Visiting Poem (Val B Russell)

photo by g bryden

Today is the 2nd last day National Poetry Week and the five themed days have finished, so now we can do what we want (like we haven’t been already šŸ˜‰ ).

So today I am presenting a poem from Canadian writer, poet and blogger Val B Russel. She blogs over here.

Here ’tis:

You and I

watch you
collectively ordered family fair
with your happy faces sunny bare
wishing I could know again
this abandon from terror and all care
wanting to participate in a frolic beach wise
or some fashion of delightful sighs
that early morning oven warm feeling
of safety in the family numbers
but you
don’t know
am always
outside now
beyond the frame of your happy snappy family photo
banished by some notations on a report
slid inside a file
forgotten underneath
the crumpled altered paper trail
now gone cold
like the inside of an empty house in permanent winter


Thanks Val!

14 thoughts on “Visiting Poem (Val B Russell)

Add yours

  1. Thank you Gabe, for asking me to participate. You needed my shroud of darkness anyway to balance out all that deluded pessimism being played on the world’s smallest violin. šŸ˜‰

  2. happysnappy photos, if the photos could talk…….that is if the faces said the truth, but its a photo op, its a pr stunt, its a gag. try sifting through the pain where its completely masked by not delusion but illusion. at least in delusion there’s a chance of snapping out of it. balance aint all its cracked up to be. extremes are tangible.
    i sound like the postergirl for bipolar disorder. ha ha another convenient syndrome

  3. The contrasts (warm/cold, participate/banish, happy/terror) are very effective in amplifying the sadness of freedoms and joys lost – I suspect a very personal backstory to the depths of emotion in Val’s poem.

  4. I’ll give you guys the history of this poem. I knew this girl. She was 28 when we met and I was 26. She worked in the greasy spoon next door to the grocery story where I worked. I used to go there for coffee, as did so many of my buddies on cash. When I first met her she was so solitary and if you really truly looked you could see her eyes were always moist as if about to weep. She also wore long sleeves all summer, even in heat waves she was covered up. I never was one to pry into the affairs of others but one day a close friend told me her story: She was a single mother of four boys, three year old twins, one eight year old and a six year old. One night when she was asleep the house caught fire. It was an old run down farm house with bad wiring and when she finally woke the house was filled with smoke. According to my friend she ran all over for her kids and although she got the oldest out, the others perished in the house which got consumed rather quickly. Unfortunately, her eight year old died at the hospital later he was burned so badly. The reason she covered her arms was because she had scars all over from the fire which nearly killed her too. I wrote this for her because as it happens, about a year later she and I became as close to friends as she could be and her haunted distance, especially when families came into where she worked for food, deeply affected me. No one could ever love her again and that to me is precisely what I was trying to show, that some people can be beyond this world after tragedy so that no one, no matter how deeply they want to help, can never go there or understand. Okay, I’ll shut up now. Thank you again Gabe for letting me be part of this very awesome experience. Thanks Tipota for your comment, it wasn’t conveniently bi polar at all or remotely schizophrenic or PTSDish either. šŸ™‚

  5. ha ha remotely schizophrenic or (my particular fave) PTSD-ish. remotely PTSDish.
    you know, all these syndromes lately have 3-4 letters, like ADHD or is it AADD or ADD
    or AODD – forget it. but there is something strangely abbreviated about the concept of these disorders ha ha

  6. My favourite Kathi, is compassionless, now there is a disorder of the highest disorder. In fact, I knew a few who suffered from it and every July 17th I remember them when I write a note to Dave and toss it in the sea, thinking in my deluded way that he will somehow be able to read it from beyond the grave. Funny thing though, Dave didn’t find Schizophrenia funny at all, but then neither did or do I. Actually, when you get down to it, not much is very funny in life is it Kathi? Unless of course misfortune and suffering is the new blog stand up comedy.

  7. What an incredible story providing the backdrop for this equally incredible poem. That story is beyond sadness. What some people have to go through just makes me weep. While you often say there is a darkness to your writing, Val, for me the over-riding tone is one of empathy. You see it as it is. You feel it. And you care. I do love that about your work. The last line is exceptional.

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