"Those were hard things for me to come by, and I offer them to you for what they may be worth." - Toby Wolff

Monday, May 16, 2011

Again x 67

a buzzing like steroid insects stops.
fist pump to the mirror
in acknowledgement that god is reflected
and for reasons unknown

she opens her deed like a letter
contents spilling disagreements
unimpeded by halt of bone
sing it again sweetheart! daddy loves that song...
a g a i n

human fist, the handle of razor sharp psychosis
to the hilt, touching cloth
happy birthday daddy....it's your favorite color...
the blue of my eyes, remember daddy?...
viscous wet hands
finger this, the only barrier against the unexpected
shirttail in disarray
between her thumb and forefinger, she rolls it…tugs
but you said you'd just shut your eyes for a minute...
soft tencel blue now covered in flowers
brilliant yellow, orange, pink
a hillside bursting with life

she fists the mound
plucks at the wild bouquet of colors
did you pick these yourself honey? what a lovely gift for mommy! 
startled as the flowers attempt to speak
stems brushing her moist bangs with a swoosh of sunset
soaking the gurgling stream
in which she dips her hands
a g a i n
A G A I N x 67

(On mother’s day, seventeen year old Shanna, daughter of Susan and Ken, shaved her head, proclaimed to be god, and stabbed her mother and father a total of 67 times. Ken was found dead at the scene and Susan was in critical condition with a punctured lung and other defensive wounds. Susan and Ken were married 46 years. Susan is my co-worker and delightful woman who always wears a smile and flowery scrubs. Does life truly pass before your eyes in violent death. Is there time for viewing such things? The poem is my fictional account from inside the diseased mind of Shanna. Wondering of Susan, perhaps trying to protect her husband, and the memories of a sweet young daughter in an earlier age... juxtaposed with this horror.)



  1. The human mind can be the scariest and most mysterious of things. I think it's telling that so often thoughts of God are found in the midst of such stories. This is thought-provoking, intense piece enhanced by its personal relevance to you, Annie.

  2. How very heartbreaking. Mental illness is a sad, terrifying thing.

  3. Oh my God... I can't even begin to imagine...

    I wish a speedy recovery for Susan...


  4. Glenn - She is still in the hospital. Complications from infection. Her house was robbed two days after the violence and her things stolen, including her truck. Seems for than one person can endure. And we do. We have. Each in our own way, our own tragedy.

    Eric - What is it about the "god-complex" that seems to be so prevelant in the mind that isn't quite right? I have my own theories. But I can also I would NOT want to be God. Jesus is a powerful word. Spoken, written. It invokes intense rage, hate, love, devotion, and change...on good and deviant levels.

    Klaire - All the more terrigying because it is so difficult to understand...to cure. I can not imagine this kind of hate coming from my own child...would have a hard time reconciling it to their condition..whatever that might be.

  5. Shoes - Thanks! The thing with me is, I always like to imagine. It is my attempt to walk in another's...shoes! She is still recouperating. We will be having a fund raiser for her in the coming month.

  6. Incredibly sad, not only to loose her husband and almost her life, but to face a child with so much hate and illness. And then, there just isn't any excuse for humans who prey upon the crisis of others. They are the lowest of life.

  7. You are truly a warrior, Annie, to take on the persona of a psychopath. I humbly bow to your talent.

    What a horror to have to live through. I think I'd rather have died. My heart and prayers go out to Susan and her family.

    Love & Blessings,

  8. yeah, this read like an attempt to make sense of the unthinkable, which people like us do becuz, well, even if we can't make sense of it we try, and hopefully some sort of meaning emerges, or some little bit of moving on happens. i don't know, really. i've done similar writing.
    violence is evil. it's in all of us, somewhere. i am so sorry for the loss of ken and hope susan recovers and shanna gets good help.

  9. AnonymousMay 16, 2011

    That's terrible

  10. Missing - Yes, I could rip the thieves apart with my bare hands.

    Marion - Warrior! Ha! I pale in your shadow, oh mighty one. I sure wish someone would let me ghost write their memoirs...and a pshychopath would be icing on the cake. I learn nothing about people from my own musings...only myself. But to truly get inside the mind of someone else, that would be priceless.

    Ed - Sounds like an exercise insanity, and perhaps it is. To try and make sense of the insane. There is no doing it. Yes, evil is in all of us...a lurking thing, like a latent genetic marker. Just the right combination of factors and it rises unbidden. "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

  11. These words are far too beautiful for a reality that is far too frightening. Murderous mental illness is the greatest personal disaster any of us could face.

  12. Marty - There probably is no language sufficient. I find mental illness best illustrated through film, where a corrolation between what they see and hear can be presented frame to frame. It really scares me...the lack of control. I feel more comfortable with evil for evils sake, as opposed to illness. And then again, how do I know? Perhaps there is some level of control, ignored or excused. My next door neighbor chose not to use medication when she was diagnosed with moderate depression. She is unfunctioning today, and adamantly refuses to see a doctor. She thinks the neighborhood has placed cameras on the streetlamps to spy on her. She used to babysit my children. I used to borrow sugar and sit at her kitchen counter. Now even her own children will not go near her and her husband cries on our stoop at the loss of a woman he loves. Would pharmaceutical intervention have mitigated this outcome? So at the point she could have taken them, there is a choice...before the voices spoke louder than her soul.

  13. Intense and well written.

  14. The reading of this is like walking from daylight into a deranged haunted house. The writing is great. The reality of the story so difficult to understand.

  15. Banality. We all live lives of such banality. And no one sees this more than a teenager. All that passion. All that intensity. Remember?

    Psychosis is the ultimate stepping away from reality. Thus "freed" the impossible becomes possible and so terrible deeds only previously dreamt of in the darkness of ones soul are undertaken with no conscience in the moment and no thought for the consequences thereafter.

    Psychotic rage ... who can hope to understand how compelling that is ... especially given these happenings?

    It's hard to imagine how Susan is ever going to put the pieces back together after this. Such massive gaps. It's beyond horrendous to even contemplate such pain. Would it be kinder if she were taken too? Such thoughts are difficult to voice because ... well ... just because we are taught not to think such things I guess. This is the kind of situation where I can only pray regardless of my lack of faith. Some things are just too dreadful. I will pray for Susan and Shanna.

    Poweful read Annie. xx Jos

  16. Annie, your comments to the comments are a post unto themselves! Shocking story...but then again, maybe not so, as we hear some version or another on the news all the time. Just not as close to home as in your case. One just never really knows what goes on behind those front doors - as YOU know better than most. Mental illness or pure evil, oft times difficult to distinguish one from the other.

  17. Utterly terrifying. Literature shouldn't be afraid to go there. A good write this.

  18. Akeith - Thank you for reading it!

    Anthony - Yes. Two sides of a duaghter and it has me wondering what their first clue was that all was not right. Was there a clue? Or was it as you experienced...a short walk from light to deranged?

    Jos - I am experiencing my passion and intensity now...the second puberty of the mid life crisis :) As a teenager, I lived very much within the lines that were drawn for me. You're right. Who can hope to understand the compulsion of being freed from every constraint that ever held you...from feeling it your right and duty to committ a murder, a rape, a torture...whatever? You are stepping outside your own lines to pray. Susan and especially Shanna will be very grateful.

    Wanderer - It is a good thing to remember, that we do not know what goes on behind the scenes. I've heard horrendous arguments from across backyard fences. It's so hard to know when to make a call, and when I'm being paranoid. Susan's neighbors called too late. They listened to the fighting for an hour. I've done it. Makes me wonder. And yes...so hard to distinguish.

    Andreas - I've always enjoyed true crime novels...especially re: serial killers. It's the playground for my dark side. I wonder if I could even sit across from a psychotic and be able to tell truth from fiction. The conviction with which they spin their web is amazing.

  19. I give you credit for daring to go there and write this. I'm not sure I could. It is a sign how deep you can go in yourself...which is hard. I hope the best outcome possible for Susan.

  20. I can't imagine what must be going through Susan's mind. The loss of her husband, her recovery, the theft,....most of all her daughter. I've always known on some level love can't cure everything. This is just so sad. I feel for this woman. (Hugs)Indigo

  21. all i could think was 'psychosis'. and how much i would love my daughter no matter what.

    i add my prayers and well wishes for your friend susan, ww. i imagine you will wrap your arms around her one way or another.

    p.s. unrelated and i hope not irreverent given the tragedy of this post: you are wishing someone would let you ghost write their memoirs? hahaha! do you know i am struggling with my book # 2, supposedly a memoir that cannot be allowed to be a kiss and tell memoir!! you can always write mine ♥

  22. I'm speechless right now. I'm so sorry to hear about your coworker. I'm not sure we can ever understand these things ...

  23. Liza - Thank you. The more daring thing for me would be to write something happy. I can't seem to manage it :)

    Indigo - Me too. I'm sure there is still some level of shock. There are nurses and family around. I worry of her when she is back in the empty house.

    KJ - The psychosis must be taken into account. But damn it would be hard to see "around" the act itself...to separate it. And I would be happy to write yours! Lemme at it :)

    Matt D - No, we can only try to understand and wonder if we even came close.


Thank you for listening.