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The Crossover Wars

POETRY BOOK    Stories in the stream of life

My mother was a beautiful little girl given over to foster care at a very young age, during a time when beautiful children in foster care had little or none of of the legal protections that now exist. That life damaged her beyond anything I could understand. When she died, we'd been estranged for some time. I just wish it could have been different.



My mother was a storm  

Powerfully destructive, emotionally ripped and torn. 

She began in a lonely infancy, unprotected from darkness and fears 

And evil events simply saturated all her early days with unshed tears, 

subjecting her to abuses that she could never tell. 


There were — 

Lies and unspeakable crimes committed against her 

By faceless folks who claimed to love her  

and so, she learned to hate herself,  

to despise her love and everyone else’s. 


She was very young when she married my father 

Being not one day over just sixteen 

never having had a chance to do anything 

(at least nothing other than become a too young mother) 

And so, Pop and she learned to love and hate each other... 


My mother was a storm, 

often cold and mostly mean, 

but sometimes, soft and warm 

yet, always, a powerfully destructive thing.  

She was a detrimental, devastating force  

In every life that she brought to birth on this earth. 

She never should have been anybody’s wife, 

and being “mama“ I believe, wasn’t what she wanted out of life. 

‘Cause mama was haunted by the hell 

that made up all her little girl world, 

rent and splintered her childhood like a torn, ragged, wicked spell... 

And finally 

shaped the clay that was her 


a lonely, little, very beautiful woman  

with untrustworthy tears 

a constant victim of all her yesteryears. 

I don’t think she ever saw herself as anything else. 


My mother was a storm 

Destructive in her course, but sometimes sweet and forlorn 

I’ll never understand how she could’ve done 

so many of the wayward and wrong things that she did 

Or what sort of reasoning rang inside the walls of her head. 

Mamas teach boys how to be compassionate men, 


 I don’t think that was anything she could do back then. 


She was holding me once when I was less than one 

While a man who looked a lot like her 

Showed her name tattooed on his forearm. 

That’s how 

I know now  

that she never felt finished  

with her own teenaged fun 

So how could she possibly have helped to make men out of sons? 


My mother was a storm 

A hurricane child formed from reticent pain 

Blowing, meandering 

Roaring and staggering  

along the most self-destructive paths anyone could travel on 

Sometimes doing good, most times, doing harm 

I don’t know that she was ever happy inside 

and that was all too evident in the way she lived her life. 


But every storm must die down  


and every person must lie down  


To go into the long goodbye  


and sleep throughout the long goodnight 


As is currently the fate of all mankind 


My mother’s storm is burning out now 

And despite all the path of long destruction 

lurking in our yesterday 

All that I care to think about  

Is what I wish to say to her today; 


“Mama, you were a storm 

And there were days when you did a lot of harm 

But I never forgot what you were like when you were soft and warm 

And how when I was little, I loved to sit right under your arm. 

You were so beautiful, and I was so proud of you 

Of all the people in the world, you were the one I wanted to cling to 

But, by the time I had become a grown - up man 

You’d already torn down your house with your own two hands 

And I know that you think that none of my thoughts of you were ever good 

But the truth is - I always loved you, but I also understood  

that a storm can only be a storm, it's just the nature of the thing 

Destruction can be all that it knows how to bring...” 


If you want to have any type of happy tomorrow, 

Just stay out of its path and avoid all the sorrow 


Mamma, you were a storm 

And you hurt me more than anyone 


My mother, you were a storm - but always a fighter 

And your life with your smile should have grown brighter 


But wearing the weight of who you were made you worn 

And maybe you couldn’t do it anymore. 


Some people said you were a voodoo witch 

Others just called you an evil bitch. 

But deep within the corners of my own heart 

My mother always will have her own special part. 

I never really looked at you askance 

Cause to me, you were only a little girl  

Who never had a chance. 


Mama, you were a storm 

And I loved you more than anyone  

Some who think they know me better than they really do  

May open their mouths to say I hated you  

That these words expressing my feelings are just fake 

Yet please understand, and make no mistake— 


Yes, you were  

A storm 


A squall 


A tempest  


and A tornado... 


All destructive and such 

But, mamma, I have always loved you  

Very. Very, much 

And I still don’t want to say “goodbye” 

Stephen W. Winslow

Portrait of S. Warren Winslow
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