Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I See It Now (Divorce, break-up poem)

I See It Now

By Nordette N. Adams

Today, I understood why I never
speak to you or let you see me
or let me see you. My understanding
is the color of strange red pearls
strewn across my yellow belly.

I sing a coward's song.

Today I knew that what I feel for you
is not hate, like you think,
but fear that if I trust
a civil word between us,
you will break the last piece
of my heart, the part your treacherous
heel missed the first time and left.

I am wise in cowardice.

Today you crossed my mind
and I imagined laughing at your joke
after knowing what I had to say
in the morning would be a line
that made you smile at noon
if you were still the you I
once risked life to love.

You are pollen.
I am allergic.

You are saturated fat.
I am a fragile artery.

You are extravagance.
I am a pauper.

© 2009 Nordette N. Adams

Cross-posted at AuthorsDen.com

Honestly, I wrote this poem a few nights ago when I was working on something and suddenly my ex crossed my mind because it was the kind of thing he would have appreciated or laughed at, and it dawned on me that because I refuse contact with him, he probably thinks I hate him, but that's not why I avoid him. I avoid him because I don't want to be fooled into thinking we can get along. He did things during the divorce process and afterward that made trusting him impossible.

A simple affair or a husband/wife deciding they just want to be with someone else is a betrayal of trust, yes, but mature adults can overcome that. It's how you go about the breaking up process that really shows your character.

If you try to grind the other person into a grave and do deeds that indicate extreme malice, if you perpetuate deception and draw in allies to make it a war, then there's no going back from that to a place of trust on any level. There's barely space for civility.

And if you're the kind of person who shows respect and goodwill through money, and everybody knows that's your modus operandi and you then use money as a weapon, such as saying you can't buy food for your own children when you've got tens of thousands of dollars in the bank and are taking vacations with your new significant other, then all hopes of any future bridge building are off. You've burned the bridge and every timber that could possibly rebuild it.

I know myself. I'm the kind of person who makes excuses for people. I pseudo-psychoanalyze, make allowances for what I've done wrong and how I hurt them, and decide to forgive and love. The problem with that is if the other person has done no introspection him or herself, and they don't know the root cause of their own malevolent deeds, they will do a similar malevolent deed again in some shape or other if they want something and your life happens to be in the way. If they do no soul searching of their own about how they treated you, then nothing about their nature changes.

Think of the story of the man who feels sorry for the snake, picks it up, gets bitten and is surprised that the snake bit him. What does the snake say? "Well you knew I was a snake."

Or as Mama Angelou said, "The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them." Nothing will show a man's true colors like how he handles his divorce.

I applaud people who maintain friendship with an estranged spouse and have genuine concern for their children despite a pending divorce or final divorce because I think it's possible to remain friends with old lovers and old husbands. It's especially possible if your parting is treated with the dignity of a funeral rather than the brutality of an ax murder. Often it's not what you do but how you do it that makes the difference.


lilalia said...

Thanks for the poem and the post. You are right, about the broken trust and how marvelous it is to see people divorce in a civil manner. I've only witnessed this once in my life, therefore I think of it as an anomaly. Generally, divorces that I've known (or experienced) have been somewhere between the bad and worse categories.

I just know that there was one time years after battling with my son's father that we had a conversation where we shared a heartfelt laugh. Boy, did I end that telephone call quickly. It was something like the experience of smoking one cigarette after having quit ten years before... I presumed it would be gawd awful... it was bliss. In both cases, I left the experience shaken and forewarned and never ever put myself in that position again. You can forget so much, the pain and the blame, but it is harder to forgive someone who has battered your dignity.

Great post.

PoeticTransfers said...

Pauper and coward the speaker in this piece definitely is not. Such clarity of deduction and understanding can only come from rich depths of spiritual, emotional and intellectual intelligence that probably beggars the paucity of the commitment that was offered. I love the turn with the change of pace and style of the final lines, expressing that most uncomfortable and unwelcome truth - that that which we most desire is often at odds and incompatible with that which is necessarily good for us. Acute and tender imagery for a bruising subject. So good to read you as always, Nordette. xx

From Kate Burnside

Jamatull said...


I loved your poem and your post, it was great. Thanks for sharng. It would be lovely if people could always remain civil after a divorce,unfortunately, this is not always the case.

I decided to be civil with my ex-husband and it was the WRONG decision. Some how being civil turned into "friendship". Not only did he not deserve it, keeping in touch with him hindered me from getting over him, healing and moving on. It was definitely a lesson learned.

Again, thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more from you.