you know
And I know you know
what I mean
The sooner you tell
somebody about it
the sooner the monster
stops feeding
But even if it’s been
years and years
come out with the
thing and start
your healing


Did I dream her up?
I met her in the vegetable garden. It was sometime near my fifth birthday. I was fingering the dense pumpkin stocks and their broad leaves like wall insulation to the touch–misleadingly soft and cozy. Like a five year old herself.
She appeared there beyond the ripe orange globes.
She stared at me,  reached out to touch the vines.
She was my age. Her eyes spoke to me but her childmouth never moved. I admired her wetsand-colored curls as she told me that we were Identical. That he touched her too. That he came for her when he was done with me, that he came for me when he was done with her. She told me her name was Esther. Before I could respond, he pulled up in his Chevrolet. I crouched down in the path in my Autumn dress. I peeked my eyes above the garden greens as he pointed to the passenger door instructing her to get in. My eyes got big and wet, her dress was caught in the door, they drove down the dirt lane toward Hunter Creek and I shook but it wasn’t cold outside.

Hot & Cold & Nothing In-between

I want to be on
top of the world
but am unwilling
to climb even a mole hill
I want to grab IT by
the horns,
by the balls
but I’m either
too weak
or too disgusted
I want fame
but I am unwilling
to emerge from this,
dinged and dented, shell
I want Home Sweet Home
without paying a cent
I want love without
getting naked
I want it masked and
mysterious and
practically perfect
I want pleasure
and I want it to roll
and unfold forever
I want truth but I
like fantasy even better
I want respect,
I want it now,
and without having to give it
I want the Earth but I want
Starbucks to-go cups too
…and cars
I want family but not
red and green holidays,
smelly bathrooms,
ugly toes,
why don’t you’s,
chatter-induced headaches
and taking care of Dad…
I want friendship,
health, and happiness
but I refuse to go out
and get it

Villains Part II–The Rose Tree

old-door-linda-mcraeOn either side of the front door to the inky, smelly, dilapidated mansion were two hedge plants, taller than a very tall man and as wide as our pick-up. Now, hedge smells a certain way. Hedge smells a helk of a lot better than old folk, chewing tobacco and black coffee in oily mugs. I still lean in and smell a hedge whenever I get the chance, whenever I pass one by. I used to walk out of that smelly house and immediately bury my nose in the hedge.

For me hedge smells like freedom. The way a car radio sounds like freedom. The way my own personal set of apartment keys feels like freedom. The way an attractive man looks like freedom, foolishly. The way a cigarette tastes like freedom. I’d edit the illusions but they are my truths. These are the things in which I have identified freedom. Recognizing their traps and tricks, I have let at least one go. But I shall never let go of the rest.

As soon as the bitter note of hedge would meet my little girl nose I knew I was free. Free until dark. When I had to go back inside.

At first, shell-shocked, I would go as far from the mansion as I could. For a while my little bare legs would take me up creek to a bridge where I’d sit and watch the iridescent water saunter on by me. Hunter Creek. My dad was the first to show me Hunter Creek, of course. My dad showed me enough trails enough times thatart2 I knew how get to my Grandpa John’s house on Fizer Road, about two miles away–both by street and by trail. I also knew how to get to the elementary school and to the mouth of the Klamath River. I could probably get to the Mini-Mart too. I knew the best blackberry patches and where to find a mud bog so thick it could pass for quicksand. I told a couple boys in my first-grade class about the quicksand but they didn’t believe me. Boys were always challenging me. They thought I lied about things. The boys would stare at me for a good long while before excluding me from their games of kickball and football and other boy sports. I was always stuck between the boys and the girls but more drawn to the boy games and the boy talk. The playground attendant would tell me ‘you can’t play football ’cause you’ll scrape up your bare knees even worse. Come over here and play with the girls.’ Later I would stop wearing dresses and only wear jeans and stir-ups. As means to play with the boys.


Despite all the special places my dad showed me, places he’d gone to “when he was a boy”, I finally found my special place–a rose tree right in front of the mansion. It was a place where me and my best friend and cat, Kitty Rose, could both go. And dummies never saw us there. Hiding in plain sight, she and I, up in The Rose Tree.

The Rose Tree had a trunk about as big a’ round as my dad and branches as thick as necks. The bark was smooth and dusty. Until I met The Rose Tree I thought roses only grew on bushes. I also thought ‘every rose had it’s thorn’ that’s because I heard the song ‘Every Rose Has It’s Thorn’. So when we first started goin’ up there I would be weary, always looking for thorns. But there just weren’t any. Talk about magic.

I’d watch the old folk walk by, Kitty Rose and I perched at the top of The Rose Tree. The villains would mutter to themselves and look out to the fields, the hillside, the barn. They were looking for something, and I always wondered what. I knew it wasn’t me ’cause I didn’t matter til bedtime.


It was a big house but it was ugly. The house had inky-colored energy and smelled like old-people ass and chewing tobacco. True stench is thick. When you breathed you swallowed the stench. I had a bunch of male cousins growing up and my one cousin “John Boy” burped and I said “That smells so bad I can taste it!” He asked me, “Can you taste my farts too?” Boys were so gross. At six I didn’t know anyone who smelt worse than my boy cousins or my great grandparents. Fact I still don’t.

I had a special place. In Requa, I spent most my time outside, which nobody seemed to mind. Just had to be in by dark. Ish. I searched high and low for my special place. I knew my bedroom couldn’t be my special place since it was haunted. The inky-colored energy repelled me from that place. Rumor had it a woman slowly died of cancer in there. It was a bedroom Dad and I shared. We both had our own twin bed like we were brother and sister and we shared an old wooden dresser, other than that there was nothing in there. No toys. No photos. At night I would make my dad face me and watch for ghosts behind me. And I would face him and watch for ghosts behind him. Problem was my dad would fall quickly into slumber, tired from work at the road department. “Dad! Dad!” I would say, frightened white. “You’re not watching!”

There were a couple of rooms in the big, cold, inky, smelly, sad-memory-house that I wouldn’t even go in. One room had paintings of great aunt’s of mine that I didn’t really know. The one who lived on the hill behind us and talked to herself and the one who pulled her hair out piece-by-piece and the one who got away and never looked back. The eyeballs of the women in the paintings would follow me. Already an introvert, I didn’t want to be around anybody–even if they were just faces of paint. Hell, the paintings had more personality than the real women did. They smiled more.

Two other rooms had things in them that belonged to my great grandfather–I can’t even type his name out. Wayne. There. I did it. The room had Wayne’s things–rocks, stalactites, harmonicas, old newspapers, all disgusting things that I didn’t want to be around. Things I liked fine on their own but with his prints on them made me head in another direction. If only I could run in the opposite direction of him when I saw him. But I was raised up not to be rude. To respect your elders.

I didn’t want to be rude.
I didn’t want to be rude.

I tried to make the upstairs bathroom my special place but great grandma Faith had a big problem with that. I think she was worried I might drown in there, in the deep clawfoot tub. Drown like my father did. Before he came back to life. I didn’t realize the root of her concern until now. Tragedy upon tragedy.

I realllllly wanted my special place to be upstairs, because the villains couldn’t climb the stairs. But it was really just too inky up there. Downstairs wasn’t an option. Downstairs was a quiet battleground. Even when Dad came home from work I wasn’t safe cause the villains were that good. They were sneaky and I didn’t want to be rude.

What is a Dream?

You know those dreams you’ve had in life that you’ll never forget? I’m not talking about waking dreams (for once), I’m talking about sleeping dreams. For example, when I was about four years old I had a dream my dad picked me up in a hot air balloon and took me to Safeway to so we could buy some dream-mirror-dreams-can-come-true-31082814-900-900ABC soup, which was my favorite meal. Not much happened other than that but for some reason I’ve always remembered that particular dream. But why?

Then there are the recurring dreams–again, when I was just four years old, I’d say from four to six–which was actually a pretty traumatic point in my life–I would have this dream:

I’m in a dark dungeon. I’m lying on my back or my side and there are about five or six little elves running around and climbing all over my body. Above my head is a big roll of lead. Let me explain more: you remember Bubble Tape? They always had Bubble Tape on the rack at the grocery store at the check out stand. It’s like a carpenter’s measuring tape only made out of bubble gum. Yeah. That. So that’s what this big roll of lead is like. The little elves pry my big toddler mouth open, much to my resistance, and insert the end of the roll of lead into my mouth, shoving the lead down my throat. My throat expands and I choke but this goes on for what feels like hours and upon waking faintly taste lead in my mouth, metal in my throat.

I had this dream at least a few times throughout my childhood. I can’t help but notice–now I’m having a dream quite the opposite.

I had one just last night:dreaming-quotes-034

Sometimes it’s just me but sometimes, like last night, I’ll have an audience:

I’m back in Crescent City at a party and a lot of my friends are there–all grown up, having a good time, drinking beer by the river. I’m chatting with one of my male friends when I feel a noodle in my mouth. The flat kind–linguine. I put my index finger up to indicate “just a moment”, a break in the conversation if-you-will and reach into my mouth for the linguine. I grab hold of the linguine and tug. Well, that’s where my dream morphs into this recurring dream I’ve been having: pulling a never-ending mountain of noodles from my throat. The more I tug, the more I pull, the more noodles emerge. And just like in the lead dream–I can hardly breathe. My cousin Cevin and his friends approach and there I am, crouched down by a cedar tree, pulling out and vomiting up noodles, for what seems like forever.

What I appreciate about this new dream is this: it’s quite the opposite of my baby-Terah-lead-dream. Clearly, I’m letting it all out now instead of shoving it all in. For fun, I’ll retrieve my dream dictionary, The Complete Book of Dreams & Dreaming by Pamela Ball and interpret some of the imagery from both of these dreams:

Dwarf (sadly Elf was not available): A dwarf indicates a part of our personality which has not yet been integrated or has been left undeveloped. In a dream a dwarf denotes a part of ourselves which has been left damaged by painful childhood trauma or a lack of emotional nourishment.

art-lipstick-mouth-photography-teeth-Favim.com-349102Lead: The conventional explanation of lead appearing in a dream is that we have a situation around us which is a burden to us. We are not coping with life perhaps as we should be, and as a result it is leaving us heavy-hearted.

Throat: Dreaming of the throat denotes awareness of our vulnerability and also the need for self-expression.

Vomiting: Vomiting is a symbol of discharge and evil. We may have held on to bad feelings for so long that it has caused our spiritual system some difficulty.

I do believe there are connections between our dreams and our spiritual selves. I do believe that if you have, especially a recurring dream, you should pay attention to it and make changes to your life as needed. For example, if you are a man and you dream about a particular woman most nights, you need to explore your relationship with this woman. Or, if you dream about water, water, water, you should visit a spring or a sea–because your subconscious is begging for you to wet her.

Please, readers, share some of your dreams with me. I would love to use my dream book to provide you a little more insight into your subconscious. If you’re into that kind of thing.

Nighty-night. Sweet dreams.

It’s a Serious Life

I don’t know where I’m going
but I know exactly where I’m goin’

The nights are long and
that’s when I drive
even late afternoon is night these days.
I can see only the ground which
the headlights cover.
I just hope for the best
with the rest.

Most my truths come out
at night.
In the day my
truths hide behind
trees and buildings and
large people.
Only the children can see them
with their eyes wide open
their selves not afraid

I hope with all my heart that
any path I choose is right.
But I know that is wrong.
What I mean is, I know that
isn’t true.
I’ve seen enough
sad stories to know there’s
no “all part of a bigger plan”


So, you’re saying she was suppose to
die an alcoholic who felt like her
children didn’t love her

So, you’re saying the woman who
cannot conceive really isn’t meant
to be a mother
The woman with the nursery
and the money
and the heart
and the warmth

So, you’re saying he was
destined to die on his way
to his wedding

So, you’re saying 26 children
dying is all part of the plan?

Fuck you.

We act and there are consequences


People who claim it’s all
god’s will must’ve had their
asses wiped and their lunches packed

This is why I take my life so seriously.
One wrong move and
You end up where you
didn’t want to be.
Should’ve been drivin’ your own
train buddy, shoulda been in the
driver’s seat

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

When visiting the Eugene Public Library, a bi-monthly event, I sit down at a computer and do a quick search for memoirs. I snatch one of those little square white slips of paper and one of those baby pencils with no erasers and scrawl out the call number and the first four letters of the author’s last name. Usually the memoirs are found in section 921. I write down about 7 books, knowing that I’ll be unable to locate a couple of them, for whatever reason, and that one or two I’ll end up not liking at all, upon seeing the cover, upon reading the first few lines. I’ll leave with four books or so. I’ll get ’em home and read half of those. Right now, for example, I’ve got a book called Patty’s Got A Gun, it’s about Patty Hearst. I read a little bit but it didn’t catch me because, as intriguing as the story is, I already know the gist of it and the author’s writing isn’t making me feel like he’s going to tell me anything new. The author’s writing. The author’s writing.

I used to be a big believer in fate. Not so much in destiny really, but that if I sort of held my hands out in front of me and closed my eyes and slowly walked (figuratively, for the most part) toward the places and people and trees and parks and coffee shops that felt good, that felt right, warm, light, loving, that I would end up where it was appropriate for me to be that if I had mindlessly walked into life that day. That I would end up where I was supposed to be. I used to look for signs everywhere pointing me to these places. I used to keep my eyes wide-open. I used to. I used to. That was a long time ago. Since then I’ve realized that I hold the power, regardless of how spiritually mindful I am being or not, to make things happen in my life, to change things, to get what I want, to make decisions. It’s almost as if it’s entirely up to me, and not depending upon the Universe at all. This took a while to come to terms with, being that I was raised up by such a religious father. My father always told me things like “God will take care of it.” Now, whether it was the Universe leading me to Lidia Yuknavitch’s book or that I just happened upon it: I feel that this was meant to happen. Not predetermined, just meant to happen. At this time. Not one month ago, not one year from now. Now. I’m having one of those: ohmigod, what if I had never come across this book/person/story/insight feelings.

Let me tell you more…when I did that computer search for memoirs roughly a week and a half ago I came across a book description that mentioned something about a drowning. A drowning? Hey–I know about a drowning! My Dad drowned, wait, almost, you know, not quite. Done. I wrote down the call number and the letters YUKN. My boyfriend was with me that day and he and I set out to find my memoirs. If I remember right, he found the first memoir, handed it to me, I mentioned something about it having a beautiful cover, and I tucked it under my arm, almost instinctively. I got that book about Patty Hearst, which had been mistakenly filed under her last name, like it was her book, like it was a memoir. I didn’t look twice at that book, it was like once I had Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water, I was all ready to go home and start reading.

When I began reading the book, I was instantly impressed with Lidia’s poetic writing. I said aloud to my boyfriend in the car, “she just called her still-born baby ‘little dead girlfish’. That’s awesome.” I looked at him and quickly said, “but not, you know, of course, but, I mean, who does that? Nice...” We got home and I put the book away and got busy for a few days with a ballet recital and family visiting and I forgot about the book. Not entirely of course. I picked it back up and got sucked into the story when I discovered that Lidia’s father was some sort of incest rapist. Love that. Hate that. Hate that. Hate that. Of course. But does it make for good reading? Yes. Some people (like my great aunts and grandma’s and grandpa’s) like to cover things up and ignore them and pretend like they never happened like an unmarked grave but I like to investigate the story a little bit. As much as it hurts and makes me puke in my mouth. I’m on page 195 and Lidia’s drawn out her family’s story like my Dad used to do with his loogies over a bridge (ew, gross) and I still don’t know what did or did not happen. I still don’t know if when Lidia’s dad took the family to Mount Rainier to get a Christmas tree if her sister’s face got all red and teary because she fell down and hit her rib on a rock or if her dad had just fucked her face. That’s how good Lidia is…she still hasn’t told us. Me? I wrote my sex abuse scene all in one chapter, titled it “Does that tickle?”

I’ve got a lot to learn from Lidia Yuknavitch. Just like she had a lot to learn from Ken Kesey. About one-quarter way through the book, Lidia moves to Eugene. Eugene! That’s where I live! I’ve read other books where people move to Eugene but within a page or two they pick up and move somewhere else, like I’ve sometimes wanted to do. But Lidia, she stayed. Lidia knows that where a person lives does not make or break them. Unlike me, Lidia doesn’t say “I just feel like I’m supposed to be somewhere else” or “It will all come together when I live there and am doing that.” Lidia stays in Eugene for a decade or more and starts off going to creative writing classes at the U of O, classes that she isn’t even paying for, isn’t even signed up for, and she learns that although she feels like she can’t do anything right, she can write. She can write. Lidia stays in Eugene and she learns how to write, amidst a sea of people she feels she is nothing like. She goes to seminars with a flask tucked in her pocket and she fucks the author speaker, man or woman, at the Best Western down the road, the same Best Western where my family just stayed at when they were in town, visiting. She drives the same road I do to get to the coast and she lives in the same neighborhood, just closer to the train tracks.

I google Lidia Yuknavitch and discover that she was recently at the U of O presenting a lecture at the Memoir Fest. I knew about the Memoir Fest but decided not to go because it’s on campus and you know, I’m so above and beyond that and what does campus want with me anyway? I should’ve tucked a flask under my arm and gone. I should’ve, I should’ve.

I read some more and discovered that Lidia Yuknavitch has a Writer’s Workshop! In Portland! In September! It’s not full yet and it’s happening, it really is, on Tuesday’s, at 6:30! (If you can’t tell, I totally plan on going. And if you don’t know me, know that when I say I’m going, I go. I’ll just pretend to hear your “I’m so happy for you!” Dude, it only costs, like 150 bucks.)

I haven’t finished reading the book yet. When I have a good book I like to draw it out like my dad’s loogy. Speaking of dad’s…remember how Lidia’s book description talked about the tragedy around drowning, or almost drowning? That was her dad, her dad almost drown. She still hasn’t gotten back to that. It’s sort of hanging out in the air. I want to know what happened but I wouldn’t imagine most readers do, because nobody cares, because he was a rapist. Lidia’s got a lot of loose ends to tie up in this book, but whether she does or doesn’t, I don’t care. That’s how good this book is. I can dig any book that talks about broken women and lots of sex and S & M and men and women that behave like men and writing and drugs and more drugs and hope and hopE and hoPE and hOPE and more HOPE and VICTORY. I can dig a book that breaks all the rules. I can dig Lidia Yuknavitch.