Driving Conversations

I tremble at memories:

The driving conversations

Were only monologues

Dad would interrupt my nearly

Nonexistent Me-time with

“Let’s go for a ride”

Not an invitation, no choice nor excuses

He demanded, gave unsmiling commands

Silently I got in passenger seat, Dad drove

The station wagon aimlessly—I, a wood

Sculpture sitting eyes forward, while he

Quietly lectured as to his expectations

Regarding my continuing education, his

Plans, goals for my anticipated success

I remained mute, my input not

Solicited or desired, he was

Captain of the ship, I was his captive

It mattered not a whit that I might have

Dreams, ideas, interests of my own

The one time I mentioned writing, he

Decried “avocation that won’t pay bills” —

Reliable profession (his choosing) was needed

Prince charming, IF he showed up

Might die or desert me

These mobile discourses delivering

Branding iron edicts seemed to last hours

Every nerve, muscle clenched painfully, and

My heart…my heart broke over ‘n over, tearless

In his presence, stifled rage smoldering

‘Neath hurt, cowed submission

I’d been schooled since he entered my life

That it’s a man’s world—of course, they

Know best about any and everything

He was stuck in the 40’s-50’s, though real

World was in tumultuous 60’s-early-70’s

I’d yet to rebel like my stronger, more

Independent, younger siblings

I’m supposed to believe he was a loving

Father, guiding with wisdom… Driving

Till he ran out of dictates, directives

He never realized he was suffocating

My soul, spirit each time he returned

The car to the driveway and I nodded

Wordless assent to query: 

“Are we in agreement?”


He was furious when I wouldn’t

Learn to drive… Again, when

I bailed midway through college

(‘Breakdowns’ are unacceptable in

Family which functions by

Dysfunctional denial)…

He burned cold, soundless as winter

When I foolishly married domineering

Man who’d ride roughshod over me…

Just like he’d done.

©Rhen Laird/Cobbled Contemplations, 2020 ~ All rights reserved.



30 thoughts on “Driving Conversations

    1. Thank you, dear Punam, I appreciate all the love you send daily ❤ I heard a quote somewhere recently, as best I recall it was: "We become what we didn't have". So, your words are especially meaningful–thank you again.🌺🌺🌺🌺🌺

      Liked by 1 person

  1. There’s a lot of pain in there..the words seem to bubble out of a boiling cauldron! Not sure if you are speaking from your personal experience but i can certainly relate to some of it coz it has happened with me, despite me being a man. Back then, in our days of childhood we did not speak against our Dad’s directives; was only expected to give assent and follow it.


    1. Hello, my poet friend. Yes, it’s my personal story–and still painful to write about. I’m sorry that you experienced a similar childhood. We have to nurture ourselves now, look forward to healing. Take good care of yourself ❤


  2. This really touched my heart – sending lots of love and good vibrations your way ♥
    You write beautifully, and I was wondering if I could ask you for a favor. Remember that poem “a fan lazily turning in circles” that I never finished? Would you do me the honor of writing it with me? It would be a collaborative poem or at least a poem I wrote with words/statements you could fill in, and you would receive credit for your writing.
    If you decline, no hard feelings, it was just that you had inspired me to finish it and I thought I could use your help. But really, no pressure to say yes 😂
    Blessings to you ♥


    1. Oh WOW…I’m so honored that you’d ask me, but wonder if I could do it justice. Could you tell me more about how you’d want to do this–through the blogs, or emails–and what direction you want to go with the poem, as far as theme, style…anything you can think of that would assist me. Then I’ll give it a serious ponder–and maybe we can do it 🙂 Being a woman of faith (Christian), I’d probably be coming into it from that perspective. “A fan lazily turning in circles” instantly makes me think of my life before I had faith in God–and now my “fan” turns with more energy and purpose because of HIM. So, it depends on where we can meet on somewhat the same page, whether this will work for us. Again, I’m totally stunned by your invitation–you’ve blessed my day, regardless whether we can collaborate or not ❤ Blessings to you! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh yes, I didn’t want to bombard you with information before you’d even had time to consider it 😂

        We could do this through emails unless you are uncomfortable with that. If you are okay with it, I’ll share my email here. As for the direction or theme of the poem, it really is a mess of my thoughts currently. Really random stuff, but I’ll share it with you so that you have an idea of what it is. The style can be anything; my poetry and your story, alternating lines we each write, or we each write a stanza with a paragraph of story…I’m open to ideas.

        Personally, I follow a different faith, however I respect every religion. If you would like to, you can include your Christian perspective in the writing since it would be your own work, I wouldn’t mind. We may not believe in the same God per se, but we both do have similar beliefs, so I hope it will work out.

        It would be an honor to work with you, sending blessings your way ❤❤❤


        1. First, do you go by “Pat”? I copied your email address–and will remove it from your comment, lest you get tons of mail you may not want from strangers 🙂

          I’ll probably email you on the weekend, so we can discuss this further. I like the idea of us doing every other line–I think that would be pretty easy, and creative.

          So, thank you for considering me worthy to be a collaborator–I’m very honored. I’ll contact you when I get a break, and we’ll see what the next step is. Take good care of yourself–blessings to you. Oh, before I forget: I’ll put my blog name in the Subject line–as I’ll be using my “real” name/email address 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you for your consideration over my email address, much appreciated.
            You can call me by any name you prefer, PatBunny is just a nom de plume I use and is not tied to my real name in anyway.
            And please, take your time. I’m in no rush to complete it 😂
            I’ll be awaiting your email, and then I’ll send you what I’ve got so far. Thank you once again!


  3. What a powerful poem Leslie. Those lectures to us the voiceless. To speak up or to disagree was akin to something sinful or disrespectful. Or – even worse – risking the loss of love. Which we couldn’t afford to do when young and vulnerable, the sponges that we were. Really well done. I feel it.


    1. Thank you, Andrea. The evidence that my dad’s love was entirely conditional hurts whenever it surfaces again. It’s difficult and sad that I can’t “give him a pass”–as surely he had his own baggage–but I’m just not there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome. It is really difficult to process – if it’s ever possible to do so – that kind of history. I know what you mean. So painful to face head on.


        1. I was surprised that I couldn’t shake it off last night–it was like opening Pandora’s Box. Both my parents are dead, for which I’m thankful–but sometimes I just start screaming at them in my head…all the things “the voiceless” never got to say. You’re awfully kind to “listen” to me, Andrea–thank you so much. Have a blessed day! ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Here’s my 2 cents worth: That inner voice (actually I think it’s the inner child) needs to be released and heard. Writing a letter about everything – and getting it all out – to each of them might help purge those screams. Maybe an ongoing letter, until there’s nothing left to say. And then burn them.
            Or go somewhere where nobody can hear you and really scream!! Those are valid screams. In the meantime…take care!


            1. Bless your heart–I appreciate your 2 cents. Though I dare not go out and scream during the current climate of insanity…writing till it all bleeds out might just be the ticket. I did start that other blog–where I could put the “screaming”. Thanks mucho–you’re a gift!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. That was a powerful piece, Rhen and so indicative of the times we were raised. I think a great many seniors can relate to your experience. It was all about bringing money into the home and not much else. Children should be seen and not heard. A lot of heartbreaking experiences.


    1. Thank you so much, Len. It seems like the Dark Ages, reflecting back. A lot of us lived with daily abuse and neglect, you’re right…and yet we were taught to “honor our parents”. My experiences were crippling, they’re the reason I chose not to have children–and why I married the absolutely wrong man, and divorced in the 3rd year. Like Bedelia, I’ve made a contented solitary life for myself…and I dare say we’re about to find out that she too has taken to blogging 🙂


    1. Thank you, Sister–and I’m sorry you could identify. Well, my marriage was my mistake for sure–a serious act of rebellion, and there were hard consequences.


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