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The Bath

Updated on May 13, 2011
Thank you Clearly Ambiguous/Flickr for the use of this photo, http://www.flickr.com/photos/clearlyambiguous/
Thank you Clearly Ambiguous/Flickr for the use of this photo, http://www.flickr.com/photos/clearlyambiguous/


I used to dream of you, sister

Pretend you were my reflection

Brothers are all well and good

They taught me how to delight in mud

But a girl to share my imaginings

Of popping fuchsias and finding fairies 

Of conversing in foreign tongues

Secretly


To pray another into this world of fear

Where little girls get the brunt

Fathers turn a blind eye

Knotted bellies refuse food

First from the fork and then licked from the floor 

What selfish little beast would

Dare to dream of sharing

This


But the Universe, ultimate mother, listens 

The new lady, your mom

Runs a bath for us 

in the pink one, solitary, second floor

Giggly little girls quickly climb

The cold porcelain dam

To our warm frothy play pen

Where we clap our hands together

Oh Mary Mack, Mack, Mack

Suds fly as we sing silver buttons

All down her back, back, 

Back


I turn for only a moment 

The game is done

You are scrambling, screaming

"Mommy, Mommy!"

Alert but confused, I sit naked sloshing 

Familiar guilt washing me as I await

Punishment


This salmon tiled tub

Has witnessed them

Fleurettes of soap

Raising blisters down the sides of my tongue

Left hand corner of the Marbelite counter

Blackening my eye

Rows of drawers filled with brushes, mirrors, 

Weapons


The beating doesn’t come 


She flies the stairs and is at your side

You are pointing at me with cartoon wide eyes

Dazed but endeared to this new woman

I look back at the pair of you

How quickly she is there with

An arm about you


You melt into her

She gives you a squeeze

"Her back Mommy, Ohhhhh her back."

A stroke across your hair

Then she reaches  

The urge to flinch is strong

Pets my head as well

I am enchanted


The scars from your vantage

In color and coarseness

A spectacle

But for me they are a memory

Just another nightmare 

Disappearing like the steam



This is my first poem ever published in ink. It was chosen at our local college's poetry competition to be read at their celebration and included in this years compilation.

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    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      OMG, fabulous. I was completely mesmerized, even though I had encountered this before in another shape...very close, but not as well sculpted. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

    • Pam Roberson profile image

      Pam Roberson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Yes this is magnificent. So many intense emotions beautifully and painfully displayed. Thank you.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks ladies! Imagine how nerve racking it was to have this poem for my first live read.

    • Nikkij504gurl profile image

      Nikkij504gurl 6 years ago from Louisiana

      wow! awesome poem.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thank you Nikki and nice to meet you.

    • LittleWhistle profile image

      LittleWhistle 6 years ago

      I am speechless. This is innocence lost and perhaps renewed. Thank you RB!

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You drew me, Randy B just like you always do. I loved the sentimentality of this poem. The nostalgia is palpable to say the least. I rated it beautiful and awesome.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Hi Little Whistle! I'm the poster girl for renewal, lol.

      Well hello Dohn. Glad you like this one... I'm new to this rating thing.

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 6 years ago from Australia

      Brilliant! and well done for being published in ink.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks LeonJane! Yes if the internet blows up with all my poems at least one will be preserved :)

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      This is such a wonderful poem to be your debut dead tree format unveiling!

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Ixxy your comment is a riddle to me, dead tree format? Ahhh, do you mean paper? :) Well thanks.

    • lxxy profile image

      lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

      See, you figured it all out on your own (or with Google.)! You're welcome. =)

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Yeah, I didn't give myself a chance. As I wrote I didn't understand; I understood. I can be a bit impatient with myself.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      A new language of poetry has just been invented and words are better off because of it.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Wow, how sweet; you charmer you.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      wow I would like to take a 'bath' in your randy behavior of poetic invention and overall hub magnificence!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 6 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      This is just plain great! SOmething tells me this comes from a very deep place. Thanks for sharing this gem of a poem :D

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Epigramman- :)

      Cris- Yes this one did. I wrote with a pic axe and shovel.

    • Michael Ray King profile image

      Michael Ray King 6 years ago from Palm Coast, Florida

      Incredibly well written. I am stunned. Strong, impassioned writing will have that effect a person...

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      What can I add to the comments? Nothing really this poem is simply awesome. So personal and yet, perhaps because of that, so universal too! Well done.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Michael thank you for the lovely comment; I don't think I've stunned anyone before. Some of my writing is shear silliness though. Have a look see.

      Greetings Tony. If anyone can relate, I am happy. If it is universal, even better.

      love and light

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom Rubenoff 6 years ago from United States

      The subtle shifts of focus between you and your sister in the poem are most artful and effective. Thank you for sharing this moving poem.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thank you Tom, and thanks for your help with it.

    • MFB III profile image

      MFB III 6 years ago from United States

      oh, the hidden secrets of a mothers rage upon frail flesh, cotton weaves cover the twisted acts of abuse, until innocent eyes reveal the horror of the hairbrush that does not offer beauty and style but pain, superb write randy.~~~MFB III

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for your comment MFB. Like some many children I didn't know that my up brining by this woman was anything but "normal" till after, of course.

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 6 years ago

      What a masterpiece, I hung on each word and felt the pain of you at that moment in time, what must have been going through your mind. What is going to happen to me? the brush on my back. I know of such thoughts, I had them in my youth and the abuse still appeared in it's ugliness. This reads like something right our of Mommy Dearest:0( Thanks for the share, enjoyed your words, I was mesmerized from the start.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for your comment Saddlerider. It turns out quite a few can relate to my rocky childhood. I totally related to Mommy Dearest when I saw it and even Sleeping with the Enemy. I think it is the fear that is so familiar. I'm glad this piece connected with you.

    • davidseeger profile image

      davidseeger 6 years ago from Bethany, OK

      God love you.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Yes He does.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

      I was honestly reading this and thinking "This should be published somewhere. SHE should be published somewhere." And then I learned that it has been published. Well, this one certainly deserves to be. It does what good poetry should: engrosses, entertains, challenges and inspires. I don't know much about you -- other than you live by the ocean and own a pretty sweet belt -- and I don't need to know much about you. Your poetry does the work for you. Great write. I'm a fan. Cheers.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Doug your comment completely makes my evening. Earlier I wrote 6 stanzas of a poem from this time period in my life and accidentally erased it. Didn't have the drive to rewrite the damn thing, but now I think I will. Thanks. p.s. if you want to know me ask away I'm never shy on paper... so to speak.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 6 years ago

      .....I need to take another bath in these words - and get that literary grime out between my ears ......as a wannabe writer here at Hublululand!

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      586! not bad for a wannabe.

    • arb profile image

      arb 6 years ago from oregon

      Emotion wrestling with memories, squeezing forgotten and unforgotten until married in an ink that births the poem. Very nice Randy. I shall read some more!

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 6 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks Arb. Its funny how these memories come up so clear with colors and textures, full of live emotion until I write them down. Then they fade back to inconsequential.

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

      Glad you recommended this one. I checked it out before but enjoyed it just as much this time around. Nice subtleties: "urge to flinch is strong" -- says so much about the situation in a few words. Rock and roll.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Oh shoot, I see that you did. Nice comment too. In fact it was that comment that prompted me to rewrite fuzzy slippers after I accidentally deleted it.

    • profile image

      Claudia  5 years ago

      this moved me to tears randy..excellent write

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thank you Claudia. This is the only poem I've ever read in front of an audience. Even though I didn't win, the tears in the audience were reward enough.

    • profile image

      Reflections 5 years ago

      Wow... this is so deep, tears flow in admission of true understanding... a beautiful share of an enormously special moment.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Hi Reflections. Thanks for coming by and commenting. The woman in this poem was to be my third Mom. Third times the charm. Some thirty plus years later and she's coming to brunch tomorrow.

    • profile image

      jaytale 5 years ago

      Great poem. Gripped me to the last line. Look forward to reading more.

    • profile image

      Kodjo Deynoo 5 years ago

      I like reading a poem, where you start and you can't stop reading, because the writer could not stop writing. I can tell you were on a roll here and indeed it was a beautiful read

    • profile image

      Tino 5 years ago

      This really played with my emotions. Laughing at bathtime, the anticipation of punishment to come, the deep sorrow of scars for any child.

      Awesome piece, so glad you shared it.

    • profile image

      brian 5 years ago

      enchanted, yeah me too. this is incredible verse...delightful word play and stirs thoughts of childhood with a deft spoon...well played RB

    • profile image

      Glynn 5 years ago

      It walloped me. I wasn't expecting it, and my heart broke. Beautiful poem.

    • profile image

      gautami tripathy 5 years ago

      I was totally engrossed in this poem. Hits hard...

      let it be forever

    • profile image

      ayala 5 years ago

      Intense..powerful...broke my heart.

    • profile image

      Kerry 5 years ago

      Wickedness comes in many guises, but the wicked parent is its most evil incarnation... There can be no greater betrayal.

      The second mother certainly deserves a mention on Mother's Day.

    • profile image

      Karla 5 years ago

      Beautiful. The imagery of innocence juxtaposed with a horrible reality is well-done and emotionally wrenching. Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image

      shan 5 years ago

      Excellent use of words and emotion to convey your message Randy thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      angela 5 years ago

      what a riveting write...I'm in awe of your words, your telling of this..amazing talent, but more so, amazing human spirit to share with us.. thank you ~

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thank you jaytale. I'd love you to read more of me.

      Hi Kodjo Deynoo. I like writing on a roll. I call it "in the flow." I love to be there.

      Thank you Tino. I'm glad you could feel my emotions.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Brian thank you for your comment and opening up a new world of poets to me.

      Sorry Glynn... don't think anyone has said I walloped them before.

      Gautami tripathy I'm glad it caught you up. Thanks for the comment.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thank you for reading me ayala. Mmmmm sorry 'bout your heart though.

      Kerry all's well that ends well, and all that.

      Kerry thanks for coming by my hub and leaving such a nice comment.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for coming by and commenting shan.

      Thank you angela for such a dear comment.

    • profile image

      Jingle poetry 5 years ago

      well expressed.

      Glad to discover your poetry talent,

      Impressed,

      Hope to see you join our poetry potluck today,

      1 to 3 random poems or poems unrelated to our theme are welcome in case you fall short in doing a theme fitting piece.

      Bless you.

      Keep up the excellence.

      xxx

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Potluck you say.... what ever shall I bring?

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 5 years ago

      I have come back to listen to your dramatic rendition of this beautifully written and felt poem. It's amazing how we feel what we write and hold it back and it rest's in our soul, shouting to be released to the world.

      By being able to read it aloud with the just right tone and bring it to life for our readers to enjoy is an extra delight. I am so pleased to listen to you again, please continue to share each poem you write in this manner, wow...what a gift. I am humbled. Hugs

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for the encouragement Saddle! I think I will include voice. Maybe go back and add it to others too...

    • profile image

      Luke Prater 5 years ago

      Hi Randy - your Octain is great!

      It matters not how long I stare

      Devoted whole this block of time

      I can’t persuade these words to rhyme

      So generous, this toy to share

      A vexing swarm for me his form

      No pleasing scheme can I ensnare

      A limp attempt, befuddled crime

      I’m hatters now, so long I stare

      rock! can I post it on a thread i have on Facebook with all Octain written to date (there were about 70 before OSP Form Monday started). You retain full copyright. It's just nice seeing them all in on place. I can send you the thread via email, or if you have a FB account, friend me (it's on my sidebar) and I'll tag you in the thread. I'll put your blog address beneath also.

      Hit me back

      Cheers , Luke

    • profile image

      Doug Turner Jr. 5 years ago

      Like my boy Rider mentioned, hearing it read out loud brings an extra delight. This one is so playful at times, yet carries behind the words a sense of adult understanding about the real world. You're good at this reading aloud thing, and seem to be enjoying yourself.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Luke that's all good. I'm glad you approve, and thanks for the lesson and sharing your form. I'll find you on FB. You won't recognize me of course... I have a head and everything.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Hi Doug. What really helped me was an old video of a guy doing a spoof on poetry reading. His poetry sucked and it was hilarious and the audience loved him. I figure even if I suck, people will still be entertained. And if they throw tomatoes... I'll make a salad.

    • Cheeky Girl profile image

      Cassandra Mantis 5 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

      Beautiful poem, I love your writing. :)

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 5 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks for the comment Cheeky Girl.

    • Ryan McGill profile image

      Ryan McGill 4 years ago from Omaha, NE

      Very nice. Nothing sacrificed in the telling, just rightly written to be compelling. I'll have to run through it a thousand more times to get it all; I like them that way.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 4 years ago from Near the Ocean

      Thanks Ryan; I'm glad you approve.

    • Enigmatic Me profile image

      4 years ago from East Coast Canada

      I read this, then listened. The singsong tone puts the reader back at a time of when innocence should exist, the narrator a child, the writer a woman. The mature and logic thoughts being spoken by a child gives this a realness otherwise just unreachable through written word alone. Beautifully done.

    • Randy Behavior profile image
      Author

      Randy Behavior 4 years ago from Near the Ocean

      I suppose children put in grown up predicaments think differently than happy carefree children.

    • Enigmatic Me profile image

      4 years ago from East Coast Canada

      Yes. Sadly some have a more carnal knowledge of things than need be sometimes. For those I wish for good support and acceptance.

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