Passed Notes & Poems
a monthly feature by Kristin Garth
Fatalistic Fairy Tale
A dragon breathes inside pink skin. He owns
all of the oxygen. He’s hatched inside
a ten year old. Her hemoglobin hones
his stranglehold. A bloated beast, she hides
beneath, conceived necessity of teeth –
to burn demons with blazing breaths while
a body suffers little deaths. His rage, her grief’s
expansive scrawl upon sweet skin. What’s wild
won’t crawl. Her soul is choking, next to death.
An animal may be all left. Dark knight
affright at what he sees -- a child, bereft,
of breath, becoming tragedy. He’ll fight
unfair, forever, for he must prevail --
a princess in a fucked-up fairytale.
I’m a big believer in writing myself my own bedtime stories. Sometimes on Twitter, I’ve asked people to tell me them, strangers and friends. Sometimes strangers wrote me such lovely stories that they became friends. A womanchild needs a bedtime story, and anyone who has read my works knows that I am very much a womanchild.
I was chatting with a friend recently who also suffered abuse as a child. It was post the Kavanaugh hearings and the brave testimony of Christine Blasey Ford. I was commenting on how though she was a very mature professional woman, I could see the teenager in her still in her mannerisms and voice. We both agreed, having experienced abuse young, that at least for some people – at least for us, a part of you will always be the age you were when you were abused.
I have a handful of poems that I’ve written that I consider my bedtime stories. In my first chapbook, Pink Plastic House, the poem, My Beast comes to mind which is inspired by Beauty & The Beast. It was originally published in Deracine Magazine.
This poem is a good example of a bedtime story for a womanchild because it incorporates grown up sexuality with childish interests, elements – it engages both halves of my psyche, so I think I did a fantastic. Personally, this is probably my favorite sexual poem I’ve ever written for that selfish reason.
Fatalistic Fairy Tale is a bedtime story I wrote myself, too. It’s more about reminding myself that the battles I am fighting with my anxiety and depression due to my abuse – they don’t make me any less a princess. I have been made to feel in my life at times “too damaged.” I just wrote a poem about this, in fact, called No Locked Bedroom Doors that reminded me so vividly of feeling unworthy and unlovable for things that happened to me that I could not control. This poem and the princess language and fairytale setting is my attempt to say perhaps I am a little damaged, but I’m still worth fighting for – not only by myself but with partners and friends, too.
The dragon in this poem is my anxiety that I’ve felt as the poem suggest since I was a child. I have a lot of rage and panic and ptsd that is very much related to sexual abuse, and I have lived with it for a very long time. Unfortunately, people I’ve been involved with romantically have lived with it, too. I try to work on myself, but there’s a baseline of this that I don’t seem to be able to fully shake. I don’t combat it alone. Others have to deal with it, too. It can make me feel very hopeless and broken.
I wrote this poem to try to explain to others what it feels like – in a childish, fairytale language -- to have panic attacks and anxiety, a dragon sitting on my chest. and sometimes I think he’s growing so large that I will suffocate. There will be none of me left – only the dragon that was born to deal with things I was too small to deal with on my own. This is my story of the battle inside of me. Regardless of how it damages me though, I am still a princess. I just come from a fucked-up fairy tale, and I appreciate everyone’s understanding, every dark knight and lady who makes me feel loved and worth fighting the battle.