ICSA Today, Vol. 2, No. 2, 2011
Pencil me in because I need to be speaking with you who seems to know that I am.
I am what? A person? Pencil me in because I will have to read your sketch, in order to draw upon an erased tracing of what I used to be.
I am split, so press hard with your black crayon over my once vibrant color so that you may draw me in shocking new ways to have me remember.
Remember that I loved, remember that I could feel, remember that I once smiled and knew joy. I’m a memory visiting around your shoulders pleading and pleading for you to write my life out on your pad as proof.
View me as you see me ~ I am a “me”? Show me what you see, tell me stories of what it means when others say ‘you are a strong person’.
Scale me off the wall and scoop me up as I run for my life that is meaningless and scary so much of the time.
Until I remember that you too were robbed of your being and made into someone Else's image. It was you that first escaped and measured out what life had done to be so cruel to such a gentle soul.
Tell me bedside stories that allow me to be whole as I hold tightly to each and every word that falls upon my beating heart.
I will cry but I ask you to pay no attention, continue turning the pages and reading what you see before you.
Do you see who I am? Who I will be? Will my reality ever come close to an acceptance of what happened?
I cling to you in holiness because it is you that shows me a good exists in the world that my echoing mind desires to recall.
I am not going to be living life 'fully' again ~ only in partial minutes at a time to never hurt anyone and exit on my day as ordered.
It’s sad that this happened to us and happens to millions of others. A thief came in the night and captured a mind. Tortured it and left us all to die.
That’s okay, I am breathing for as long as I do. Please draw now the bits left you see of a once vital person who trusted.
May I see what you have written? You are smiling now and bringing me to do the same ~ hope, happiness, peace, fulfillment, wellness these words that you've written here, are about whom?
Place it then for all to see who battle for and care about freedom of mind!
Drive me to fortunes you know belong to me
Taste what is good so you may tell me what is possible
Hold me ever so close to your soul where you go in the world
I am your daughter of freedom ~ I found you, you claimed me
Whisper great strengths that overcome anything earthly awful
Remind me of the goodness with – the joy that fingerprinted a memory
Dry these slick tears that cloud the lens of success (that is greater than revenge) Buy me a bit of sanity till the change in my pocket grows ~
The change in my heart
I will prove you and travel by your strength
Triumphant nurturer of my soul
No one on earth fears you ~ impossible for this to occur
Because in direct waves of hope you slay the dragon before it cowers Tumble with me in laughter, my soul beheld without knowing your power We have met and one day I too will be strong
One day I will not be poor
Only dear counselor ~ because of you
~ Susan Nieland
My God the baby was abducted and held captive for 7 years Other evil thinkers took her pain and twisted it to burning sears How you lifted her up for she had no power is love without limit Yet she shakes and cowers at shows attended without ticket
Divided soul or is it mind
Tortured person numbs out the good and kind
Stretching the waves of tackled dreams and quick sand Death times many left a vacuum of hits wrought by a hand
Rescue her and pull her to your useful end
Confused and doubting, circular web turned stiff now cannot bend Pull this thread to weave again – do not unravel dripping eyes Through you a flash of hope she offers - little tears and sighs
Gentle lamb this one is dirty and fell
Beaten and broke nothing left but the shell
Keep her as your own for she is despised and shifting Through you alone at times in life she is drifting
Who asked for this? It was mind control and sobs Take it back, listen not to prayers filtered by mobs Cannot walk nor even move
Yet they need not even prove
~ Susan Nieland
Pay attention to downward eyes
The fidgeting hands and shuffling feet while “resting” Filtering truth is so life-robbing amidst endless lies See tears as roads to helpless souls now questing
Squinting and turning away, hands overhead in break-neck speed ~ All for the pain of your warmth and love going out to fetch
Those postures are not really alive to the soul, just remnants of the deed That police, authorities, families and friends painfully cannot sketch.
Yet your greatest victory is in full confidence and straightforward gaze Boring love into the skin that has no boundaries or shape
Reaching corners of the psyche steeped in disbelief and haze
You’ve wrestled the spark that is true and bundled it into your benevolent cape
Speaking with simplicity and truth, love will seep through the unconscious mind Whether by the eyes or shoulders this embrace transcends fear and evil times
The quivering lip and trembling life awakens for that long ago remembrance of kind The wanting is a desire so deep yet timid,searching for just further proof or signs
Showing a worth to one so non-existent, fogged and brittle with nothing for air Anything is comfort as your breath for the soul, true life giving affection Respect heroes of freedom’s broken chains, make paths clear for those who dare
Receive your unblemished wisdom filled with goodness and gentle healing direction
The smile and the eyes that dance with wistful delight
Bring the child alive as if loved forever in the blessed and right The hope you give is our own in this nurturing of life Humanity gains peace as you warmly deaden her strife
~ Susan Nieland
Grammar is so thick upon the soul of the wild ones Wrestle the love of freedom as you lock and load the guns Fingers nimbly punch the words you meant to say
A bell shocks and splits the air as a ragged flag's first day
~ Susan Nieland
Susan Nieland was recruited into a "New" Catholic Religious Community as a newly divorced woman. Told that it was a soon-to-be-legitimized religious community, she spent seven years in what turned out to be a survivalist cult, enduring exorcisms and harsh living conditions. Existence was primitive, in a remote woodland location with winter temperatures well below zero. The severe lifestyle, including enforced solo wilderness retreats, eventually resulted in health issues that enabled her to escape the group in 2002. As part of the Phoenix Project Susan read selections of her poetry at the 2008 Philadelphia ICSA conference.