[I] may be crazy but I'm the closest thing I have to a voice of reason.

16 September 2011

Hell Above the Water /The Rapture, ch. 5

I am never relaxed
Even when I say I am
I’m always on the alert
Looking for the problem...
I flirt with guys
But they don’t get me
I think I’m ready to kill
The next person
That doesn’t fit [me]

Hell Above the Water

Swinger, addict, married man, monk
Smoker, toker, stand up guy, drunk
Twelve stepper, white knuckler, government grunt
Past child molester
Present memory forgetter
Bringers of promises, trophies, sorrow, laughter
And carriers:
chlamydia, scabies, herpes, and venereal warts - oh my!
These are the men, the men who have moved through my life.
For them I am friend, lover, mother, sex slave, wife.

Age mates from school, a father figure or two, cougar cubs - oooh!
These are the men who have loved me, the men who have
believed in, beguiled, belittled, and sometimes beat me. One cheated
for and another on me. One till-death-do-part’d me. One
plucked me up off the street for a Wham, bam, thank you ma’am
and a wink. One marched off into battle, another ran
to sit chanting at the feet of masters. These are the men,
the men who have bedded me, sexed me, caressed me with
hands schooled in childhood hurts and worse. For them I am
sometimes savior, sometimes bitch. I am stand up, bend over,
film noir, doggie style, climax screamer, pillow
crier, and witch.

I am all of these things
I am this and more
It’s hell above the water
Hell above the water...


I was so very young when I learned to submerge. I’m good at it. And when I say I’m good at it, I don’t mean I’m good at holding my breath. I mean I can breathe water. It’s survival, baby, learned behavior. It’s evolution.

Actually, it’s disassociation - that’s what the psychologists call it - which is a twenty-dollar word for Elvis leaving the building while he’s still in it. Denial, disassociation, doing the over-controlling bitch dance, these are all defense mechanisms designed by the body/mind to circumvent the mushroom cloud response to what shrinks call “overwhelming emotional distress”. That’s another coupla twenty-dollar words for things that are so disturbing to consider and so very fucked up to experience that we disappear them. Or ourselves.


Denial and disassociation, these are the magic wands of life; the magic that lets the show march on like Innocent Erendira, her sleeping body walking with eyes open, talking with mind shut, bending over lying down standing up; sex. Erendira’s sexual servitude began at the hands of her grandmother. She was fourteen. Mine began at the hands of a grandfather. I was four. And although I made the memory vanish, I was never able to deny the claim that pleasure has on my body. Or pain.


The body fucking in spite
of pain, fucking around
the pain, through the pain, in-
to the pain; harder, faster, wilder, riding the pony pain;
breaking it
in the pleasure of climaxing in pain. I never wept
but spent a decade drinking
cheap wine and peeing blood. In the emergency room
I sat shivered in splinters awaiting the benediction
of one pill, two pill
red pill, blue pill.

Good sex, bad
sex, sex with the slippery nail jack-
hammering; coercion, perversion, passionate embrace, fucking
in haste; fumbling, fondling, force. Lifelong
sex has bound me: hunter hunted hostage.
This sing song, song
singing a pornographic Dr. Seuss rhyme; this
magic in my head, this playful, painful, angry, stoic
lullaby; this poetry for liars, lovers, the men
whose secrets I keep; this song of pleasure
and pain, I can’t deny. It’s me.
Raised by a drunk and a slut, I learned early 

to keep my clever mouth shut

And the chorus sings:

I got no reason to say a thing
got no reason to say a thing
‘cause you don’t scare me at all
no no no no no no
no no no no no no
no no no no no no
no no no no no no

What I know is pain. What I can withstand is pain. What I can count on is that each road to pleasure will, ultimately, wind me sweetly back to the unbearable brightness of pain.

All contents of Sins of the Eldest Daughter / dinarozellebarnett.blogspot.com
are copyrighted © and may not be used without permission from its creator.


  1. Impressive, I dig thanks for sharing with me

  2. Hey Jason :) Thank you for taking a minute to let me know you liked it. Made me smile.

  3. Dina, you write very well. Your sentences flow very nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi Zach. Thanks for the visit. And for the compliment. :)

  5. the terror of your words, the beauty of your words... all of what you endured made you into Dina. i envy your self knowledge.

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Naomi. It means the world to me. And... uh... well, now I'm tongue-tied. So I'll just give you a hug instead. (((((((Naomi!))))))

  6. Hi Dina. This is Vicki Gundrum, from Twitter (I don't visit there much). Exquisite writing. "...Elivis leaving the building while he's still in it"--that puts it well, and I've done it too. Be well, dear. Vicki

  7. Hi Vicki.

    Today, it's the 30th of March and I'm climbing back on the horse. I think. ;) When the PTSD/ bipolar work becomes too much, I step away from the keyboard. Coming back today to your comment was an unexpected surprise. And a joy. Thank you. For reading. For commenting. For being here when I put my riding gear back on.