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What I Did at the End of Our Street - A Very Dark Poem

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Foreward

What I Did at the End of Our Street is not biographical, so please don’t be horrified. I have been going through a dark period recently due to some sad and unfortunate personal events, so decided to pen this rather graphic expose on one of our society’s greatest problems.

I originally published this at The Creative Exiles, as I wasn't sure how the content would be seen by HubPages, and it received great comments there. However, I felt the poem would get a wider audience here and that the message needs sharing.

Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence | Source

What I Did at the End of Our Street

I think about days of my childhood

Of steps, I might like to retrace,

All the fun and adventure of boyhood,

And dark thoughts I would rather replace.

With a heart that was oft’ close to breaking

During long fearful nights in my bed,

I thought of the hunger and aching

And dark dreams invading my head.

But now I am back in the present

Once more in a world that has changed,

Most memories no longer pleasant

But of things that were clearly deranged.

Boyhood friends of mine, most have married,

Many have moved far away;

But the secrets inside I still carry,

And I’m resigned that is how it will stay.

For I go out to parties and dinners,

A lonely companionless elf.

I see people around me as sinners,

But none more so than myself.

While the talk goes around I’m a stoner,

‘Midst all the sex and the drugs.

As a child, I was mostly a loner,

When I chat up a female, she shrugs.

Source

As I’ve never been in a relationship

The odds are I’ll go home alone,

But there’s always the chance of a friendship

Despite what occurred in times gone.

My past keeps on rising to haunt me,

No one knew what ensued in my street.

Was I a victim, or guilty?

Old gossip and rumours repeat.

Source

When part of a home full of violence,

When abuse is seen every day,

Hidden feelings of shame lead to silence,

And curious eyes turned away.

What happens behind the closed curtains

Must not be revealed to the world,

And children show loyalty to parents

Especially when fears are unfurled.

Our neighbours they had no suspicions

Of the abusive behaviour next door.

My family was quite inconspicuous,

Never falling afoul of the law.

But evil it lurks in strange places,

And good seems to sometimes retreat.

This sadly was one of those cases,

Down the very dark end of our street.

Bottle of Scotch Whiskey
Bottle of Scotch Whiskey | Source

My father – drunk, cruel and abusive

To my mother, the obedient wife.

A situation far from exclusive,

But she constantly feared for her life.

One night as he punched her in fury,

No longer could I sit and watch.

I cared not who’d be judge or jury

As I swung his full bottle of Scotch.

It crushed Satan’s head like a melon,

He crumpled and fell down the stairs.

Though he’d never be tried as a felon,

I’d forever be accused by the stares.

“Still a child. Self-defence,” said in the same breath,

All names were suppressed from the news.

“Misadventure by Drink!” the cause of the death,

But rumours and gossip soon spewed.

The End of the Street
The End of the Street | Source

Though my mother and I relocated

Those horrors will always repeat,

My feelings of guilt unabated,

And what I did at the end of our street.

Source

© 2016 John Hansen

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Comments 71 comments

sallybea profile image

sallybea 8 weeks ago from Norfolk

An interesting and important subject often hidden behind walls and unfortunately far too common but as you say the subject and characters deserve to be exposed.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 8 weeks ago from southern USA

Yes, very dark poem, John, written to bring light to a very dark reality for far too many in this world, sadly. You bring the emotions to the forefront here in this well-written poem. Alcohol is a terrible drug and alcoholism is an all-consuming disease, and when not treated, can lead to life and death scenarios. The saddest part are the children affected.

I'm sorry I didn't know of the trials you are facing, John. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Peace and blessings always


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 8 weeks ago from Taos, NM

It love hurts, it is not love. "Love is patient, love is kind." Your are right, what a dark poem. But, through this poem you have actually illuminated family abuse and that is a good thing. So many times situations like these happen. If we see or even suspect something is wrong, it is our responsibility to inform authorities. This is a powerful poem and beautifully written.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 8 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

I've been at the end of that street, my friend, and found my way back. A dark poem? No darker than living it, for sure. An important message delivered masterfully.


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 8 weeks ago from United States

Bless you for sharing this poetry of life. No matter how dark it gets you are now among friends. whonu


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 8 weeks ago

I could have written that poem, John. It scared the hell out of me when I realized I'd figured the perfect way out: when he passed out, toss his own lit cigarette into the sheets. Then years later, the "Burning Bed" movie came out. You write great poetry, my friend.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 8 weeks ago from london

Sometimes writing helps and in that sense I commend your courage.

Life gets done, and in most cases it's all set up.

We are merely instruments. Only two things are to be taken seriously. Self-discovery and God-mastery. Conscience is part of the plan that paves the way.

Poetically it is another brilliant and well contrived piece. There are no judges here. Most certainly not me. Much Love, Bro.


faith-hope-love profile image

faith-hope-love 8 weeks ago from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.

Jodah. John, I am with you an can fully relate. Forgiving ourselves is the Hardest thing of all. But then we can eventually Forgive but our memories Linger on. You were doing what was needed to stop a more nefarious plot and the ending results were not intentional. Go into church, Hand it to "Jesus" and go through the ceremony of Forgiving yourself and claiming the peace that you are due. I know that this works. God bless. John W


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Unfortunately, Sally, this is a far too common reality. In my country we are so worried about terrorist plots and threats, and virtually ignore all the domestic violence where a woman or child is dying almost every day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your kind words, Faith. Alcohol and drugs are often behind cases of abuse but unless the person takes responsibility and admits to the problem little can be done. I won't go into the details of the personal issues we are dealing with but it is a combination of physical health, death of friends, and abuse issues in an extended family. Your thoughts and prayers are most appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Sounds like Corinthians to me Suzette, and you are right "love" is the answer. Incidents of family abuse is actually rising, the scary thing is that most cases still aren't being reported. Yes, it is our responsibility to inform the authorities.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

You are right, Bill. Living this scenario is much darker than writing about it. At one stage my father was,if not an alcoholic, a binge drinker (I have been there too) but he was never violent or abusive in any way. Alcohol and drugs have different effects on different people. Glad you found your way back. Your comment is always greatly appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you whonu. I have more friends here on HubPages than anywhere else, and I know there is always a willing ear.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Those must have been terrifying times MizB. Fortunately you lived through it. Sorry, to bring back those memories..but not as vividly as that movie "Burning Bed" I am sure!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

The secret to making this a better world, Manatita, is for people to be non-judgemental. That seems to be the theme of a lot of my writing recently. "Don't judge me until you've walked a mile in my shoes". Thank you for the kind and wise words.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi John. The trouble with writing a piece of fiction like this is that (if you write it well) people often tend to assume it is true. I am not saying I am a great writer, but that has happened to me a number of times. With a subject like this, especially, that is rampant, and is on the news constantly, it could easily be true. In saying this, a case of abuse close to home may have been one of the catalysts for writing this. I do appreciate your kind comment and the good advice to forgive yourself and hand all such things to Jesus.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 8 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

John, I can relate to this dark poetry. I had a stepfather who was a good man until he tipped the bottle, then all H broke loose. He beat my mother. I was 4-5 and remember trips in the wee hours of the morning to the police station. They would take us home and arrest him. I remember hoping he wouldn't come home, but of course he did and it all started over again. She finally left him but not soon enough to suit me. I hope all your concerns will soon be resolved. I am a firm believer that writing dark poetry is a catharsis, at least it is for me.....

Cheers..


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 8 weeks ago

John, this is a great hub!

The darker side of life

Comes in a bottle

Clouding the vision

Till all that love the drinker

Become like the worm at the bottom

Worthless to him in his strife


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Ruby, I am sorry to hear about your difficult childhood with the violent stepfather. I am glad your mother finally left him though. Many women never have that opportunity. Yes, I do think expressing your feelings through dark writing/poetry helps. Thanks for the well-wishes too.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Well expressed, Shyron. Thanks.


Usha R68 profile image

Usha R68 8 weeks ago from Bangalore India

Heart wrenching n soul stirring.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 8 weeks ago from USA

I like the dark writing but am sorry for the circumstances that have prompted it. Be well and happy and know that you are care for.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this poem, Usha. Always good to see a new name in the comments.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that caring comment, Flourish. Yes, i know I have friends here at HubPages. Glad you liked the poem though.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 8 weeks ago from Pacific Northwest

This very dark tale is so sad. I feel this person's utter loneliness and hopelessness. Domestic violence is the worst thing to happen to a family. How people, especially children, survive it is beyond me. Thanks for sharing this through the eyes of this person


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 8 weeks ago

John, what a powerful hub--in just a few expertly-written verses you have encapsulated a life of pain. Beautifully done. Praying for peace for you.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 8 weeks ago from Oklahoma

Very dark and interesting.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 8 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

This poem reminds me of my dark days when I felt alone in my pain with no where to turn. My family wasn't a help because they were cut from the same cloth I was, we had been taught to hide our pain and not show weakness. My friends wasn't much of a help because most of them depended on me for encouragement but when I needed them I couldn't receive encouragement from the incorrigible. In the end I had to make a personal choice to own my own pain.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 8 weeks ago from California

We all have our dark and difficult times--Sending you much love and peace John


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Lori, do,estivation viloence has always been a problem burnt maybe it wasn't talked about as much in the past. However, it seems to be on the increase despite all efforts to address it. Increased financial and social pressures in today's world seems to be responsible. It is a terrible situation for anyone living it. Thanks for reading.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for that lovely comment, Linda. When Ifeel strongly about a certain subject the words seem to flow easily. It is as if I am directed by a greater force to get the message across.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Larry, I am glad you found this interesting I know you enjoy these works with a darker theme.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Dana, I am sorry this brought back difficult memories. I do try to intersperse the darker tales with more uplifting ones...this did follow Verymerryville :) it is hard to find any positives from these situations but we must think we were put through these terrible things for a reason and hopefully became stronger and who we are because of it. I am glad you did.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Audrey, thank you for that kind and caring comment.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 8 weeks ago from LOS ANGELES

Thank you for saying that Jodah. I did come out stronger, bruised but still standing and the best part of all is I found a friend who will stick by me closer than any friend, brother and sister (Jesus) God bless u and all that you do.


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 8 weeks ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Wow. That was powerful.

I was married to Satan. It took me nearly twenty years to break free.

Namaste


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading, Deborah. I am sorry for your experience. I am glad you finally escaped, even if it took 20 years.


Yvonne Decelis profile image

Yvonne Decelis 8 weeks ago from Boston, Massachusetts

That was absolutely AMAZING - you are an incredible writer! (My family "{ "only" verbally abused each other but I have seen much worse in others and I am so VERY sorry to anyone who has to go through this sort of nightmare).


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

I am very humbled by that comment, Yvonne. There are many different forms of abuse, verbal and psychological probably being the most common, but rarely reported.


clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 8 weeks ago from Nibiru

vivid poem jodah, dark really dark, many of us have inner demons inside that pushes us away from the light further and further.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 8 weeks ago from San Diego California

Very admirably written verses. Longfellowesque, the way it tells a story in verse.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

That is exactly the problem, Clive. Even when the abuse stops the inner demons continue to wreak havok.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hey, Mel. Thanks for the comparison to Longfellow. It was he that wrote Hiawatha wasn't it? I actually think this is my niche, calling, whatever...story poems. I have tried my hand at short fiction but seem to just fall short of what I am aiming at. I find it much easier to tell a story in verse.


MONTEZjW profile image

MONTEZjW 8 weeks ago from laurinburg/atlanta

Wow i love it ...


Jodah profile image

Jodah 8 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for reading this MONTEZjW, I appreciate your comment.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 7 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

It's really a very, very dark scenario expressed in a perfect style. Alcohol and drugs are too dangerous to be get addicted to and I wonder why all the governments and so-called moral policing are unable to get rid of it completely. They should be banned 100% and all violators get punished severely.

Thanks, John, for sharing this issue through a wonderfully crafted poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Venkat, thank you for reading and contributing such a great comment. You are right that combatting alcohol and drug use would go a long way to reducing the prevalence of domestic abuse.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 7 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

True, John. It should be gradually abandoned and banned by governments, even it reduces their revenues. Only then, there can be domestic peace and good health for people.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Venkat, the problem is the government's are reluctant to ban anything that they make money from. But I agree totally with what you say.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 weeks ago from The Caribbean

It's not hard to imagine that this experience may be true for someone. Thanks for shining the light on the gruesome details which society needs to view as possible and probable. Another testimony to your poetic ability.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Another poem, another message :) Thank you, as always MsDora.


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 7 weeks ago from New Orleans, LA

It is very dark, but unfortunately all too real.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

That is the unfortunate thing, truthfornow. It is all too real, I wish it was only a fantasy for everyone.


Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 7 weeks ago from Florida

Hey John, these stories are unfortunately an everyday occurrence, and as much as we used not to hear about them, they are haunting our nightmares now from all the media outlets we have.

It's hard to say that this is a very nice depiction of reality when it is such a disturbing subject matter, but it is. It was truth and no matter how hard it is to hear truth or in this case read it, it can be a way to show compassion for the unlucky; a little prayer for the lost.

Thank you for sharing your great talent with us. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 7 weeks ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

John, this is important, what you are doing here. If a person stands in their yard and looks out at the street where you are jumping up and down, screaming, yelling and waving, he may not understand why. But if you take a photo of him standing in his yard with his house burning down behind him, he will understand. That is what you have done here. You've presented some people with a photo of their life. Maybe for the first time, they will understand.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 7 weeks ago from Dubai

Dark clouds have passed and now the sun will shine all the time in your life. Powerful and emotional poem.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Missy, I think as writers it is our duty to try to expose the darker side of life as well as the good things. Society tends to try to ignore the ugly rather than try to deal with it. It may not lead to feel good, joyous reading but it is important none the less.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

I know you speak true words Vellur. Things can only get better. Thanks for reading.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 7 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello John - Well dark, yes indeed. We followed you into the cold water and swam the cold river of your words. Like Bill, I have been at the end of this street also. Not of my doing. Well done.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Mike, it seems a lot of us have been at the end of the street. I just hope that this poem is read by those who it currently may be able to help. Sorry you were there in the past, but hope it made you stronger.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 6 weeks ago from Central Florida

John, the little boy shouldn't feel guilty. I think many people put in his position and seeing the constant abuse would do the same thing. As far as I'm concerned, the father got what he deserved. It's just sad that the boy continues to suffer even in his absence.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Shaun's, those are the very feelings and observations I was trying to elicit from my readers. All crimes need to be treated as individual cases in relation to the circumstances. Yes, it is a pity the incident effected his whole life and he continued to suffer.


teaches12345 6 weeks ago

Your lines about the neighborhood reminded me of my childhood. There was much abuse going on around us. Very sad to have to watch. Alcohol is no friend to anyone. I don't know what you are going through, Jodah, but I hope you find solace and comfort through writing. Prayers you find peace and restoration soon.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading this , Dianna. There is too much alcohol fuelled abuse everywhere but nothing ever gets done. We are working through our difficulties and managing to deal with them as best we can. Thanks.


Faith-Hope-Love 6 weeks ago

To all, In my work with homeless people and the disenfranchised i have found that there are good number of thes folks young and old who have experienced this effect of abuse in their tender years and have to some extent had to use the same or similar methods some times with results as Jodah writes about. They then carry the double guilt for the rest of their lives and there is no lessening or easing of the pain. The pain is very Real. God Bless All.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for adding to the value of this poem with that very real comment, John. Much appreciated.


yourcousins 6 weeks ago

"What I Did at the End of Our Street" is a very poignant work that connects on many different levels. You hate to imagine abuse happening on your street, but if you became aware of it, would you do something about it? Jodah, you brought to light a truly tough situation that doesn't usually lend itself to a happy ending.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 6 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading, your cousins. You make a good point that there is rarely a happy ending coming out of these situations. It would be interesting to know if neighbors realized that abuse was happening, would they report it or try to do anything about it?


Faith-Hope-Love 6 weeks ago

In this world the majority of people deny the Knowing of abuse and indeed most wrongs. It is my doubt that in most of these Incidents it is my guess that they would neither report or interfere in any way. I sincerely HOPE that I was wrong in this.


Lawrence Hebb 4 weeks ago

Very poignant.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Lawrence.

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    Jodah profile image

    John Hansen (Jodah)699 Followers
    277 Articles

    John has been writing poetry since his school days. He was awarded "Poet of the Year 2014" Hubby Awards and has had two poems become songs.



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