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

John is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

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.

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.

what-i-did-at-the-end-of-our-street-a-very-dark-poem

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.

what-i-did-at-the-end-of-our-street-a-very-dark-poem

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.

what-i-did-at-the-end-of-our-street-a-very-dark-poem

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

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

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.

what-i-did-at-the-end-of-our-street-a-very-dark-poem

© 2016 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 31, 2017:

Thank you, Demas. Your comment is greatly appreciated. I'll consider your suggestion in regard to replacing "and" with "at."

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 31, 2017:

This is great poetry Jodah. Suggestion: see how "At" sounds starting the last stanza rather than "And". This tells quite a story and includes a lot of what is wrong on so many streets, and in so many homes today. Nicely done.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on January 29, 2017:

Cam (Chris) sorry it seems I didn't acknowledge your wonderful comment. I really hope this poem is read by someone who needs to in order to realise what they are doing. Then they may decide to seek help or change their ways.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on November 07, 2016:

Thanks Lawrence.

Lawrence Hebb on November 07, 2016:

Very poignant.

Faith-Hope-Love on October 23, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 23, 2016:

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?

yourcousins on October 23, 2016:

"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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 22, 2016:

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

Faith-Hope-Love on October 22, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 22, 2016:

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.

teaches12345 on October 22, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 21, 2016:

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.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 21, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 19, 2016:

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.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on October 18, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 18, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 18, 2016:

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.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on October 17, 2016:

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

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on October 17, 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.

Missy Smith from Florida on October 17, 2016:

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. :)

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 16, 2016:

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

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on October 16, 2016:

It is very dark, but unfortunately all too real.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 16, 2016:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 16, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 14, 2016:

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.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on October 14, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 14, 2016:

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 from Hyderabad, India on October 14, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 12, 2016:

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

MONTEZjW from laurinburg/atlanta on October 12, 2016:

Wow i love it ...

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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

Mel Carriere from San Diego California on October 11, 2016:

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

Clive Williams from Jamaica on October 11, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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.

Yvonne Decelis from Boston, Massachusetts on October 11, 2016:

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).

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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

Deborah Demander Reno from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on October 11, 2016:

Wow. That was powerful.

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

Namaste

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on October 11, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

Audrey, thank you for that kind and caring comment.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2016:

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.

Audrey Howitt from California on October 11, 2016:

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

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on October 11, 2016:

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.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on October 11, 2016:

Very dark and interesting.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 11, 2016:

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.

Lori Colbo from Pacific Northwest on October 11, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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

FlourishAnyway from USA on October 10, 2016:

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.

usha r from Bangalore India on October 10, 2016:

Heart wrenching n soul stirring.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

Well expressed, Shyron. Thanks.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on October 10, 2016:

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

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on October 10, 2016:

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..

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 10, 2016:

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.

John Ward from Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. on October 10, 2016:

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

manatita44 from london on October 10, 2016:

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.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 10, 2016:

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.

whonunuwho from United States on October 10, 2016:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 10, 2016:

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.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on October 10, 2016:

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.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 10, 2016:

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

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on October 10, 2016:

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.