Memoir Prose Poem: Memories of Ahboji (Father) (and my childhood of joyful sorrow)

Ahboji (Father)

1)

In my mind I see him
with a Nikon camera smiling
my debonair father
my 007 ahboji
my GQ motorcycle riding papa.

The sun rises golden climbing
while Mom is singing high opera
and I’m in a crystal ball dreaming
reading Jane Eyre when I was lonely eight.

Our fawn-colored boxer
is fantastically zooming
dog speed circles of joy laughing
in my mind I still see her
racing and dodging
with wild ecstatic eyes
and flapping tongue
her flat patted head
slobbering gratitude
gulping into her silver
rivered water bowl.

The summer is freshly cut
green lawn charming
dandelions burst
like little lion heads blooming
and we make rings of them for our fingers
and blow wishes on their delicate colonies
like feathered cosmic winged seeds
floating away in slow-motion.
Deciduous forests climbing majestically
magnetically gliding towards the sun.
Dappled deer ray sunsets crown the lawn
the rose bush is sparkling renewed with dew
with pearled petals unfurled
and honeysuckle veins curled
lemon pistols spiked with sweetness
ringed vines in a swirl of dazzling white.

Butterflies glide in and meditate
on violet microcosm
mandala flowers of nectar
like a fairy wedding bouquet
miniature daisy chain crowns
and sweet flower necklaces
Buttercups radiate like glowing candy
sirening the fuzzy worker bumble bees
and iridescent gleaming hummingbirds
delicately sip and drink
from the red-orange bliss of flowers.

Fireflies blink pixie Morse code
dots of luminescent brilliance
like a silent orchestra.
Warm blue-eyed skies
and soft melting clouds
balmy ocean tides kiss the frothy coves
and Maryland true crabs
steamed to sweet spicy perfection.

Turtles, frogs and crickets serenade
cat tails swing and creeks stream
silver minnows and dragonflies hover over
lightning quick tiny salamanders
Treasure sheets of glimmering
fool’s gold mica
“Look what I found mama!”
shining in the red clay dirt.
Queen Anne’s lace fans intricate
micro world patterns of elegance.
My burgundy red
Maple tree friend
steadfastly listens
to my tears falling.
My 1980s childhood in upper-middle-class
Maryland white-collar affluence
and country mansion living.

2)

Father gave me my first cat, Bhopi—
orange tabby’s are the smartest.
He brought home
all the interesting and strange:
There was a retro video game machine
There was an old ice cream truck
There was a wooden trailer hitch
There was a Korean traditional rope swing
There were huge canisters of something?
shaped like submarine torpedos.
He brought home all these fascinating things.

Our lives were full of surprises
extreme silly goodness
wrapped in tragedy and shadow.
Sudden joy merged
with hard spastic weeping
dangerous times of claustrophobic
highs and lows
shocking slaps and blows
hide and seeking
like in the most dangerous game
gun seeking rages
flashlights peeking through the bushes
insane ritual of near murder.
I’m good at retrieving
lost and found precious items
So I find mama first
before he can beat her senseless or worse
I close the closet door to keep her safe
and I pretend to keep searching
when I was only 10 or 11 or 12-
That’s the saddest memory
I have of Mama.
Our cinematic violence
Our real life horror show channel
is mostly why I still hate horror movies.
Violence doesn’t entertain me
because I was raised with gladiators.

I witnessed
unbearable constant
life or death suspense
intense soap opera drama
insults and kicks.
That daily trauma circus
built my resilience and strength.

Terror woke me wide awake
early on fear quickened my senses
honed my observational qualities
my skill of guessing and questioning
authority and the mainstream’s
babbling brainwashing commercials.
I knew as a child that anything was possible
Life could end in an instant
I knew this always
and it depressed my will to live.

I grew up in domestic violence
but there were many silver linings
I always knew I that I was loved.
That conscious difference saved me
from joining the exiled:
the prostitutes, the prisoners, the destitute
the dregs of society
could’ve included me.
Maybe in a past lifetime I was
if such things exist
I’ve probably been through it.
I think we should never judge the homeless
who knows what atrocities they survived?
It’s not easy returning back alive
they’re souls subsisting on refuse and trash
as sleeping bag zombie
campers of the apocalypse
fentanyl choked walking dead.

I think I survived with my sanity intact
because I was never given more
than I could bear
I was spared the worst nightmares
and I coped through the elixir of words
both reading and writing
were my tickets of escaping
mind traveling through books
and writing poetry soothed me.
Poetry is still my detox
and my drunken tiger anger balm.
Forgiveness is a paradox of calm.
Transcendent Love from God
the creator of all
that is natural and beautiful and good
is the antidote to all evil
whether accidental, intended,
pre-meditated or pretended
Love is ultimate healer
Love is endless remembrance
Love the end of the sentence
Here on Earth.

33 Comments

  1. Poignant. Inspiring and motivating. Love conquers all. A human should first be considered a human than naming it. I believe. Hope is the only thread to which we cling and life become beautiful if we have trust in that hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Kritika💖. It’s such an amazing thing to be alive, so much good right next to the bad but how else could we know the difference? Hope keeps us going, who knows what beautiful experience is around the corner. 🌷🙏💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness. What an amazing poem. It moves me intensely. You describe much of my life and childhood too. I often used to think that one day I would find one of my parents dead on the floor. But as you say, it makes you strong. You find your way through it. And you learn how to cope with some terrible things in life. What an amazing poem, and thankyou for sharing your life with us. Love indeed DOES conquer all. For me, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my friend💖, I’m sorry that you experienced this too. So many of us survived trauma with no one else knowing what we were going through. I remember worrying too, that I’d go home from school to find out that my mom or siblings had been accidentally killed. It was so strange to pretend to be normal at school. Books were my way of escaping reality, I started a journal when I was 8, I love how words provided an outlet. I think hardship does strengthen us if we choose to grow from it. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I think it helps especially other survivors to know we’re not alone. 💖

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      1. Thankyou so much. Yes, all that you have said is true. And it really is true that people did not know what we were going through. But we survived. Strong ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What contrasting feelings in the two parts of the poem.

    The first reads and is described as a beautiful country setting.

    The second does read like terrifying scenes in a horror movie.

    It is remarkable how you survived all the horror.

    I guess hope and love is what keeps us all going.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started writing about what I loved in my childhood and then the second half went to the horrific. My childhood was very much like that, good with the bad. I suffered the least, mostly mental trauma but I think it made me more resilient. Thank you, Christopher 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. I appreciate your compliment. Trauma is shocking, but I hope anyone that’s experienced it can talk freely about it. Survivors shouldn’t feel shame, although our society teaches us to stay quiet.

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  4. Such touching sentiments in your poems…we apparently have much in common with backgrounds, which I suppose is no real surprise. I relate to so much of what you have shared and am curious if you have ever investigated ACOA? Still, your life seems to have unfolded as beautifully as you have stated. Warm wishes to you — and of course bundles of love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my friend. I used to date a guy who was in AA and he always wanted me to try ACOA. I sometimes went to AA meetings to offer him support. My parents weren’t alcoholics but my mom was raised by an alcoholic and they were both physically abused. My father carries a lot of guilt and although I’ve forgiven him, the trauma shaped my perceptions of life. I’m sorry you also experienced trauma, it does make sense that we are both writers. I think writing saved my sanity, very therapeutic to release the memories. Warm wishes and much love to you too💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it was a man in AA who introduced me to Alanon and ACOA but I will say it was ACOA that clicked the most. My parents were not alcoholics either but my Dad was a rageaholic. It doesn’t matter the dysfunction — all of it affects the family. And yes, writing has been a Godsend…carrying us along. It’s been quite a journey…💖

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      2. We have much in common, my father was a rageaholic too, my mother wasn’t not violent but she was verbally explosive, she was the main victim (so I hesitate to say she was verbally abusive, interesting how that is). I love them both despite the dysfunction because they were also very loving and vulnerable (they were both physically abused as children). I think I’d benefit from ACOA but I’m such a loner these days but I do think group therapy is a good thing. It’s a relief to know that you’re not alone, I think survivors often feel isolated or they worry that sharing their experiences is a burden to others. Yes, what a journey, life is quite a trip. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Perhaps we are “soul” sisters. My Mom was also verbally explosive and didn’t know when to safely end an argument. While, we became estranged from my Dad when I about 16, I always felt loved by my Mom and brother (and even my Dad in his own strange way although I always felt robbed of the opportunity to really get to know him). I also had a history of isolating but it was ACOA and Alanon that really changed my life — for the first time ever I was with a group of strangers who did not judge me or my past when openly sharing. It was a fellowship like I”d never known in my life and gave me the courage to be with other groups of strangers. And, then of course, on this interesting journey, many years later I also realized I was born an HSP so it all fits… 🙂 💖

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      4. I think we’ve been through a similar path for sure, yes we’re soul sisters :). I often thought that especially artists and writers have had difficult childhoods so they’d have fuel to create art, (I never wanted to feel like a victim). I wonder if domestic violence was more common in the past? I’ve read many self-help books since I was a teen, I was always trying to solve the reason why the violence happened. Statistically abused people tend to attract abusive partners, I guess we’re trying to heal that original wound but it ends up repeating.

        I can relate to how you felt loved despite the dysfunction. I’m glad that you found solace and community with ACOA and Alanon. The stories from AA often made me cry, I could see how it helped my ex-boyfriend, he felt supported by an extended family in AA. I’d like to attend ACOA online if possible :), you’re inspiring me to try it out. I’m also HSP 💖 :)! For highly sensitive people to experience trauma is the ultimate crisis overload!

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      5. Ah, you couldn’t have said it better. I’d be happy to connect more deeply off-line. If you care to send me your e-m address via my contact info perhaps we can do so. And, why am I not surprised you are also HSP? It was no coincidence I was told about Dr. Aron’s work; her book definitely lit up a large part of my life that I previously did not understand. Ah, you know, the onion skin. Apologies for the late reply but you are already aware that WP is acting flukey… Warm wishes to you today dear friend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I experience synchronicity often, sometimes it’s so specific. You can message me here on WP I think my email is listed there. No worries about responding quickly, I’m not here everyday anymore since the covid shutdown. I used to post almost everyday. Have a great day🌸

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  5. FYI, I’ve tried to like and respond to several of your comments but continually get a message that it “failed.” Perhaps WP is taking up the same censoring as Twitter and FB. Just wanted you to know, I’ve tried…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think WP might’ve changed something, I no longer see comments that I’ve responded to on my feed. Also I was getting odd troll messages so I set my comments on approval only and limited the time for comments to a week. I write about controversial topics so I figure I’ll get some trolls but so far, WP is surprisingly not censoring topics like other sites do. Whenever I see that another YouTube channel is gone it makes me think we’re living in totalitarianism. :(.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The censorship is rather depressing, and particularly since we live in America. I also wonder about WP as so often I attempt to like or make a comment on various sites (even ones I’ve commented on before, and not as a troll to be excluded) but it won’t take. Admittedly, after a few tries, I give up. Rather convenient. Personally, I’d like to see all of Big Tech and mainstream media shut down, then rebuilt only if they play fair.

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