Golden Handcuffs: A Poem for Marti

Friday, March 12th, 2010

When I was first separated from my ex-husband, I moved to upstate New York and re-established a friendship from my earlier days in the area. My friend Marti and I reconnected and I learned that what I thought was a good marriage was anything but. She was already divorced and I was in the process. In one of our conversations, she told me that her ex-husband kept her in “golden handcuffs.” I never forgot that phrase and used it in the poem below, dedicated to Marti, who sadly died from cancer a few years ago. (I think that divorce and disease are closely linked!)

Golden Handcuffs


for Marti

if i ever fall in love, i want it like a velvet glove—
not golden handcuffs to bind my heart,
or rigid rules to tear me apart

not i love yous that don’t mean shit
no empty promises in a rotting pit
no broken dreams or mindless schemes
or fancy cars or ships to Mars

just gentle hands and gentle touch
a heart like mine that needs a crutch
’til all the wounds are kissed and blessed
loving hands to be caressed

if i ever go insane, oh, please God,
just no more pain
Oh, higher power, hear me now
I don’t know me, i don’t know how

why can’t I stop this flood of tears
all mixed up in my hidden fears
see me now, worn & weary
old enough to call me dearie

no more days of gloom and dreary
sunshine now, no endless query

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