All Healers are Wounded

May 30, 2013 § 1 Comment

Wounded healer –
an archetype, they call it,
a phenomenon,
but they’re wrong.

It’s superfluous,
a word said twice, because
you see –

All healers are wounded.

Oh, they might not begin that way –
starry-eyed, full of cheer,
out to save the world,
cure its ills, a savior –

but a savior is a sacrifice
and they don’t know it
until they’re on the altar.

Most start out wounded,
and are wounded time and again.

This is what we do:
treat injuries,
see death,
witness the aftermath of all that
human beings are capable of,
the abuses we inflict on one another:
on each other’s bodies,
and hearts, and minds –
the fracture patterns we leave
on another’s soul.

Witnessing is the healer’s role.
Seeing without turning away,
hearing without fleeing,
holding the story and the pain
and seeing a fellow soul underneath.
We bear witness to pain when no one else will,
or can,
or even knows how.

In witnessing, we learn, in a soul-deep way:
there are terrible events in the world,
terrible deeds, terrible acts,
terrible capability in the human psyche.

You can’t see these things and stay whole.

Witnessing wounds.

All healers are wounded.

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Restraint

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Written in October 2008.

I don’t worry when she yells
same old refrain
get off me motherfuckers!
little lioness restrained
while the water fountain screeches
and twists from the wall, tortured metal
victim of her frustrations

and I know
if I let go
despite her claims of safety, innocence
she’ll whirl
rabbit-punch me
so I hold on and wait
for help–

eight by eight by twelve
concrete, tile, metal, empty box
and I’m on the floor and all I can smell is
fury, panic, sweat
her shouts are screams now
we took her shoes, her socks–
don’t want to see her face turn ugly purple
and black from the cloth she
rips, ties, strangles
–not again.
but she is crying, screaming
tiny frame lurching
bucking me nearly off her legs and
there are four of us trying to keep her–
succeeding in keeping her–
restrained, prone
but
the screams
echo
off
the frozen tile
and sterility of
concrete

I don’t worry when she yells.
It’s when she screams
and cries
that I know we’ve lost her
to her past

and her mind is gone.
the lioness is a hyperventilating hare-child now
lost in flashbacks
and I hate
hate
abhor that we have to continue
pinning her
because if we let go
her foot will slam into our bodies
or she will
clamp her teeth into our backs/arms/anything
or she will run
into fourty-mile-an-hour traffic again
and sit down
in the dark–

so we remain.

pain howls through the room
pierces eardrums
splinters off the walls into diamond shards
as impossible to repair
as her Self.

she stops screaming.
and lurching, and fighting
it’s just the wide-eyed rabbit-panting now
fear-whimpers
slowing to
silence.

she is numb
but I can still feel the echo
of those shards.

when we leave, she remains as she was in the restraint
prone
arms still at her sides
staring into hell.

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