Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guilty

The “ I've never had anything
near as horrible
as her rape” guilt
kept me in a
doomed relationship.

The “wanting to leave”guilt
kept me there
twice as long
as I should have.

The “I want someone else” guilt
made me secretive
and conspiratorial.

The “I’m having an affair”
guilt led me to crying jags
in my car at the far end
of the Target parking lot.

The “I can’t leave
my primary relationship,
but I also can’t commit
to my paramour and
that’s preventing her
from finding true love” guilt
helped me let her go.

The “I’m trying to be a good
repentant partner but failing
miserably at it” guilt dragged on.

The “I can’t believe I’m starting
another affair” guilt crept
into my life.

The “this new woman
deserves better than being
the other woman” guilt
jolted me into decisiveness.

The “pretending to go into
couples’ therapy as a ruse
to break up with her” guilt
played out.

The “she went through
my things and found all
the evidence of
my scarlet adultery” guilt
baptized me in shame.

The “Yes, I admit
I did you wrong
and I’m a scumbag
confession” guilt monologue
tumbled out of me.

She sent me the
“this is not personal,
but I need $1,000
for house repairs
because I didn’t have
any warning
that you were planning
on leaving me...”
guilt invoice,

which I remitted
in two payments
of $500 each,
thinking I’d be free.

12 years later,
the guilt still remains.


[Posted for #OpenLinkNight at dversepoets.com - come on along and bleed a little poetry along with us!]

48 comments:

  1. oh heck...guilt has many faces and has the characteristics to glue to us..think the only way to get rid of it is by forgiving yourself..

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    1. I had a therapist who made the point that there are some people in this life who will never give us what we want. This is one of those situations.

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  2. oy, yeah...whole lot of guilt there to be carrying around...and in not wanting to hurt others we do...and destroy ourselves in the process....

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    1. Excellent point - that by not wanting to hurt others we often do.

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  3. Oh wow... Guilt is a cruel mistress. Vivid, engaging and damn good.

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    1. Thanks, Beth! Glad it was / is all worth something!

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  4. I do think guilt can live a long time. I agree with Claudia, that we have to forgive ourselves and after we have made amends as best we can and have moved on we have to try to let go of the guilt so it doesn't eat us up.

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    1. I agree - I've made my peace with it - but I'm still guilty.

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  5. So powerful, Mosk... somethings we carry guilt around for years. I hope you (or whoever it is) can find the strength to forgive yourself.

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    1. Thanks, Laurie, she probably will never forgive me. She wore her PTSD like a suit of armor, and to forgive might be to dismantle some of her "strength".

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  6. ouch...ouch...ouch...and ouch again. We've been conditioned to carry our guilt...conditioned to keep trying because even if you know the efforts are futile you have to say you did...how are we to not change our minds? The world tells us there's only room for one, we grow, we evolve, we change...and don't we make the most beautiful mistakes chasing the dreams we were told to...I think, personally, a 12 year lashing is quite enough. (I should also practice what a preach...but that's another poem!) On another note...I do think the poem is quite fantastic!

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    1. Thanks Natasha, and it hasn't been a lashing as much as a nagging something. I know I tried. I'm much happier now - in a guilt-free zone.

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  7. Oh crap--I hate guilt--this is such a powerful exploration of it--

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    1. I hate guilt too - which is why I try and behave so I have less to be guilty about. Thanks.

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  8. Wonderful, Mosk. A deep study (adventure?) into what and how our brains deal with primal emotion. A very good read.

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    1. It was an adventure - the most unexpected guilt was when my paramour told me that she was waiting for me, and not pursuing other relationships because I couldn't commit to her. Thanks MiskMask

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  9. yes, it does seem to linger for such a long time...

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    1. It almost becomes a friend, a demanding, unproductive companion. Thanks for your comment.

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  10. I absolve you. Now absolve yourself; you can't fix it, but you can live well today.

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    1. Thanks! I'm all better now! :) Seriously, I've moved on but I always remember.

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    2. Don't underestimate my powers! I once got a dead chicken to do the samba.

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    3. "That's what *she* said." - Michael Scott

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  11. This is heartbreaking! The things that were done were bad enough, but that you tagged it with "guilt" does make it seem more dragged-out kind of suffering, which is so painful. It seemed the reason things got worse too as narrator tries to get out of one guilt and seems to fall into the next one.

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    1. Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, guilt just builds upon itself until the conscious brain says "enough!"

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  12. Guilt, ach, it just seems to stay with you and grow, like ayucky bit of mould that won't shift! Great insightfulness!

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    1. Or, at least, a fungus! Thanks for your compliments. Mosk

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  13. We are always hardest on ourselves, are we not? This learning as we go stuff can really leave its mark. But yes, forgiveness is the only thing that can free us, and one of the hardest things to deliver, especially when we seek it for ourselves. Great write!

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    1. Thanks, and I forgive myself, but I never forget. :)

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  14. Anonymous5:29 PM

    Wow . .the way you did this poem was amazing. You Mosked it. :) Praying for all that guilt to fall off of you as you ride off into the sunset. - deb

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    1. ! Deb, I "mosked" it? I love that - sounds positive, not like "I left the chicken too long in the oven and I mosked it." Thanks.

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  15. Lord, Mosk. I hope this is pure imagination. If not, remember: life is short. Spit that shit out and move on, honey.xo

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    1. Nope, sorry, but I'm a nonfiction writer. Fortunately, this covers 1994-2001 so it's a long time ago. Thanks!

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  16. Think guilt is a slow rape of self. This looks like a catharsis and I hope it works..time to move on...forgive yourself, please..

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    1. Thanks for your concern, but I bristle with your use of the word rape (as I was falsely accused of committing rape back in 1994), but I have forgiven myself. I'm better now.

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  17. I really liked how you framed each section with the weight of the guilt and how it moved the main character through each section.

    I'm not going to assume this is autobiographical, and even if it is, I still like the way this is written. All poetry doesn't have to be "confession".

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    1. Thanks AJ - if I can write my nonfiction life and it's as readable as fiction, then I'm tickled. Thanks for your kind words. I don't like to see myself as a "confessional" writer, but more of a documentarian.

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  18. Guilt isn't such a bad thing
    It's the acknowledgement of wrongdoing
    Some say ignorance is the best defense
    I say acceptance is the best offense
    Accept the guilt, learn from it, & move right on along

    Hope that helped, in some way. Nice write, Mosk. Honesty like this is refreshing to read.

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    1. Thanks Alex - I think we all need a little guilt to keep us from doing terrible things, but I know in this case I just too it waaay too far. Your comments are very encouraging.

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  19. i get the guilt part. religious school and nagging parents did it to me... :(

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  20. Very nice expose' on guilt, my favorite emotion. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you - it's certainly a rich (if ultimately unsatisfying) emotion.

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  21. Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving...

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    1. and damn near impossible to wrap (up)!

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  22. yikes, Mosk. sounds a tough road. i've known some of those guilts. kudos to you for overcoming them. what does it mean to "cry a jag"?

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    1. Thanks Dr., "Jag" in this sense is slang of a period of overindulgence, so trust me, I has lots of crying jags that I couldn't explain to the one I betrayed for obvious reasons. I'm glad to know others know this guilt too, but get over it! You were young! You didn't know better! (I actually believe this last one because I'm convinced we never make the 2nd best choice if given all the data - at the time it looks like the best choice.)

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  23. ...guilt is something that will haunt you forever if not freed... smiles...

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    1. And perhaps that's its one productive function: as a reminder to do what's right. Thanks.

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