Wisconsin Tragedy (Slenderman)
Where does real begin?
At a mother’s breast
First dip in a pool
First lick from a puppy
Where did unreal begin?
The shotgun off-screen but
your parents were there
to hold your hand and
dry your tears and
talk about how movies aren’t real
Where does the new unreal begin?
Parents turn on the TV
and tune out their kids
The video games seductive
Playing pimp or dealer with
a steady aim and BLAM
And all the women are whores
Where does real begin now?
The Internet, shady Slenderman
A sick fantasy with lots of fans,
lots of kids, is calling the shots
Real is unreal
Fantasy is reality
Parents are clueless
Kids rule their own worlds
Worlds of pain and loneliness
Worlds their parents don’t
care to think about
Boomers, we were lonely too
But we had trees to climb
and time and time
© 2014 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For ABC Wednesday, the letter “W.” I wish this was not a true story. I wish it did not involve 12-year-old girls trying to kill their friend because some sick person told them to do it and they believed in Slenderman more than God. For those who aren’t in the States, two girls were convinced by a fictitious character (whose stories are all over the Internet, written by hundreds of people) that to enter his “club,” they had to kill someone. Whoever created Slenderman in the first place is sick enough, but whoever dangled this bloody carrot should rot in jail. The girl survived. Her friends (being tried as adults) left her for dead but she crawled to a roadside. She is home now, but psychologically, who knows what is in store for this poor kid?
This was in the suburbs. Waukesha is in the heart of the Christian Right, Paul Ryan’s land. I pray for the soul of my state, even as I reside in the “hippie district.”
I lost a week in there with oral surgery (no, they didn’t sew my mouth shut, but I know of a few people who wish they had!). But I used last week’s Sunday Whirl words, which I will share with dverse and Imaginary Garden With Real Toads’ Open Link Monday.
My friend Rev. Tisha is working on a program concerning violence against women. Please feel free to forward poems to me by email – either paste the poem in the message or attach. Here is an example, and I can only say that, as a survivor of a different type of violence, these girls huddle in a corner of my soul. Peace, Amy
SECRET TO SURVIVAL
torn from the cradle of mothers’ arms
peering past bad circumstances
to their survival in exile was the stories
Pry open clues with claws forged of need
of memory, tiny green apples
as unripe as they. Their rash hope:
would comfort them as they endured
man after man on a filthy mattress
were their only treasure, clutching and reciting
concocted tales of their shared princess-like past…
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
Little Lajwanti Lost (Brothels of India)
Plucked from family tree
nowhere near ripe
Sold to brothel
She aches, lacerated
Beaten if she says “no”
Infected if she says “yes”
Enslaved since she was five
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
I saw a PBS special last night that changed my life. Although the perpetrators of violence against women in this film are mostly dark-skinned, it’s not a racist film – those who know me understand I’m open and outspoken about my own childhood sexual abuse, and we have plenty of work to do around the unearned shame of victims and survivors Stateside. This is about girls in Asia and Africa who lack support of any kind, who through no fault of their own are disowned by families after being raped, who are sold by families or total strangers into prostitution… and the brave women and men who risk all to come to their defense.
“Lajwanti” is a Hindi name that means “a sensitive plant.” I chose the name for the specific irony of the fate of mostly lower-caste girls. The sex slave trade in India is protected by local police bribery and fought by a lion-hearted woman named Somaly, who as a young girl was sold into slavery and now runs a refuge for the girls they are able to spring from the brothels. She says, “They are me.”
The PBS special about the film, Half The Sky, is not to be viewed with popcorn and brewskis. It is a brutally frank account of violence against women, from culturally sanctioned rape to girls as young as five sold into prostitution worldwide. From the brothels of India to the rape of girls as young as two years old in Sierra Leone (where to “devirginize” a girl is a matter of pride for the man), this film also shows some real-life heroines who deserve our support. Please click the link above to learn more.
There are stars, beginning with George Clooney’s commentary, along with several female stars traveling to witness and comfort the rescued girls. A tremendous scene: A former prostitute who was rescued, now aged 15, confronting a roomful of men and quizzing them on why condoms are useful. She even shows them how to open the packet without damaging the contents and looks them straight in the eye. Like I said, lion-hearted women.
If you want to help this vital movement on behalf of half the world’s population, visit THIS LINK.
As a “little white suburban girl” who was used for sex by her own father, I can tell you this: Look behind the siding of houses in your own neighborhood. Men who use girls (and boys) without conscience are everywhere, often trusted family friends or family members, scout leaders, upstanding clergy, teachers…
I am eternally grateful for this prompt, from Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, where Mama Zen asked for a poetic drama in 30 words or less, and Roger at ABC Wednesday (L). Also at my safe haven, Poets United.