an ode to violence? (yes, really)









violence begets violence

i am haunted…by violence

i see it everywhere, i mean everywhere

in movies, news, the papers…obviously

in language, in mentalk, in football…possibly

violence is so so normal

it is so so masculine

its synonyms are with us

every effing, no, every violent day


intensity, severity, strength, force,

great force, vehemence, powerfulness,

power, potency, ferocity, forcefulness,

wildness, frenziedness, fury, storminess,

tempestuousness, turbulence; lack of control,

lack of restraint, passionateness; fervency, ardency


honestly, sadly, and unfortunately

violence sounds so so sexy

makes me just want to…

have mad mad passionate, ferocious  sex in the rain


pain is an act of love 

pinching, pushing, punching, slapping

threatened with beatings for bad behavior

threatened with further beatings for not answering questions

threatened with more beating for talking back

for keeping quiet, for speaking up


beaten for causing embarrassment to the family

beaten to get rid of the resulting shame

beaten for disrespecting the elders

beaten for fighting, failing, foiling,

beaten because it hurts them, too


beaten for not doing the right thing,

beaten for delay in doing the right thing the first time

beaten because you must have done the wrong thing

beaten because you are a man

beaten because boys don’t beat girls


beaten because sparing the rod

is disobeying the good lord

growing up and straying

a sinful parent it’s portraying

beating, you learn, is the ultimate act of love


the language of initiation

it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

a man must learn to withstand pain

and then spend the rest of his life running away from it


it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

the plan is to go through it now

and learn why later


it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

to understand that nothing in life

comes easy


they brought presents

money and food

and i learned that pain is a party

for them, not you


it will hurt some

the pain is necessary

the point got lost

when i tried to inflict it

rather than endure it


it hurt a whole lot

and to this day

three decades on

it is still baffling

why the dance with pain

leaves more marks beyond the question marks


adolescence – romancing  with pain

adolescence is god’s act of violence on man

suddenly, what was normal is not any more

not my mother, not my sisters, not girls, not boys


not my body

oh no, certainly not my body

and then… they call it growing up

the acne, the crazy dreams at night and the messy sheets in the morning

that i was told was a sin

the weird emotions when with others and when i was alone


and i was told that this was all normal

that this was ok and that i was becoming a man

i dreaded the thought and more so the alternatives

castration, suicide, or going far far away


then booze showed up

a welcoming froth

warmed my gut, my heart, my soul

and most of all my mind


if ever there was the ultimate experience of

peace, love, unity,

bliss, freedom, happiness,

release, rest, love

where violence was absent…

…it was when i got high



if only i could stay high forever

would there be peace on earth


dancing with the punches

his fists taught me to dance

to skip the parts that were out of tune

to tread carefully as on a fragile ego

so that the jig would be just right


he painted the house red

when his fiery insecurities waltzed

with my innocent sensibilities

and did we create hit music


he played my heart

with his fists

and i learned, too

to do cover songs

on others hearts,

minds and bodies


once i used words of a hit song

and she said

she preferred drum music to rap

waxing lyrical moved to fisting to the beat


with his fists and my rhyme

the rhythm created a disordered

orchestra of pain, of agony,

of fear, of the unspoken

a complex dance with the fists


once and for all

my sister says once you hit once

you will again and again

do you promise to never hit me

no matter what?


your sister is right

your sister is wrong


i will not promise to never hit you

simply because

i cannot promise to never hit you


so what do i do when

i feel unsafe





to your sister

to your god

just run


what does that say about us?

i need guarantees

i need to trust

that i can feel safe with you

that you won’t hurt me


i need that if i am to be with you

otherwise we have a problem

a huge problem


baby, the way i see it

the one with the problem

is the one with unmeetable needs

not the one with ungiveable promises


son, i’m sorry i hit you…again

he came to me as a refuge

in me he found confusion

and a slap and a punch

for never doing the right thing


all because


he wouldn’t do his homework,

or the dishes

i told him this was about life

as his face met my open palm


i lied


it was about me

and my pain

and my fear

and my anger


i am sorry

i hurt you

i hurt us


and now


i don’t know what’s worse

being an absent indifferent father

or a present violent one


what i am really really afraid of 

if you love, trust and respect me

before i have earned it

i will think you are mad

or drunk on something cheap


if you demand that i earn it first

i will insist your standards are too high

then i’ll go hate on myself

poor me, poor me


they say be yourself

we’ll love you as you are

and i chuckle

and whisper to myself


because i know very well

that i belong in the sewer

because that’s where shit belongs

and i can’t stand the smell


but more than that i can’t stand

the unspoken, the silence

that the smell brings

especially that loving you

is more painful

than remaining lonely


if love is pain

is that love really?


your love cleanses the stench

your trust provides the confidence

your respect, oh, your respect

births a desire to glow and grow up


and suddenly, i am no longer afraid


grace is real 


or prison and therapy

are the only options available

for violent perps

she told me


i had done the work

of therapy, of cleansing

of healing, of forgiveness

of letting go

i told her


i was a pre-convict

and because of grace

and loads of self-work

i avoided the story

of an ex-convict


and yet i stand here

and sit among you

a free man

living a day at a time

without having to look over my shoulders

or you having to watch your back



though i make a vow i cannot keep

i still do not give promises with guarantees


grace is real

it keeps the past in the past

and the present presents as a gift


violence is…


violence is borne of a lack of self-acceptance

violence is a lack of acceptance of another, of me

violence is lying in a ditch and feeling sorry  for the world

and then dragging them to your level

and beating them with experience


violence is low self-esteem in need of company

violence is causing pain because you are in pain

violence tells you the world is messed

and it’s your job to beat it into shape


violence keeps the cops busy

and the priests, and the counselors

and the chemists and the doctors

because peace on earth may just wipe out

a whole load of jobs


violence can be physical, emotional, verbal, psychological

or spiritual

sometimes it is abnormal in a normal world

but often it is normal in an abnormal world


violence strips you off layers of self-respect

self-love and self-worth

in your quest to restore, to replace

then you only strip others of their humanity

when a simple look in the mirror would’ve sufficed


violence breeds violence

people resort to solving issues through violence

as victims and perpetrators

why can’t she leave? how does she put up with it?

i am sorry, please forgive me. i know i said the same thing last time


violence is addictive, it’s contagious, it’s progressive

yet, yet, yet, violence is avoidable, needless and treatable.



Author: Chris

Thriving in The Love Edition

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