Sweet Mackenzie

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(Written for actress, activist and author Mackenzie Phillips after her appearance at the Institute on Violence Abuse and Trauma Conference on September 6, 2018)


with elegance and grace

she speaks of the disgrace

the loss of “who I am”

the masks of who we’ve been

with truth and honesty

she plants the seed of purity

the spark that leads to flame

no longer carrying the shame

she cares not how long it took

she is, as always, an open book

since 18, working hard to free

“something devastatingly wrong with me”


nothing Ritalin, coke or drugs could cure

to carry on – wanting something sure

needing others to say she’s OK, a church without a steeple

finding out … hurt people hurt people

a missing father figure in a physical form

untreated narcissism, substance abuse – a perfect storm

they were mad at her for telling what he did

protecting the perpetrator, keeping it all hid

a victim silenced, don’t say anything

high on arrival … becomes hopeful healing

the realization she is her mother’s daughter, no less

she need not identify with the ugly and the darkness

she could choose who she is to be

finding the identity of the one … “it’s me”

no longer desperate to be believed

not needing someone to be furious at … now relieved

forgiveness isn’t about cosigning, nor about not being pissed

it’s reclaiming the you that you’ve dearly missed


with joy, light, elegance and grace

she speaks of a past disgrace

the retrieval of “who I really am”

the release of what has never been

the spark that ignites the highest flame

no one will ever be the same

it matters not how long it takes

the book and the door is open, for all our sake

since a child, she has worked hard to set free

the one heart, the one soul … sweet Mackenzie