We, The Broken – Aurora Phoenix

come play, poetic friend
the full moon waxes
idyllic on the starless night

glimmering invite reflects
stark fear from the silvery scar
of my ever-unprotected flank

breathless, transfixed
I rummage among
my branded entrails

forage for rose-colored glasses
to gaze upon
luna’s beatific face
 
find them bloodied
from werewolves’
prior bites

moonbeams’ harmonic strains
drag piercing fingernails
across the chalkboard
of my angst

we, the broken
long to frolic carefree
in cool-limned incandescence

hang frozen

in shattered indecision
having forgotten
what it’s like
to be whole

Inspired by Jessica Nodarse, Eric Syrdal and Megha Sood

Testify! – A Collaboration

Elephants in the arena,
drowning out the stories as
we all hear them,
stomping on
the flowerbed scenery
they’ve built around your garden of rot,
and without a
second thought,
sold the world a
wilting centerpiece
(Nicholas Gagnier)

I
And His Daughter Prayed for Her
She didn’t really know why
She prayed she’d not meet a guy
At a party; ‘cause he’d liked beer
That sudsy stuff she’d now fear

II

The louder we toast
The better the truth we spew
Just another pint
The truth becomes toxic stew
We’ll all agree
Got the votes of the old crew
Now let’s all meet
At Four P’s and grab a brew
(Stephen Fuller)

Oh! look at him
when the venom drips from his slithering tongue
and he moans and screams
to validate his flagrant lies
and the white privilege
agrees in complete unison

Hiding behind the female prosecutor
those bunch of naysayers,
shreds and rips the reality in bits and pieces
oh! she should have reported it sooner?

Where the validity of her truth never mattered
it would never be
a grain of sand in their eyes of ignorance
too hard to ignore,
too painful to realize
an exercise in futility.
(Megha Sood)

If only I knew
that high school and college
were hunting grounds
for people like you.
The ones that worked hard
with all their money,
physical talent, and popularity.
Those predators were untouchable.
Little did I know that being
in an empty hallway,
a bus ride at night,
or walking home from school
was a dangerous act.
If only I knew that predators
come in all forms,
and not all monsters
have hideous faces.
The word of a quiet, unknown girl
would never match
the thoroughbred males
that dominated my world.
If speaking up would only lead
to more labels, accusations, and bullying,
why say anything at all?
The shame and guilt
was already overwhelming.
Why add insult to injury — literally?
(Sarah Doughty)

Get out of my head
my body, my bed
take your license for molesting
somewhere they welcome it
there’s no show tonight
the actress fled the stage
finding herself unable to fake
why bruises keep cropping up
like blooms of rot on her body
the price paid for her art
they told everyone she wanted
to be gang-banged at the after party
where lilies to congratulate her success
lay strewn on much trod floors
as they ground her soul to flour
she felt the wink out of valor
how can I go on from this?
where is my sword? My strength
to rise above their dissection and
penchant for ownership with violate
lend me a knife so I can slice
their pretty little grins of entitlement
right off their wolfish mouths
(Candice Louisa)

‘LIAR!’
the self-righteous hiss
under their breath and
in the comments sections
their venom dripping deep
so like their ancestors
who spit ‘WITCH’ and
‘WHORE’
from forked tongues
when truth spoken
shattered the community
myths
(Christine E. Ray)

Devil’s dancing fingers go
clikety-clack,
tapping at the keys,
and shifty voices surge.
Virulence is vomited into microphones:

“She lies!”
Meanwhile, we continue
to learn that some of our friends are despicable people—
discover stomach turning rhetoric and defense of abusers.
Women blaming women…

I’m fuckin disgusted by all the questions:

“Why didn’t you report this sooner?”
“Why did you put yourself in that situation, anyway?”
“Why even bother speaking out now?”

We’re under attack,
and I’m armed to the nines.
(Kindra M. Austin)

you formed thick callouses
padding o’er those wounds
I watched how you bled
as you peeled them off.
you held your composure
just so
/a shield and your frying pan/
at arms’ length
peering from behind spectacles
uttering carefully poured
analytical professorial articulations.

I saw you shake
we all did
your sisters in conversant
solidarity.
I bled alongside you
as you clawed off your skin
in the service of truth
that bitch named
greater good
and I felt the warm sanguinary
drip
as your demons feasted
on your vulnerable flanks
all the while.

he is laughing still
isn’t he?
(Aurora Phoenix)

The abuse began so long ago that I can’t quite place a finger on the exact moment my heart shattered for the first time. I don’t have an “I remember it so vividly” story, for that moment, because there is so much water – so much water between me and the shore. I want so badly to plant my anchors of feet into that wet sand and refuse to budge ever again. But my reality is one of drowning and resuscitation; only to end up with another mouthful of water and flailing hands. Memories do fade, especially when the waves do not relent. But, it doesn’t make the assault or the sting nonexistent. Must we bleed all over you in order for you to believe? By the power of 3 × 3 karma let them see. Let them see. As I will it, so mote it be.
(Susan M. Conway)

Assaulted – Aurora Phoenix

you were pushed from behind

 

I heard in the breathless notch

in your measured words

that catch

in your voice

the tremulous quaver

in your understated stand

 

I have felt those hands

(haven’t we all)

one knife-wielding

– in word or deed –

while the other lays claim

with eyes or clammy paws

to my plush backside

 

you are the embodiment

of cultured terror apparent

the carbon dated anguish

etched on your skin

your pain quivers

on articulated tips

of your educated tongue

 

I jump sky high

elbow cocked in self- defense

it fades yet never ebbs

that stretched rubber band

that inhabits cells

twangs unbidden

and we sproing!

 

he tantrums

spews vile rhetoric

wields his power

his privilege

in ways she would burn

at stake

would she dare give voice

were she to cry crocodile

her ovaries would fry

ahhh those tantrums

we choke down

swallow hot with rancid bile

those that would label

rabid bitch

raving psycho

 

because well behaved women

may bare our ankles

here in 2018

shoulders even (Oh my!)

but we step NOT

upon the tender toes

of fragile male privilege

under pain of recompense

 

How Low Can You Go? -Aurora Phoenix

you gather your henchmen

close and closer

they

whose quals consist

\in whole and part\

of oft-shriveled

deified appendages

and an omnipresent

aptitude for grating

self-aggrandizement.

 

you flaunt

your petulant pedigree

while maggots squirm

on the flyleaf

pearling slime

on the stained

glass aperture

to your fears

 

I neither sway

nor hold self-same

relegated

as I am

thankless workhorse

\inflamed appendix\

held in abeyance

 

bend my back

with toil and trouble

work nimble fingers

to aching bones.

I break not

dear sir

limbo me not

to the lowest

of your lows

To Lie in Wait -Aurora Phoenix

does anyone know how

to wait anymore?

in this world of constant contact

buzzing chiming hyper

stimulation

what happens if you sit

in silence?

alone with the thud of your blood

\thundering in your veins\

and the whisper

of your inner descant

erupts

a cacophonous harangue?

nay, you say

I run not from the fear

my flaming inner ear

as I suckle at the singing

\pinging ringing\

electronic sugar teat.

 

this generation who believes

navel gazing

is a search for pierc-ed bling

an alt-indie band

or a porn-spawned

sexual fetish

they might just give a try,

flee

\buzz on the back of a flea\

at the barest nod

to hush-ed introspection

heed not those

tongues of babel loosed.

 

what inner demons?

 

 

 

 

 

Name That Fire – Aurora Phoenix

was I being

uppity?

might that be the source

of animus

in a jailer woman

who inhales internalized

sexism

haughty with skinny latte aroma

exhaling scorn from the lifted bridge

of her upturned nose?

yessir! that is why

I abhor canned characterizations

labeling woman

\manipulative, dramatic, triflin’\

who we vanquish

and discard.

it would not be

that I speak

of the inequities I see.

if I am uppity

from what properly

lowered place

do I dare

rise?

 

I am fiery

you say.

an assessment lit

in my challenge

to your read

simply because you hold

all the cards.

true, I refuse to defer

to authority

over logic

to might

over right

I stand firm in my quaking boots

as I climb from the trench

\silenced no more\

fan the flames

of my insubordination

drink in the mist

of grudging admiration

from slaves to status quo

while I burn it

to the ground

I Knew My Pain – Aurora Phoenix

I knew my pain when it was a screeching

sunset

spurting cotton candy carnage

across the feathered heavens

mocking all that is soft and soothing

drawing my gaze

up and up, tearstained

\thundering scarlet refrains\

reverberating clang of your loss.

I knew my pain when it was a snarling

saber-tooth

birthed of my rent ventricles

spewing aortic dirges

feasting on festering anguish

\clamorous gluttony\

heartache grew fangs

fueled on midnight howling

and my heart gnawed raw itself.

I knew my pain when it was a stinging

nettle

clinging needy-puppy to my shins

\all scratch and scrape reminders\

of the bite that replaced the soul

in the deep chocolate of your iris.

I knew my pain when it was creeping

ivy

camouflaged among wistful greening

arisen from the fetid heap

\itching a glitch in my hopeful healing\

tendrils sneak snake-oil slick

renders my skin hopeless raw

where it lingered

in the shadow of your touch.

I knew my pain when it was tempered

steel

inlaid with soulful etchings

\mother of my surviving pearl soul\

I raise the blades coated

in my fevered blood

hammered now, the plowshares

of my hard- won stance.