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'Birthday Gift'

Updated on December 24, 2010
'There's A Fine Line Between...', by L. R. Haynes.   loose frisket and aerosol paint on wood.
'There's A Fine Line Between...', by L. R. Haynes. loose frisket and aerosol paint on wood. | Source
As Venus chases the Moon
Through the night of October's sky,
I forget the song
And can't recall the tune.
All I remember is the pain of the lie.
All my illusions of love,
Of virility, 
Of grace,
You returned them all
To my face.
Bewildered, stilted,
Stunned and phased.
Never to you, my hand,
Would I have raised.
I hit you with words.
My punch was my voice.
Despite your warning
It was not my choice
To receive, 
So swift,
Your fist.
My shiner,
A lousy birthday gift.
-L. R. Haynes
 October, 2010.

A Short Discourse Upon This Poem.

Some six months after the incident which transpired, I wrote this poem

in an attempt to come to terms with the emotional distress I was feeling as a

result of the physical abuse I suffered as a consequence of involving

myself with a woman who I thought I knew better than I apparently

did. I never in my life thought I would find myself in a physically

abusive relationship. I should have walked away after the first time it

happened but I didn't. I stayed. My mistake. This poem is in reference

to the second time she hit me, just a day or two before my birthday. The

resulting black eye I made into a joke. I said, "yeah, this is all she gave

me for my birthday!" This was a cover up. The reality of the matter was

that I was ashamed of my situation and so for the first time in my entire

life I avoided my family and did not get together with them to celebrate my


The woman with whom I was involved is petite, so while she was

quick, her punch fortunately was not overly painful, nothing broken. Well,

maybe my pride. My self-esteem. The emotional pain of those experiences

was the most difficult aspect with which to deal. I was in a state of shock

and confusion. "I loved her, how could she do that to me?" was the question

in my mind. I wanted to show her my love, my forgiveness. I tried but it

seemed only to be rejected in favor of her need to argue and denigrate me as

the source of her problems. While I made mistakes, I know she is no angel.

My primary observation after each time that she hit me was that I had

spoken from my mind and heart. I spoke my honest feeling regarding the matter

at hand and it subsequently was handed back in the form of her fist. I

could have returned the favor, but I was raised to respect women. Violence in

general, is an action I shun. Violence toward women I detest. Violence from a

woman is baffling. I firmly believe that speaking my mind and being honest about

my feelings does NOT justify her violence toward me. I was not insulting her, or

being rude or disrespectful. I was calling her out on her bullsh!t. It

was because I dared to question her ill logic, poor decision making, and need to

blame it on me(or anyone else but herself) that she felt obliged to punch

me. Apparently, some people can't handle the truth about themselves.

In closing, I will say that I still hold love in my heart for this woman. Not

from any hope of being with her again, but from a need to forgive. The more I

learned about who she really was inside, the sadder I became. I realized

much too late that she has never learned the value of forgiveness. Growing

up, she never had a model of love demonstrated for her. She was regularly

verbally and physically abused, emotionally neglected, distrusted, and

relegated to coping on her own. In light of all this, I errored in my

handling of our arguments. For this, I wonder if I have made her more

cynical. I know I inspired her hatred for me. I doubt she will forgive

me. My prayer is that her heart will be softened, that she will learn how

to forgive and thus find the fulfillment of love that results. I in turn

must let go, let live, and give myself to the fullness of forgiveness

and love.

-L. R. Haynes

December 23, 2010.



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