Jun 12, 2012

Abused - A Poem by Imani Rhema

Yesterday I received a very moving poem from a great friend of mine.  She is a super talented spoken word artist, and her skills are always well-received at poetry events in the Nashville area.  Check her out on Facebook (Imani Rhema) or follow her on twitter (@imanirhema) to find out where she will be performing next!

She was kind enough to agree to me posting her work on my blog for all to see.  It really captures the maddening "cycle of abuse" and gives the reader a sense of the various emotions experienced by the abused.  Thank you, Imani for sharing your gift with us.  You are one of the strongest "SiStars" I know :)


Reluctantly she

Goes to the mirror to gingerly

Wipe the bloodstained tears

That have dried on her face

Standing up straight to regain her composure

Though her nose is tender and swollen

And there’s holes in her hose, her

Heart is heavy she holds her

Chin up

Tries to conjure a fake grin up

But her jaw is too tight for it to last long

She covers her bruises with make up

And tells herself to stand strong

She has to keep up the appearances

For her new employer

And as a youngster she observed her mother

Make it through the pain for years

And Junior?

He fears that he may hug his mama too tight

Because even his toddler embraces cause her discomfort and pain

He watched her new lover grapple with mommy

Like he was in a welterweight championship ring

Because when he arrived home late from work

Dinner wasn’t quite ready

Her stance wasn’t quite steady

Because the dizzy spells set in when the kitchen is warm

And she is torn

Between staying in the unsafe haven that he provides

And escaping to a battered woman’s shelter

Her pride makes her decision to stay seem helter skelter

Because someone on the outside, in their right mind would surely find

That a temporary living situation must be better than a permanent hell

No one can tell her to leave because her self-esteem seems to have left with her dreams

She didn’t complete her degree and her wages are minimum

He allows her to charge the credit card to the maximum

To make up for his guilt and his shame

Shopping only momentarily dulls her pain

Standing in the fitting room mirror in her designer threads

Looking as elegant as a supermodel on a runway

Pretending she has run away to a faraway place

With no bruises on her face

With no welp marks on her waist

No contusions no confusion…

But it’s just a delusion

Because she is afraid to muster up the courage to leave

The illusion of materialism and greed

Deceives her into believing

That there is no way out

She couldn’t possibly afford a car note, daycare

And a payment on a house


Waiting on the next time for her man to snap

For something minimal

Him becoming a domestic terrorist was subliminal

He grew up watching his dad abuse his mom daily

And he himself wants to stop but his lady

Just lets him get away with it

He used to love her but now the respect is out the window

He blames her for his temper

That kicks in when the wind blows

He never thought he’d have the nerve to

Put a woman’s head through the bedroom window

And he’s trapped between

Becoming a real man and getting control of his emotions

And using his money to get the power he thinks he needs to control her

The cycle must stop

She has got

To know her value understand her worth

She was created with great purpose and destiny from birth

She doesn’t need letters behind her name to be worthy

A child out of wedlock does not make her dirty

A fresh start, a new heart is what she needed

Want your degree? Just go complete it

Want to lose weight? Just watch your eating and move

You can do whatever you want to do

You can be whatever you want to be

Open your eyes and realize dreams can become reality

Perseverance, faith and fortitude can rebuild your esteem

You may know this woman. It was me.



  1. Reading it again took me back there. My prayer is that the things we share can be a postive impact on women who share this experience, and can empower them to MOVE! Love you siStar!

  2. Reading this poem did conjure up some emotions for me but though the emotions may have been negative at the time I have turned the negative into positive. As you have stated Imani, your poem is empowering and leaves me feeling you can do it if you really want to.

    I am not going to go in depth here but I also experience a level of abuse.