Poem From a Domestic Violence Survivor

~50% of women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness. “Stumbling Southward” is a poem from a domestic violence survivor who has been served by Project DVORA. This writer explores the connection between DV and homelessness. In addition to advocacy-based counseling, Project DVORA offers resilience-building groups for individuals and families.

Woman, Nomad-like Lost, alone, confused Wandering through a dirty maze of city streets Deserted by all Comforted by none In a gray haze of hopelessness You stray Far So far from safety So far from home and nowhere left to turn…
You stumble Southward To the Promised Land Movie Magic Hollywood Higher profile Highest hype Seducing all with promises of sunshine and happy endings Offers of plentitude Doled out Like so many surplus supplies To its dazed, deluded Happy-hungry citizens
Woman, alone, unfriended You meander through the jungle of grime Mental states of mass confusion flowing through Your head Jumbled messages Lacking fusion as the bench becomes your bed
Images blur before your eyes Violations against your will Odd shapes and colors converge Collide You blink to clear them still Like mixed-up metaphors You struggle to see Your understanding clouded by A spate of misfired signals Your boggled Brain Wires-crossed Feeds you his malicious meal And laughs All the while you suffer A thousand unformed questions Stand looking Waiting, hovering Like shadowy, over-sized giants Looming, always looming Above you
You run Hoping to escape While the Giants Lick their jowls and Prepare to swoop down Atop you and devour you with one last ravenous bite
Woman, alone As you pass me Muttering to yourself Incoherent gibberish Mottles the barren sky I long to ask What-are-you-trying-to-say? To those of us who'll dare to listen Who aren't too preoccupied With our own special brand of confusion Here in this over-charged Undernourished Metropolis We, the bombarded ones Buried beneath A Mass of Confusion under which lies dormant Levels of understanding Known ultimately only to ourselves
We shiver, senselessly, in our own confusion Until finally, it too overwhelms Even us Stomping its Giant foot upon our souls It grinds us into the ground Deeper and deeper With every sinister twist of its Massive, unyielding heel A stiletto blade thrust into our hearts We bleed And like you We look for comfort From family Friends If we are lucky…
But you, my Nomadic friend Where do you have to turn? A hundred thousand jaded eyes glaze over with contempt As your shopping cart rattles by them in the street A harsh reminder of the Unpleasant It rattles their nerves As they turn their heads Hoping not to see The Pain It hurts too much Too many They’ve seen too many Too much of the same before Too many to care for Too much to care
And those who do? How can they help? What can they do? Take you home? To preen and protect you? What about the others? So many, many lost children Stumbling Southward Ever Southward A never-ending stream
What to do? Who can help? Who will care? Stumbling Southward Landing here in the Land of Lost Souls Just another face among many
Now the crowd begins to w-i-d-e-n L-e-n-g-t-h-e-n The Collective Cry becomes louder As the pain deepens A Communal Sadness begins to permeate our Unconscious Consciousness And we wait Biding our time Forgetting what we can Hiding what we cannot And we wait For all of you. For all of us. For all. And pray... THAT WE WON'T BE THE NEXT

Learn more about the correlation between homelessness and domestic violence. Read another poem from this author here.

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