Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day - Love vs. War

The early years of my emotionally abusive1st marriage were particularly painful for me.  I was very suicidal then and I refer to those years as the ‘dark place’.  In 2005, I decided I needed to face and exorcise the demons that still haunted me (because I had not dealt with them) and I started to write poems that expressed the pain, anger, fear, sadness, etc. from that time.  Many of them are part of "Shadows on the Carpet".

In anticipation of this Memorial Day, I am sharing a poem from “The T. Collection – A Retrospective" which is a series of 15 poems about an extra-marital relationship spanning approximately one year. A relationship that saved my life – literally.  I resolved to highlight mostly positive elements in these short ‘vignettes’.

I am also sharing an audio of my reading of this poem with music and mix by Extra Sensory Perception (David Ames).

Love vs. War


You came back from Vietnam
Severely battered but not broken
photo taken by T.
Aged beyond your years
You had lied about your age
To fight against the ideology
That occupied your native land
For a nation that gave you a home
In a country that was just the battleground

I recognized you as a special breed
You loved in ways I couldn’t appreciate
Giving yourself fully to me
While I was another’s wife
Willing to take on his responsibilities
Believing we could heal each other
Not realizing that his not loving me
Made it easier to manipulate me to stay

I never forgot that look on your face
The sound of your voice raging with pain
I believe something in you broke that day
Something the horrors of war couldn’t touch
But love had brought you to your knees
Made you vulnerable to an extreme
And I wasn’t certain that you could get back up
Yet I couldn’t regret choosing my son over you

I saw you once on the street five years later
Carrying your briefcase just as I remembered
I had just had my second child with him
I hesitated before turning the car around
Just long enough for you to disappear
A trace – an English Ovals cigarette butt – left behind
At home I pulled out photographs and jewelry
As I listened to tapes you had made for me – I wept

I often wondered what you did with your life
Between the time I saw you last and your death

© Alice Vedral Rivera - 2006

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