Grant Handgis ~ Poet/Author
“letter to Sandra”
i'm writing you cause we were friends,
even though you called me a whore
when rickie feller put his hand up my dress
and made me bleed all over,
before you left to michigan last spring
with bobby howard and benjy miller.
no one says much to me anymore except my folks
but they've been drinking a lot again,
so i'm goin away too cause i don't want
to be hurt like my mother, when my dad
calls her those names and uses his belt
or takes her into the bedroom
to teach her a lesson.
and i've been kinda sick lately and
the bruises won't heal from last week
when i was late for supper on sunday.
i hear there is a place in california
that will help me with the pain
i've been having from the bleeding
in the place where i had the baby
just before it died.
This was the first of a series of poems on social issues, from first hand observation of life as I saw it in action. It was also a period when irony in life became a subject that I would write about in more than one form over the ensuing forty years. It is a sense of humor that co-balances the angst of irony with personal acceptance of life’s travails. The elimination of grammatical structure and capitalization was for dramatization of the character for which it was written. The story is all too real, in too many instances, which screamed for me to write something which might address such a family issue. This focus on social expectations through traditional values became a theme for me, and many more poems sprang from this well of material.