A New Normal

“God, you’re so normal!”

You know it’s meant as a subtle dig,
But you want to laugh
And celebrate a pyrrhic victory.

They would not understand

How you have wrapped
The ordinary ‘round you
Like a warm sanctuary.

It took you years to realise
Your home sweet home was

Far from normal.

It takes a distance of decades
To gain perspective;
Half a lifetime to free yourself.

Some things are forever altered by
When constant acts of
Self-indulgent aggression were

The norm;

When nothing about you
Was respected or valued.

If a stranger were to
Leap up
In a cafe and
Kick his chair
To pieces, then
Smash all the
Crockery on the floor, whilst
Screaming obscenities and
Blaming you for their behaviour,

You would not react with surprise.

After all, you grew up to consider
Such things

To be normal.

Your mind would simply
Be cataloguing a myriad of
Fight or flight responses.

You always have a back-up plan
For the back-up plan.

Normal was

For many years,
Being dominated, crushed,
Almost obliterated.

Now what hurts is not what was
But what wasn’t.

The missing armour a childhood
Full of loving support and
Gentle understanding
Is supposed to clothe you in.

You knew early on what
You did not want your

Mundane, everyday

Life to be.

It took much observation of
Teachers, friends and colleagues
To work out

What you did want.

You protect your inner sanctum
As fiercely as any wolf.

Only those who prove they know
How to revere the sacred
And enjoy alterity
Are allowed in.

Arguments are accepted,
Even expected sometimes.
But acts of wanton violence
Are banned.

Above all, your door is closed
To anyone who has that

Small, secret smile

Before they
consciously decide
To lose self-control,
To rend and shred
The humanity
Of their nearest and dearest
Because they exult
In the pain of others, or
Need to bolster
Their flailing egos.

Monsters hiding in
Human flesh,
Delighting in chaos.

Real evil thrills and orgasms
As it digs its teeth into you.

Some demons have no desire
To change or be redeemed

Despite what the platitudes,
Hiding behind cosy certainties
And rosy-tinted spectacles,
Would have you believe.

So you are building

A new normal,

Where you don’t hide
Behind romantic notions of love,
But hope for sanity and ask for
Loyalty, honesty,
Affection and respect.

Kindness can and should
Go hand-in-hand with strength.

Reliability, consistency and
Old-fashioned decency
Are not to be disregarded,
Or taken for granted,

But to be treasured.

You don’t look for charm,
For fleeting excitement;
You look for something you
Can build your life on.

A solid foundation
You will help to lay,
Something not eroded
By slashing viciousness
And cutting vindictiveness.

In your new normal

You can finally breathe
And, sometimes,
Even sleep.

There Go I

I wasn’t Tuesday’s child,
Never full of grace.
I seem to have been
Wednesday’s child—
My cup so full of woe.

I gaze at the three graces,
Beauty, mirth and elegance,
As they dance in their embrace.
I can at least strive for mirth—
Laugh if you can’t cry.

Amazing was the grace
That should have saved me,
But I still meander, lost,
In the labyrinth of my pain—
And wait to be found.

The Lord’s Grace reminds me
To count my blessings.
And I am grateful for every
Small kindness bestowed on me—
I take nothing for granted.

I try to believe that I am
As worthy of God’s grace as you.
I see your haunted eyes
And know that there but
For the grace of God…

That Mewling Babe

Boot-less and tooth-less are
The crones laughing
In your head.

Jag-ged and rag-ged are
The ghosts wailing
In your heart.

Soul-less and root-less are
The doubts whispering
In your mind.

Croo-ked and hoo-ked are
The words marching
Off their tongues.

Rust-ling and crumb-ling are
The lies slithering
Down your throat.

Mons-trous and tor-tuous are
The dreams melting
In your ear.

What is left when you are
Stripped bare
And shivering in the cold?

Only that mewling babe,
So fragile yet stubborn,
That we dare to call


On the Beach

Have you ever walked along the beach and envied the sand?
No matter what footprints or scars that mark it,
The waves will wash it all away.
The sand will return to its pristine innocence.
Have you ever wished memory were like that?
A wave to wash away searing anger and jagged pain.
A wave to bring you peace.

Have you ever walked along the beach and envied the wind?
No matter what people scream or seagulls cry,
The wind will blow it all away.
The shore will return to its primordial state.
Have you ever wished it were that easy?
A gust to blow away shame and guilt.
A gust to bring you absolution.

Have you ever walked along the beach and envied the gulls?
No matter what winds buffet or rains beat them,
Their calls echo as they fade away.
The skies will return to their azure clarity.
Have you ever wished life could be like that?
A thermal to ride high above petty frustrations.
A thermal to bring you joy.

Have you ever walked along the beach and envied Peter?
No matter what fears and doubts drowned him,
His Lord took them all away.
The heaving waters returned to their crystal calm.
Have you ever wished for a faith like that?
A hand to hold on to through trouble and strife.
A hand to bring you home.