She grasped his coat,

the one he always wore.

It stank of beer and coffee

and the waft of wind at dawn

on a sandy beach in summer.

She wiped her tears on the sleeve,

tutted, tearing at a loose button,

then bunched the fabric 

and tore, at arm’s length

until it shredded, ripped asunder,

wrenched stitches, like a gaping wound.

Why, she screamed,

at the torn garment,

Why – again, tearing –  could you not see

that we were always  destined

to rend ourselves apart?



23 thoughts on “Torn Apart

    • I don’t know about you, Roger but I think these emotions, expressed this, are common to everyone, perhaps not with the same intensity. The woman loves but hates, simultaneously. She’s angry, too and as much with herself as her former partner. You’ve read stories of people in the middle of divorce doing strange things to each other. Some men I’ve known have come home to find one sleeve of every suit they own, shredded. An ex of mine got into my apartment when I wasn’t there and three half my clothes in the river that ran outside the bedroom window. Her primary target, though, was my art collection, particularly three paintings by herself. They were seen floating downriver by a local fisherman I met in the pub, that evening.

      • Yeh, people do don’t they?
        There was a messy break up at a place I worked. The guy brought all her stuff in one day as requested, with her sex toys on the top on the pile and open to public display (This was 20 years ago).
        And once the red button gets pressed we are all prone to detonating. (I have some memories I wish I didn’t)

      • so, I was sitting at home this morning, about 2.30am, I’d been awake 22 hours and thinking about a conversation I had, the previous day, about a friend’s own marital difficulties and I got to thinking about situations I was in and things that happened to people close to me. I know, I said, I’ll write a poem. I don’t know how to finish once ~I started. It just found its own way. I love the sound and rhythm of words.

  1. Dermott, I think that you have some powerful images in this poem. I’m not an expert, but I helped my wife edit her poetry for her MFA manuscript and read a lot of poetry as part of that. I have a few suggestions, if you want them.

  2. Thank you, Miriam. As always, I rush into writing a poem and then reconsider it, a day or a week later. I didn’t like have two ‘coat’ mentions in the first two lines, so I changed it to ‘She grasped his coat, the one he always wore.’ That’s how you’d say it, if you found someone’s coat like that, you’d say, ‘oh that coat, that’s the one he always wore,’ don’t you think?

  3. Oh, I love this. It is that slow and bitter letting go that continues to manifest in an angry heart. I love the duality of clutching at it and tearing it…shows her turmoil of emotions.

    • Nailed it, thank you. Many people have ‘liked’ it but few have commented. Those that have saw what I was trying to do but you’ve seen to the heart of it, the contradictions, there’s the memory, the anger at the memory, the are for the loose button followed by the violent shredding and finally, the personification of the anger, in the inanimate coat…just goes to show you, 22 hours without sleep, couple of glasses of wine and Bjork’s greatest hits, can unleash massive returns.

      • just goes to show you, 22 hours without sleep, couple of glasses of wine and Bjork’s greatest hits, can unleash massive returns.

        Sounds like my kind of night…Lol

      • This was written at 2.30am, just when I was beginning to list to starboard and I sat at my desk to adjust the musical output for a ‘Honky Tonk’ playlist when I began typing, ‘she picked up his coat’ and then I was in auto-mode, as in, I was thinking, suppose a woman finds the favourite coat of a man she loved in an empty apartment, what would happen next? Drink fuelled, of course, we’re talking about milliseconds to decide what’s coming next and the words just flowed until I stopped. I’ve made two changes since. I swapped ‘asunder’ and ‘apart’ at the end of the poem and put ‘one’ in for ‘coat’ in the second line because I didn’t like the sound of coat, repeated twice, so close. I hate writing poetry, but I love it too. I go months without writing a poem and then I write this.

      • The only poetry I write is within the context of my other novel writing…so it is really a character writing it…Lol

        In my short prose, I do try to find word patterns and a sense of rhythm.

        I think this one was awesome. I’ve like all the poems of yours that I’ve read.

      • Poetry, for me, comes from a place of passion and emotion, like anger and, probably, more anger. Sometimes I try to address the subject of love – poet’s territory, n’est ce pas? bjt it always end in an expression of anger, frustration, guilt and a side of chilli fries. Oy caramba

      • Tanya, again you nail it, what poetry I write bears no relation to metric form but I do write to the rhythm of words. As you do, in your novel. Indeed, I remember thinking, well, there’s a hidden talent for which I wasn’t prepared

      • I think it is that passionate part of written expression that happens when we are in the flow of it, so to speak. The rhythm plays itself out through our pens or keyboards.

      • I agree, entirely. I just got out of a taxi, after an afternoon drinking and eating lunch with my brother, at the same table in the same restaurant of the same hotel where we had our last birthday celebration with our father. Anyway, the taxi driver was typical old school Dublin wit until he asked me if I had a sister and off the cuff, I said, why, are you stuck? He nearly pissed himself. In fact, he had to run into the pub on the corner to pee, leaving me, sitting there. Then he wouldn’t take the far. He was still laughing.

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