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by Thomas Renard & Isoellen


He caught me standing in front of the mirror
Murmuring frustrations, repeating negative incantations
He saw me, my face, my eyes, my story
Watched me whisper my despise
Not tall enough, not thin enough, not shapely enough
Not young enough, not right enough,
never right enough.
With the brush through my hair, each stroke,
Each line of the old and heavy yoke
That I was sure I would always wear

I am a silent observer, for just a moment
Of utterances cruel, of tear-streaked countenance.
She stands, lost in reflection,
Her tongue, dripping with hate, tearing,
Stripping back layers of beauty that she simply cannot see.
With every word, the ache in my heart grows,
How can a creature so divine, be so vicious t’wards herself?
I step forwards, into the light,
I can be silent no longer.

I gasp at the sound of his step
His presence intense and looming
A breath escapes as my face pales
I’ve been caught in my transgression
“If you can’t see what I see,”
He says in low, dark warning
“I must give you correction
You have conceded this role,
given to me to train
Your grace, your vital, your glow, and your glory
Together we will find
The divine in your story.”

My arms encircle her waist,
My chin rests upon her shoulder,
She trembles at my power, änd shudders when I growl,
“Rule number one, is above all others,
You know it’s importance.
For you are mine,
My most precious possession,
Centre of my universe
My perpetual obsession.
Now you forget, your beauty, grace and worth.
Now I will remind you, with marks, and bruises,
Painted reminders of my unbreakable love”

I have consented his dear direction
And the lonely, unwanted thing
hiding inside of me releases
A warm easing feeling reorienting my anxiety
In poignant contrast of his following through
Heart swelling delight while my skin tightens in dread
For I am not abandoned to my ugly loathing
constant comparison lurking malevolent in my head
I am taken in reprimand, commanded to take position
Head down, presenting
Where he will enforce his right and his will
In my cathartic pain and begging
The reprisal of condemning his owned
The price careless words and thoughts professing

She bows over the bed, the altar of our love,
I place a hand on her back, a quiver, a sigh.
She places herself, once more, into my care,
Head stooping low, posterior raised high.
Skirt lifted up, Silky fabric dragged down,
Over intoxicating curves, soft, unmarked skin revealed.
This will be my canvas, Where I will paint
Indelible reminders of her value.
Stinging mementos from the hands that hold her
So dear, so close.
The hands which caress, so soft, and wipe away tears,
Now, to be the instrument of my adoring castigation.

He explains the equation once more,
how many, and all the expectations
His words calm, concise, and measured
This will hurt, break skin, bruise flesh
And press deep and hard
into my wounded consciousness
Oh my wanting, my weeping, my overcome needing
I’m contrasts, bold into shaking,
Agreeing, trusting into this soul marking stinging.
No mercy in each blow, I’ll count each round ragged
As he bleeds me, takes me, leads me
Shatters the self that I was and reshapes me sacred
As his owned

My love is violent, my passion fierce.
Each blow, percussive, shaking the
Foundations of the prison she has
Constructed within.
The walls that hide her true self, her ethereal beauty,
Visible to all but herself.
I will release this incarcerated angel, to soar once more
Upon wings given flight by my savage hand
And my loving words.
Sweet honey, dripping, affirmations of worthiness,
Like balm upon fresh cuts, and open wounds.
Tearing down her misguided self-loathing.

I count each lash and each blow
Ten, fifteen, twenty, more -
My body grieves but my mind struggles
The skin burns, it stings, I’m lit up into heat
Becoming a groaning, steaming conflagration
Pushed to a place where my thoughts finally twist open
Flames rush in, race wild from my head down my spine
He says, “I know what I see, I know who you are
Do you think I love ugly, I love hollow, I love trash?
you are shine, you are beauty and blessing
But most of all, this one thing you will know
That I see you, I know you, and yes, I own you
I take you. Keep you, claim you.
I want you. You are mine.”
And those words, those words he says - as my skin
Pinkens, ripens into blue
Those words, are obliteration
Shaking down, destroying, my self recrimination.

She doesn’t see what I see
But I will make her feel it.
Every lash, every stroke, every palm-print
Driving home my message of adoration
And acceptance.
As pink turns to red turns to blue,
The angel in my care, breaks,
Piece by fragile piece,
Into pebbles of light,
Free from the gloom of her savage self-judgement.
And now
I must rebuild.
From the rubble of a broken soul, she is made anew,
With gentle hands, caressing bruised body,
Extending to dark, wet places, seeking the core of
Her pleasure,
Where I will fill her with my love.

After the pain and the wrecking
The hands and the words.
My reshaping, a kiss of bliss on every mark
And as weeping recedes
Tide after tide- I am washed clean
His intention meeting mine
No longer adrift, caught up
In mirrors, memories, comparisons.
As fabric slides and his warm divine
Comes close enough to touch my devastation
And I feel every light tap
Every brush of his eyelash
Every intimate scrape of his beard, cheek and chin
And delicate tracing of aroused trappings.
The taunting filling of my exceedingly empty
Plunging in, uproarious possession
Pain and bliss collide, transformed into panting
He gives a new stroke,
Wet, deep, demanding.
Painting me new and beautiful.

With trembling, screaming, gasping pleasure,
We are one.
I have taken, claimed, marked that which is mine.
I have given, consoled, broken and repaired.
She is enveloped in a loving embrace.
Covered with kisses.
Shrouded in arms, and hands, that
Stroke dark bruises,
Applying healing to hurt, mending shattered heart.
Her ruined body, nestles, exhausted,
Intimate breathing, bodies tesselate,
Bathed in the quiet, the brutal consequences
Of our union.
Violent reactions borne of grievous castigation
Must now be soothed and subdued.
Angry contusions cry for relief, as I
Scoop her up, into strong arms.
The warmth of the shower beckons,
The softness of the sponge as
Loving application of restorative attention
Elicits her grateful sigh.
My nakedness presses against hers,
Arms encircling, lips upon neck,
While warm water rinses away
The grime of her pain.

I am crying into the splendor
Pieces reworked in acceptance
Pleasure leaking from ecstasies emissions
Washed clean of my own self accusations
I want to be the creature of his dreams
The one that satisfies, that completes,
We are a perfect, shiing circle of brilliance
Of honesty and emotion
Caresses of convergence
Roughly redirected -rawly taken
Tenderly washed, served, observed
From shower to embraces, needs administered
Medication, slow and sensual words and reassurances
Broken apart a hundred ways and after
completely cared for
Mind, body, spirit put back together
In this wonder of relationship
Where we have agreed

“Look into my eyes little one,
Show me the tear-stained windows of your soul.
I have seen your pain today,
I know your scars. I memorized each one.
I have taken them from you,
And will keep them locked away in my heart.
I see the beauty hidden to you,
And reveal it through my firm hand.
No more hatred, no more fear,
Lift that chin up,
I am proud of you,
My perfect,
My love,

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