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Survival after violence is a silent
life of struggle, without understanding.
Victim’s wander aimlessly searching
for some meaning, always to hear the echo
of the act. We grapple for some bearings
to ease our pain…find effacement of the sacred.

Plagued by crime’s harm, a schism severs the sacred
essence of life, requiem bequeathing deathly silence
in its place. Emptiness is all that’s left to bear
the sorrow. Others look aghast without understanding
the great pain behind staccato’s high-pitched echo
blinding body and soul to trudge on the lonely search.

Trauma’s maze captures us into an implacable search
for innocence lost. Intractable malaise obscures sacred
avenues of escape, harangues acappella an insistent echo
to force life off kilter. It’s voice grows increasingly silent
and painted black. Great losses implode any understanding
as we reel helter skelter…distress falls oblique onto bearings.

The load has multiplied ten fold. Too great for us to bear
we cry out weary of the constant travels in our long search
for meaning to our pain. Finally we glean some understanding
when revelations come. Elevated thoughts give rise to the sacred;
creative words emerge, exquisite release unleashing the silent
pathos, quieting the angst eternal, reducing the drumming echo.

Insight clears a view, weakens the cascading tumble of the echo
to lighten the overload of hurt, so we can clear off the dusted bearings,
loosen the strings binding anger uncontrolled, a victim still in silence.
Rewards of the constant vigilance, our answers creep out of the search
brandishing new pathways never cleared before to the sacred
life left behind, speaking inescapable clarity so we understand.

Exalted in the verse that brings all victim’s to understand
their plight is the horrible truth played by evil in the echo
following a victim’s flight. Alone yet visible this night of sacred
flashing constantly before hurt eyes, the very sacred bearings
needed to live life for which the scattered harm has searched:
forgive evil deeds, pray for the bystanders, an entreaty for the silent.

A survivor lives again when the sacred sings, our SACRED BEARINGS.
Wisdom sparks out of violence an infinite understanding, censuring the echo
rewards a balm of healing on the search, a victims great relief from silence.

9/01/00 Karen Duquette

Click here to see more poems and prose by Karen

“This was my new beginning and what came forth yesterday morning as I lit my 5 candles for the New Year 2003. It was one of those suspended moments….those outside the self…all I could do was put words to what was out-picturing in my mind and then came a gentle release and a knowing that all is in perfect Time…in perfect Balance”

Julie Johnson

The Dance of the Awakener

Your warm whispers breathed over me…I love you….I love you.
The tone of Your voice, the warmth of Your consistent caring
began to melt away the icy caverns that protected my soul.
You, my Awakener, exposed the Center of my heart and the beat began. Opening my eyes….unable to clearly focus after a millennium of slumber…
I became transfixed on your illusion.

You felt my reluctance and…
ever so quickly Your pulsating energy enveloped me in a veil of trust.
Your steadfastness encouraged me and I opened more fully.
I felt safe for the first time in my adult life….I felt safe.
You my Awakener played Your role magnificently.

Around and around the spiral walk paced
until my heart danced to full rise.
You taught me how to feel again…
to love again…
to go below the surface of the illusion where we are all One.
We… are One with the flowing dance of life.
We Re-membered!
Thank you Awakener, thank you!
I’m awake enough, strong enough to be on my way now…
Given renewed opportunity…
I remember what I came here to do.

2003 Julie Johnson, Email: autumnsekahawk@aol.com
Taken from The Healing Journal: A guide to journaling, childhood sexual
abuse, and recovery.

“Rebuilding your life is the best way to reclaim your power. Writing and
honoring your healing process will give you a record of your progress and a
unique expression of yourself. “

Take Back The Night
Look into my eyes
Gaze deep within my Soul
Can you see the devastation
How rape takes its toll.

I’ve been the Guardian of the Secret
Oh….but now I take the key
I unlock this shaken Soul
AND I set this woman free.

Ya know I won’t be silenced
No….not one more moment for “family’s” sake
The truth is out Big Brother
From which you shall not escape.

Take Back The Night
Take Back The Night
When I was 8 years-old
Take Back The Night
Take Back The Night
Death to me you said if I ever told.

Well….I’m telling now
of the violence
And of all those sick, sick scenes
Of rape and humiliation until
I was in my teens.

For years I’ve worked on issues
Thousands of dollars I have spent
To finally believe the truth of truths

So now at 40 in charge of my life
I stand up to you and I say
YOU are the one responsible
and YOU are the ONE who must pay.

So from this moment on
Clearly my purpose it shall be
To see new laws enacted
To heal and protect other survivors like me.

We’ll name our perpetrators
No longer will they go free
The humiliation belongs to them
The freedom belongs to me.

And to you all my sisters
through this story that I tell
That if you experienced what I did
and went through the same kind of HELL

THEN….when we Take Back The Night
Take Back The Night
Our voices will become
Empowered and in unison

~Julie L. Johnson~

email: autumnsekahawk@aol.com

The Mimic

Snapped by the chill of the changing season
the delicate monarch wraps her weary wings around her soul
cocooning to protect from the bitterness.
How did she not see the gusts from old man winter?
Lifetime after lifetime….
incarnation after incarnation….
she’s lived in the patriarchy
how did she miss the signs?

The Light was so enchanting, she trusted….
opened her wings and exposed her soul.
And as he offered her limitless fields of nectar
she became intoxicated by the rich meadow of ideas
and what butterfly wouldn’t feel free to dance, to fly, to dip and sip
among the milkweed fuzzies?
Oh so free to expose all she knew
until the locust came…..that was the first sign!

Quick Butterfly, shapeshifting cocoon….
you the mighty alchemist
become fluid
and let the transformation begin.
Breathe in….hold your breath until forgetfulness comes.

Go deep into your sleep
remember….remember, life is but a dream.
And your next awakening
know you cannot trust the cycles of man
be like the Viceroy, the one who mimics you…
leave them guessing….do not show yourself so boldly
you, the monarch who feeds upon the poisonous milkweed
when attacked….the bitterness they taste
will be of their own doing.
Ahhh, they will remember you….

by Julie L. Johnson

Secrets Secrets!
The Healing Journal Workbook

We close the door….and our family leaves,
So perfect we are….we want the world to believe.
“Smile at the neighbors now….just say hello,
Never get too close…
For they must never know…any
of our business…Don’t Ever Repeat.”
Ahhhh….soooo many secrets
a child must keep.

Oh….but if only the world could see
what really….really happens to the innocence of me
behind those doors in the darkness of night
when my ugly brother rapes my flesh
and my soul flees in fright.

And what would the world say
if they ever found out???
A blemish upon the picture perfect family…

And if I could tell my parents….
I know what they’d say,
“Smile at the neighbors…
Now just say hello,
Never get too close….
For they must never….ever know
what really happens behind the doors of our perfect house
Julie, it’s up to you to keep the family secrets…

by Julie L. Johnson

Ray of light

There is a dark hole
A hole that we wade inside.
It’s got a hold, a grip
That we can?t untie.
We try to move about and get to the light we see outside
But the force holds us in
It surrounds our being
It engulfs our mind
Polluting it with unkind words
And strange thoughts of hurting our self.
But then one day a ray of light
Comes shining in
We grasp at it?
It slides through our fingers
Like water, it runs right through.
The dark hole prevails but we remember the light.
It was once there.



Glass bulb shattered,
little pieces thrown,
like glitter in the sun.
Memories suddenly crack,
a mirror shattered
lighting flashs across the sky.
Empty spots, the puzzle
with pieces not matching up
horror and pain going deep,
dawns like a blood red sunset.
A Childs hands
digging in the cracks,
her voice a birds
hollow screech in the night.
Truth hitting hard,
like a ice water soak
numbing, taking over.

(1998 all rights reserved) Night Sins

Blood, red like stains
of your sins on her sheets,
dripping off her wrist.
Huddled in the corner,
the closet her tomb, darkness
her protector, lighting flashes
making her world a
kladescoop of color.
You standing in the corner
an unwanted suitor. No visions
of sugar plums dancing
just a child, her night gown
a useless piece of cloth,
with no gaurdians to chase
away her devil and blood dripping.
She wants them to go ..
no more nightmares, no more
praying no…no more flashes of pain,
like fire hot and searing.
No more Screaming in her quiet places.
Saying she is fine while inside she
wonder if she will sit and watch
the blood fall a evening sunset
slowly flowing across the floor

(1998 all rights reserved)

A specter beckons his white bony
hand ice crystals in the dark.
His face a mime mask with
black tear drops sliding
down the cold porcelain cheeks.
Fleeting glimpses, black and white
like a checkers board, caught
in the crowd. His scent lingers
Like musky camp fire smoke .
Outside your window he waits,
serenading you with contempt.
The perennial visitor, calls
at midnight bring chaos, who
is always and never there.
A transparent shadow stands
in the door. An unwanted suitor
comes calling once more.

(1998 all rights reserved)

Loneliness a deep blue hole designates
my name. A thick black haze
smothers me, like a soft down pillow.
Vines cling, drag me back. A vestige
calls to a reflection worn with time,
dark ravines like fresh pain beneath
dead eyes, in a spreading pool of red.
Dread of visions of pasts that may come true.
How do you reach out with arms,
dead boughs, refusing to rise?
With screams, silent echoes,
to no one there? How do I say
“Hello. No, I am not fine.
I thought of suicide again today?

(1998 all rights reserved)
Broken Pedestals

As a child I watch my mother’s face
like my father watched her back,
those days her movements were
graceful, soft and sure. I memorized
curved lines, her small red lips,
the brief crossing of her legs,
the quick touch of hand tempered
with haste, sometimes warm, always
fleeting with better things to do.
She patted and laughed things into disorder
She believed that softness lasts, that dancing
dressses, clutch bags with rhine stone,
pieces of colored ice, clinging in circular
designs and shoes that all match, were what kept
memories of pain sheltered in some safe spot.
I remember her setting in front of a mirror,
red lipstick in one hand, long jeweled earrings
in another, the white skin of her neck
and the strong smell of White Shoulders.
My reflection looking back at me, a little girl
with long brown ringlets, and big hazel eye,
setting cross leg on the bed behind her.
Me looking at this woman, the Elizabeth Taylor
of my childhood with white shoulders and dark hair,
her reflection in my eyes. Mysteries of this being,
soft like teddy bears fur, surrounding me.
Promises, of a journey I had yet to travel, hung
in the air with the sweet smell of jasmine.
And my father in the corner across the room
watching her back turned away from him.
Suddenly she moved fast her hand hitting a water
glass, shattering it into a waterfall of crystals
and the same hand I’d watched dance
gracefully across her hair, turn red with
blood. Between us lies hung in the air, stiff
like clothes in a freezing winter wind.
our reflection caught in each other’s eyes
and for a moment, we were entrapped
with our secrets in the gray stillness of a mirror.

(1998 all rights reserved)
My Son

I still see a boy of three, barreling down that
hall, small fist ricocheting off your father’s
thigh. He’s dancing his drugged dance again,
the hits and yells echoing off the narrow walls.
“Why don’t you go away, you just make my
mama cry.” Your voice, my nightmare. He
shoves you off, a small, pesky bug. “Keep
your marriage together for the boys'”
my mother ‘s voice, my guilt inside.
I see that little dark hair boy, the moonless
night of our get away, standing in the head
lights, holding a yellow, rusted Tonka Truck
half as big as he is. I find space, some where,
on top of our car, with the bunk beds and
rocking chair. You and your brother tucked
into the small space left in the front seat, with
him cocooned against you, your arm his only
protection. The dash light reflects green on
your face. You say “I am a big boy Mama I’ll
take care of us.” Ice ands now hit the wind shield
as my shaky hands hold tight to the wheel.

(1998 all rights reserved)

My hand, much smaller, always
felt safe in yours, knowing
you knew the way.

You were my angel,a dainty
china doll,your hair music
caressing your face,eyes
earth dropped pieces of the sky
and legs properly crossed.
I was saggy socks,intertubes
around my ankles, my
hair a Japanese prisoner
running for freedom and
ruffled panties always showing.

Teenage years, you were
a warm breeze your blonde
hair flowing in the wind,
with me admiring from a far.
We were Lucy and Ethel,
Thelma and Louise,and Abbot
and Costello riding wild dreams
to the stars.We danced colored
dances around campfires, and
read flashlight stories in our bed.

Our giggles far echoes like
distance songs and soft
hands touching my face.

(1998 all rights reserved)
December 1999