DOCU-POETRY

BULLY in the

SPOTLIGHT

These poems are an accumulation of events experienced personally or gleaned from news stories.  Grown in a petri dish of time and viewed under a microscope, they form a collection dealing with the snakes and piranha within society, the trail of devastation that they cause, and the survival skills employed by many of their victims.  Two poems are a collage of real-life personalities or occurrences; combined they more potently convey the societal impact.  As with docu-drama a minimum of artistic liberties are taken with the facts.

I hope you are a lover of poetry.  Several of my chapbook poems follow.  Most of them are dark, but I also have a light and joyous side with a reverence for nature which you can explore at Journey To Light or

e-mail jherschlag@comcast.net 

You can order “Bully” for $9 incl. postage

ALL THIS IN ONE YEAR


And on Christmas Day

an angered driver shoots

my friend’s daughter—

in the back seat with her

three-year-old


Holly watches blood spurt

from Mommy’s head

hears Daddy scream

Help me  Help me 

He shot my princess


Six months later

my neighbor enters her lobby

finds her college-bound daughter

dying on a stretcher


Cops apprehend the masked ex-husband

who says, With each knife plunge

into our daughter

I gutted my wife’s heart


And one mile from me

a paranoid passenger

on the Long Island Rail Road

shoots twenty-five riders

Six die


But they say

the murder rate in New York

dropped this year




OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IS OUR COLLATERAL


Asthmatic bronchitis, infectious hepatitis,

ulcerative colitis, flu, typhoid fever,

costochondritis, kidney infections, flu,

osteomyelitis, peritonsillitis,

Sjogren syndrome, flu, hypoglycemia, rhinitus,

sinusitis, flu, thyroid cancer and diabetes—

the visible gifts from Father.


Protracted fear and rage,

the unseen silent killers

inseminated into me,

grew stronger with each rape. 

Their accrued psychic harm

is obvious to many.


Not so with damage to the brain—

years of stress-induced,

high glucocorticoid levels

produced permanent neuron loss

throughout my hippocampus,

shrank it—neurons

to the seat of memory burned out,

connective conduits fried.

Had I not buried fear and rage,

had I been strong enough

to remember each rape,

had I murdered my psychic killer

by going public,

my immune system would not

have succumbed.


Hiding, letting buried memories

and feelings secrete hormones

to do their frantic work at night,

magnified, extended the rapist’s

thrust long after his death.

Harm to mouth, vagina, anus,

was just the beginning.

Rapists invade each cell

and educate the body,

yield a doctorate in abuse.

Truces occur but scars remain

in the vestiges of our b


Rape is a Grand Larceny

of the self

and the immune system

Instinct for homeostasis

exists within us.

Trying to retrain my nervous system

I do yoga, meditate, and

write, write, write.




WHY DON’T DOCTORS KNOW?


Tied she was,

as I was.  In last night’s tv

documentary, Genie, the wild child

found at thirteen, still in diapers

and tied to the potty in her bedroom,

no curtains, pictures, anything

for her eyes to eat.

Skinny she was,

her feet could barely step,

legs bent so long on the potty.

Her arms worked, eyes sort of worked,

her voice was swallowed years ago.

Silent as me, I thought,

when Father did sex things.

Hers, no sex, just beatings.  Mine did beatings

but I had the world outside my room, outside

my house.  She had a potty.  When they found

her, (miracle angel face, wide-eyed curious,

with caution-knit brow), she soon laughed,

her hungry hands touched, touched my pulse

as she, like a blind child, finger-surveyed

objects.  Her eyes had never seen

anything but her body, four walls, a crib

she was often not allowed to sleep in, her

potty and bare floor.  I think she too did

not know how, was forbidden to cry.  Her ears,

never word-fed, could not teach her tongue Ma Ma,

No.  All I want is to hold her, hug her,

rock her, as I wanted all

those years to be held.  How naked

she must have felt, no humans except for

beatings.  In my mother’s womb my twin and I

shared fluid space, then shared a bedroom. 

In there she was deaf and blind as

the floral wallpaper to Father’s presence. 

When doctors took Genie in she filled a long shelf

with glasses of liquid, as do others like her.

Doctors don’t know why.  But it’s their piggy bank

for future thirsts.  Thirst hurts worse than hunger- 

dry eyes hard to blink, no tears, mouth parched;

one’s heart shrivels, its beat weakens.  Doctors

are perplexed by her rabbit-walk.  Let them sit

years on a potty, to learn, legs don’t unfold

easily.  Why don’t experts hire

an abuse survivor.  We know what they don’t. 

Institutionalized, stuffed back into a bottle,

Genie how do you live?












Poems from Bully In The Spotlight

All This In One Year

Our Immune System Is Our Collateral

Why Don’t Doctors Know?