Monday, August 22, 2011

How near is insanity?

How near is insanity?

The bewildered young woman
Sits on the chair’s edge.
Her stomach is an airtight room
Filled with restless butterflies.
Her body is sore from last night's
Game of toss and throw across 
Their disheveled bedroom.

She inhales lightly,
Exhaling heavily.  

Her hands are sweating profusely

A sign that her anger is 
On the prowl for a fight. 

Where is he? she asks herself 
Tonight the ball game
Will have a new umpire!

She is ready to turn their
Small apartment into a
Nonmilitarized battle zone.
She won’t have long to wait.
Her “husband” will be home soon,
Exhibiting his forecastable mood.
She knows his routine like
She knows the back of her hand.
He’ll swagger into the apartment
From the garage, flashing a smile. 

The same demonic smile
She sees each time he beats her.
I’m glad the children are gone.
They’ve seen him beat me too

Many nights. Too many times,
   She thinks to herself.
Her common-law mate is home.
He's cheerfully whistling 
A song he wrote for her.
He calls it a 
Song of Warning to The Bitch

He strolls into the kitchen.
His eyes fall on her face,
Switching to her covered hand.
He sees a pointed object underneath
The towel: a steak knife.
“Intend to kill your man?”
He asks sarcastically, teasing her indignation.
“What’s with you tonight?
Feeling your fucking Cherrios?
Apparently you want my fist in your mouth!
Well, get ready and open wide!
Here come my big fat fist 
Toward your toothless mouth!”
                                           He had knocked out most of her front teeth
                                         Over the three years they've been together.
The young woman's husband fakes a lunge,
But he doesn’t touch her.
He likes to taunt her,
Reducing her to the
Least common denominator
Before the actual assault.
Her eyes hang onto his every move.
She knows how sneaky he can be.
He suddenly slams her against the wall.
 Her back locks in a semi-twist.
Pain shoots up her neck, her head.
Her live-in husband hovers over her,
His legs slightly parted,
Waiting to wall-slam her again.
She has a tight grip on the knife.
Lifting herself off the floor,
She raises her hand and
Rush toward his chest.
He thwarts the attempt on his life.
He roughly picks up the petite
Woman by her shoulders,
Pinning her against the wall.
“You sorry bitch! You got a nerve,
Pulling a knife on me!
I ought to make you eat it for supper!"

He drops her, slapping the side of her 
Head as she crumbles to the floor.
She is not aware of the stinging pain.
She doesn’t realize that she's  hanging 
Dangerously close to the edge of a cliff. 
And reality is fast deserting her.
Insanity’s thin line is standing nearby,
Studiously observing her.

She lifts herself off the floor,
Shaking loose the stinging head blow
Like a professional fighter.
“Kill me! Death is better than living 
With a bastard like you!”
Her icy mouth sucks up the kitchen’s warmth. 

“Why don’t you kill me?  
Take the damn knife!
Kill me, you cowardly bastard! 
You were willing last night!
Don’t you want to do it now?
What’s the matter, big man?  
Your Superman nuts
Locked in the freezer?” she taunts.
She opens the refrigerator door.
“Oh, lucky guess!
Here they are! In the freezer!
Laying in a saucer! And they look so cold!”
Staring at her common-law-husband,
The young woman detects a panic, confused in his eyes.
He tries to avert her attention from his fear.
“You a crazy bitch, you know that?
My friends warned me about you!”

“Yeah, yeah. You said that  
A millions times already.”

She is slipping farther and farther away from reality.
She can’t disengage her pending doom.
Every insane nerve in her body is
Fighting for its share of her sanity.
Smiling, she knows she has
Reversed roles without permission.
She is now the reducer.
“You’re still a crazy bitch!” 

“Like a fox who’s going kill you,
If you don’t kill me!”

Her common-law-husband doesn’t
Want to kill her despite threatening her many times.
He doesn't like this sudden role reversal.
It’s unnatural. It’s awkward.
Mistrustful of his angry mate
He cautiously retreats to the bedroom, 
Slowly walking backwards,
Facing his common-law-wife.
He doesn’t know what she’ll do
In her current state of mind.

“That’s right, coward! Run off!
Go to sleep if you dare!

Sleep and wait for the big surprise!
You know what I'm going to do?
Of course you don't!"
Her common-law-husband looks
At the timid woman
He has beaten weekly since
They've been together.
This angry woman was someone he didn't recognize.

"Who's been talking to you?" he demands.
She ignores him. 
Her seeing through him was unnerving.
"Yeah. Somebody's been talking to you!

Again, she ignores her common-law-husband.
"I’m going to pour gasoline on you
And then write my name on your
Chest with a dull knife!
Oops! Wait! Changed my mind. 
I’m going to pour your cheap cologne on 
You and set your ass on fire!
I’ll even let you strike the match!
Maybe I’ll show a little mercy
Before I stuff your mouth with
All the hell you’ve caused me!

Should I kill you fast? 
Maybe not.
I want you to see hell long
Before you get there!

Maybe tonight. 
Maybe tomorrow.
Go to sleep, husband. Don’t worry.

The insanity you drove me to is
Sitting on my shoulder.
Can you see it? It wants your attention!
I'll help you!
Look to the left. 
Look to the right! Look behind you!

How you die tonight depends on
How crazy I am. How crazy i feel. How insane I am.
If my craziness don't calm down,
You’re going to die a terrible death!

Oh, my. Decisions. Decisions. 
You never let me do that, you know:
Make my own decisions.
One more warning before you
Close your big pretty eyes, sweet husband:

Don’t sleep too hard. Don’t sleep too sound.
Remember to say a long prayer
And hope God will hear you."

The common law wife laughs out loud,
Dancing slowly,  then wildly to
Music she hears in her head.

copyrighted by dorothy charles banks
photo by dorothy charles banks

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