Tuesday Poetry: Unforgettable

This week’s writing prompt at writers island is unforgettable. And though I haven’t read them yet – as I post this piece – I know that my fellow islanders have been writing unforgettable pieces of their own, and I hope that you’ll go read them.

Before I share my piece, I have to tell you a little about what happened when I looked at this week’s prompt. Usually, I take a look at the prompt when it is posted over the weekend, and I let it simmer in the back of my mind and heart until Monday night or Tuesday, when I sit down to write. And then, I write my piece in one pass, share it with my most trusted writing buddy for a initial review (basically: what does this do for you?), and then go back through a couple more times to tighten up word choice, rhythm, and the picture I’m trying to show. But most of the time, I try to muzzle my conscious, thinking, mind and let the images or emotions (or whatever!) flow freely from the deeper places within me. So my work tends to reflect the major themes running through my life at the time – and right now, that happens to be transformation and healing.

This week, I didn’t look at the writing prompt until Tuesday morning. I saw it, and immediately heard the Unforgettable song, which is such a sweet love song. And I wanted to write a sweet love song of my own. But as I opened my editor to write, a love song is not quite what welled up from those deep places. At least, not a love song as we traditionally think of them. And this poem will sound a bit angry and hurting, but I really am well on the way to the healing and forgiveness at the end. As several of my poems this summer and fall have been, I do find that my life is shaped like the spiralling conch shells that litter the beach of our writers island here. And I have to pass the same place several times before I reach that deep center, where everything that is life-giving and holy and good and real can be found. So… enough babbling. On to the poem.

Unforgettable

The words were unforgettable
razor sharp
now slicing precisely
now stabbing mercilessly

lazy, stupid
failure of a mother
failure of a wife
contrary bitch
slimy whore.

Words wielded as weapons
and you laughed
as you cut, beat, bludgeoned me
with your speech.

But they’re just words,

you said,
as if words are empty
and have no power.

You were wrong.

Engraved on my heart
where they cannot be seen
are those unforgettable words
scars just as visible
as those I saw in the hospital
on the arm of a girl
who had slit her wrists

fat whore
incompetent bitch

I only married you
because I felt sorry for you.


I know I must forgive
not for you
but to reach peace for myself
and I struggle to find this
amidst the unforgettable words

I never knew what hatred meant
until I married you.

I still don’t know what hatred means
but somehow
someday
you will be released
and all those unforgettable words
the ones that scar my soul
you will find
that they have scarred yours as well
and I am sorry
oh, I am so sorry,
when you learn this.

I will forgive
and the unforgettable
will pass into the haze
of distant memory

But when you are confronted
with the unforgettable
will you be able to
forgive
yourself?

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16 thoughts on “Tuesday Poetry: Unforgettable

  1. That was so sad yet beautiful, I am so glad you are healing. He is not worth it…you are a beautiful soul, make sure you stay that way. Take care.

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  2. This is sad, but also very brave, not easy to forget the unforgettable, it needs courage strength, more importantly big heart.

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  3. 🙂 Thank you, all. I wanted to make clear that I’m really not in the angry place any more. I told him I was leaving in March, moved out in June, and had the separation agreement finalized in September. There is much sadness when I think of what could (and probably should) have been, and I am not blind to my own part in the dynamic. But I do go around that spiral… and I have learned that forgiveness and release do not equal forgetting. My past will always be part of me, but I choose not to let it hang over my head. Rather, I will grow out of it, grow into the me I want to be.

    Peace!
    Hedwyg

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  4. I’m not much for poetry, but this spoke to me. Speaking like that, I’d hazard a guess that he’s got a pretty horrific-looking painting in the attic!

    Good for you to grow past his behavior!

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  5. This was enormously powerful hedwyg. I sat still quietly before I could move on. And when you hear some of these words from somebody supposedly close they are 10.000 times more powerful. Bless you and happy that you are healing

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  6. Lots of emotion in this poem. Glad you are moving forward into better ‘unforgettables’. Soon, the final five lines will cease to matter.

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  7. Wow, this is amazing, like everyone has said. I hope you’re finding peace and healing; yes, it takes two to tango, but an abuser will pounce on even the unwilling.

    You’re worth more than that. Remember that.

    All the best–

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  8. It’s true – words hurt. I think writing about it also is part of the healing process.

    Hope you find some peace in writing them down.

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  9. Wow! Cathartic isn’t it? You’re a beautiful, brave example of survival, Thank YOU so much for allowing us to listen!

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  10. That was an incredibly powerful piece of writing. I agree, it must have been cathartic to open up the subconscious and let the words just flow.

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