Death Defying Poetry

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A personal learning experience we were required to write for a college English class.

Submitted: February 10, 2010

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Submitted: February 10, 2010

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Death Defying Poetry
Screeching tires and screaming voices vibrate through my skull so that nothing can overcome the feeling of the pulse in my neck. The beating comes quick and hard, like my heart is trying to escape its ribcage. I realize I am panicking and cannot move, rooted to the spot like a tree. My vision goes blurry and a sweet, dripping smell of fear reeks from every pore in my body. It is almost too late when I see the car backing down my grandmother’s driveway towards me, directly in my path, not attempting to break with my dad behind the wheel. Out of the craziness I can hear a single, pushing voice, “Don’t move, Katelyn! Do not move! He will stop! He can’t actually run you over!” My mom is frantic as she watches everything she always feared come true right before her eyes. Somehow I find a way to control my vision and with one quick assessment I can tell he does not intend to stop. It is in the gleam of his eyes in the side mirror, so angry and cold. It is in the cruel laughter of the woman sitting next to him, her bright blue eyes icy and pure evil looking triumphant in the other mirror. It is then I realize my own eyes are wet with tears, dirty streaks down my face.
“You better move, you little b****! You had better f****** move! I am not going to stop! I will not let you stop me! You are just like your mother!” My dad’s words came quick and harsh, shattering my dreams in a way that I never thought he could do. I felt the distinct ripping of my heart, to which I had grown up accustomed, from early childhood experiences. It never before felt so permanent. With my senses on overload and the seconds ticking away, I closed my eyes and took a deep steadying breath. I knew that on some level my mom was right; he would never run me over. However, given the circumstances, I could not take the chance that he would stop two seconds too late and ruin Mother’s Day even more than he already had. So I made a choice, something that in the coming days I would be doing a lot of. Briskly, I stepped out of the path of the moving car. He sped up and the tires squealed once more as he tore out of the driveway and drove off into the distance…
My breath came in short quick puffs as I startled awake at my desk. My forehead was covered with a slick sheen. The latest creation laid out before me with a wet spot where my head had rested. Once again I was reliving the day my father found a new low for showing his unwavering love for me, the Incident had become a mental movie that was stuck on replay. The only way I felt better was when I was writing; releasing the torment trapped inside on some fictional character, however the stores were never finished because my situation was never over. As creating similar situations to alter history became boring, the feelings got built up inside of me, an explosion waiting for the trigger. But for those few weeks no one, including my mother, father, and his evil temptress, could reach me. I retreated inside myself. Comforted solely by the rush of ink on the page that dried as quickly as sixty-second nail polish I would not speak, only the pen met the paper to pour out my tormented soul.
“She needs to talk to us, Ken.” The witch would say while I was visiting for the weekend. “She needs to understand our situation before she becomes delusional.” That comment of course ignited a new hatred that burned fiery, red-hot coals in me and stirred an unrelenting want to respond. So I did; I went home and told my mother everything. Together, my mom and I made the decision forcing my father to come to me for visitation; his lovely new lady was not allowed near our home. However, even closing the chapter on every other weekend traveling to Indianapolis was not enough to quench the insatiable anger; I had only one more thing to turn to that could keep me sane.
Not long before the whole “near death” experience, a good friend of mine shared a deep dark secret with me, the secret of poetry. Something short and to the point had never before seemed capable of conveying every thought and feeling cooped up like a tiger at the zoo inside of me. He taught me the power of a few words focused together and maybe a simple catchy rhyme, then he bought me a journal. It was simple and slate-blue in color with one-hundred-and-fifty large and beautiful blank pages. Best of all, it was mine to use as I saw fit. I refer to it now as my Escape and Salvation. The poems inside told about my feelings of the close call and many other incidents that followed it due to my parents’ recent divorce.
I sat up into all hours of the night trying to make sure every single word came out right. Pencils quickly lost their erasers and when writing in ink, thousands of papers were wasted. Only final drafts made it into the precious and sacred place. When I learned that my father was coming back into my life and remarrying my mother, the fire was stirred once more. I turned to a blank page in my journal and let my emotions create the words, “Gone three years away / Dead to me you stay… Anger still rises in my throat / Pain you left / Pain you still bring…” to vent how much I did not want him to come home just as things were settling down and becoming a new normal. It seemed as if I would run out of paper to contain all the fear and resentment, like the vicious cycle would never end.
However, as poem after poem was written, I began to heal a little bit more. They provided a way to specifically focus on one thought that attacked me that day and expand upon it, like my own personal guidance counselor. The healing process had finally begun and the pieces of my broken heart were on the mend once more. While a few pieces were lost in the process, my heart will never be whole again, but it functions and is as strong as ever.
The journal provided more than a page to unleash my creative fury, but also a mental escape. It was my best friend, the only one I could turn to and feel safe sharing my secrets through every up and down. But most of all, those pages kept me a safe distance away from the edge; saved me from retreating to a point of no return.
Flipping back through the numerous entries, I feel at rest. The mayhem that consumed my life was tucked safely away into a small slate-blue safe haven, summarized in only a few powerful and emotional poems. I am at peace with my father, although I can never forget what happened. The words allowed me to go from boiling to room temperature and made forgiveness possible. Bringing an escape route and salvation, writing poetry allowed me to avoid suicide and eternalize the bombarding feelings of a near death experience.


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