papa don’t take no … mess

his hands never leave
the filth of him crawls beneath her skin
as feces stains the cuticles
of her thumbless hands
she gnaws around his feculence
with feline precision
she cannot remove him
without defiling her tongue

speak his name
she will not
but he is there in the mirror
the blue of his eyes
the sneering curl of his thin upper lip
the leering gaze

don’t take no
don’t take

scrub a dub-dub
three razors
in the
she feels

no pain

if he’s down there
if he’s down
his stain covering
her élan vital
wonders if she can cut
him out
if she goes deep enough

but papa don’t take

no mess
papa don’t take

he’s warm coming out
she leaks the red of his
drunken stare
the bloodlines run
too deep
even in the warm, wet
she shivers

and for the first
time she
leaks just one
he runs too deep
the stain too deep
the stain too deep

papa don’t take
no mess
don’t take no


you see

took every
thing else

fecundity leaks slowly

as the spirit slides from
a passing thought

is he down there
in her
is he

cause papa
don’t take
don’t take



  1. amysomday says:

    Thank you, Bill, for not being afraid to strike this very deep chord.

  2. That’s a really really good poem. It’s very creepy and redolent of some horrible abusive relationship, without being specific.

    1. Thank you very much. That’s what I was going for … redolent (*grabs dictionary). 🙂

  3. I had to force myself to keep reading, it’s so chilling and disturbing in it’s truth.

    1. Sorry. I’ve known too many in this situation to keep it in.

  4. amysomday says:

    Bill, i appriate that one of your tags is “recovery”. So often many people never get to this place in their lives. They live and relive a moment or the effects of their self created bubble of an environment without stepping away and letting the guilt and shame lie with the perpetrator. Sometimes I think that as a victim I hung on for so long because I was afraid of what might happen if I was “normal”. “I thought I was normal before and look what happened” mentality… such abuse really alters the mind until a victim doesn’t trust or believe anyone. It takes persistence and love from a healer to help a victim that doesnt know how to reach out.

    1. One thing I wanted to say in the piece is what I’ve seen from trying to counsel, or in some cases, just help those recovering from abuse. To some extent, it can be like a scab, which you pick at and dig, ever deeper, until it becomes the life’s work. I’ve known some consider or attempt suicide, but the “stain” is still there. The only true recourse is to accept what has happened. That doesn’t mean condoning it, just understanding that it doesn’t have to define the entirety of one’s life.

      One thing I had one victim tell me, with sincerity, was that she could never date me. When I asked why, she told me it was because I was “too nice to her.” She said she wouldn’t know how to handle that. I think the real truth is feeling stained somehow, as if they aren’t clean enough somehow. That stayed with me, because she was my best friend at the time.

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