Biographical Poetry posted September 24, 2017


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
There's no waking up from this nightmare.

Question Mark

by Sis Cat

(READ AUTHOR'S NOTE FIRST.)


Black as ink, black as night,
Darkness surrounded me.
Where am I? Where’s the light?
I strained. I couldn’t see.
 
I heard distant laughter.
Girls’ giggles pierced the dark.
Is this the hereafter?
My face a question mark.
 
My face a question mark.
 
I awoke in a chair
and heard Doctor Kawai:
“I zapped your facial hair.”
Her daughters played nearby.   
         
Nikki and Lena were
as happy as a lark.
Doc turned off her laser.
Her face a question mark.
 
Her face a question mark.
 
 
At Tilden Little Farm,
a mom saw her kid’s coach.
What happened to his charm?
The mom did not approach.
 
Kawai’s husband Kevin
appeared distressed and stark.
Their girls fed a chicken.
Kev’s face a question mark.
 
Kev’s face a question mark.
 
Black as ink, black as night,
Darkness surrounds him.
Who is he? Where’s his light?
He strains. All appears dim.
 
He hears distant laughter.
Girls’ giggles pierce the dark.
Is this their hereafter?
His face a question mark.
 
His face a question mark.
 
 
In the forested hill
above the parking lot,
a hiker felt the chill
as fog cloaked trees and thought.
 
While she studied bird chirps,
she heard shots in the park.
They popped like fireworks.
Her face a question mark.
 
Her face a question mark.
 
 
A hundred times I looked into your eye.
I never knew you were that kind of guy.
Were you in Special Forces or a spy?
Did you tell a lie? Why must beauty die?
I keep asking myself, “Why? Why? Why?”
 
My face a question mark.
 
My face a question mark.
 
 
On Northside Avenue,
the family dog roamed,
sniffed, and searched for a clue.
No one is coming home.  
 
His ears perked. Police knocked.
Buster started to bark.
The door rocked and unlocked.
His face a question mark.
 
His face a question mark.
 
 
Black as ink, black as night,
Darkness surrounded me.
Where am I? Where’s the light?
I strained. I couldn’t see.
 
I heard distant laughter.
Girls’ giggles pierced the dark.
Is this the hereafter?
My face a question mark.
 
My face a question mark.



 


Worst Nightmare writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a poem or story about your worst nightmare. If submitting a poem change the type to poem on the submission page.

Recognized


On June 18, 2007 in a parked car at Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley, California, Kevin Morrissey, 51, shot his daughter Lena, 6, in the head, then his daughter Nikki, 8, in the head. (She had celebrated her birthday and Father's Day the day before.) Next he shot his wife Dr Mamiko Kawai in the head. (She was dermatologist.) Finally, Kevin turned the gun on his own head and shot. I knew the entire family.

Never in my worst nightmare did I imagine that Kevin was capable of this. I used to go their family business, Aura Laser Skin Care, in Albany, California, where Kawai gave me laser treatment for hair removal. Kevin served as office manager while Nikki and Lena often played in the waiting room. Kawai was a caring doctor, Kevin was charming, and the girls were a lot of fun.

In my visits, I saw no signs that Kevin was planning a triple homicide and suicide. Not even the mother who saw the family at Tilden Little Farm three hours before the shooting knew what was going to happen. although she later told reporters that Kevin appeared "to be in distress, grim, and expressionless." A hiker in the mountain heard what she thought were illegal fireworks in the park and called police who found the bodies and then searched their home on Northside Avenue for anymore victims and for clues on why Kevin did it. In a suicide note in his pocket he took full responsibility for the murders, apologized to first responders, and stated that the couple were at a "financial breaking point" because of their business. He wrote that their deaths "will likely be a surprise to anyone who knows us." Not even knowledge that he told many people, and his resume stated, that he had served in Special Forces and the CIA could assuage the lingering questions that family and friends have about this tragedy.

Two weeks ago, I started a songwriting workshop whose teacher gave his students the assignment to write a song that is not about a relationship. I chose the murder-suicide of Dr Kawai and her family as my subject. Ten years have passed so that I can now look at this tragedy from a different perspective, although I have no more answers now than I did then. Using news clippings, I focused on the victims and on telling their stories from multiple perspectives--the mother at Little Farm, the hiker in the park, even their dog Buster. Out of consideration for the family, I deliberately chose not to depict the murders nor to post a picture of the murderer.

I used the Beatles "She Loves You" and The Police "Every Step You Take" as templates to arrange my verses, chorus, and bridge. I used Bruce Springsteen's "The Streets of Philadelphia" and Jason Isbell's "Anxiety" for mood and pace. In my song, Nikki and Lena's giggling serves as the chorus just as their giggling in the waiting room of Aura Laser Skin Care served as my soundtrack while their mother gave me laser hair removal treatments, no matter how many times she and Kevin tried to shush them.

Photos of Kawai, Nikki, and Lena and Lena and Buster are courtesy of a memorial site set up for the family.

I dedicate my song in memory of this family.

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