Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Woman – Kindra M. Austin

Within my womb cells divide,
and fuse.
Brain grows. Heart grows.
Lungs grow.
Eyes, ears, mouth, and nerves
all form inside my sacred space.
Man is formed in womankind.
Are you not my child?
Did you not thrive
at my breast?

Ain’t I a woman?
Surely Jesus hears my woes.
Ain’t I a woman, daughter of Eve?
Jesus
wasn’t a white man with
bright blue eyes.
Ain’t I a woman, one of His flock?

Don’t dare tell me I am not Woman.

I am Woman.

I am Woman.

I am Woman.


Kindra M. Austin is an author, editor, and micro-publisher from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel was published in April, 2017. To date, Austin has published two poetry books (Constant Muses, and TWELVE, rated five stars by Readers’ Favorite), a novel (Magpie in August), and one novella (For You, Rowena). She is currently working on a second novel (Royce with the Rose Gold Hair) to be released in early 2020.

You can read more of her writing at KINDRA M. AUSTIN and MORBID CORVID

I Peel Paper – Kindra M. Austin

I peel paper,
yellow—
jaundice skin, is it mine?

I sit inside myself. I am a room
with a view,
but I peel paper to pass the time.
My bones make for odd furniture,
so I pace the floor and stare at faces
mutely creeping through my walls.
The space is violently silent,
and

I peel paper,
yellow.

The pong of falling off does
permeate
this prison.
Layer under layer I see,
and outside the window, others be.
I cannot go to them. And someone
wants free from the plaster,
and inside
my
room.

I keep peeling paper,
yellow.
Someday we’ll get out
together.


Kindra M. Austin is an author, editor, and micro-publisher from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel was published in April, 2017. To date, Austin has published two poetry books (Constant Muses, and TWELVE, rated five stars by Readers’ Favorite), a novel (Magpie in August), and one novella (For You, Rowena). She is currently working on a second novel (Royce with the Rose Gold Hair) to be released in early 2020.

You can read more of her writing at KINDRA M. AUSTIN and MORBID CORVID

We Will Not Be Silenced Launch Event II

Blood Into Ink

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Join us for our second launch event on Facebook!

December 7 at 7pm-10pm

The editors and contributors are concluding a week of events in honor of the publication of We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art. Our live events are a great opportunity to learn more about the book’s origin, purpose, and contributors and get some sneak peeks of the powerful content.


OUR STORY

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay, and Art is the brainchild of Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray. The four indie writers and survivors felt compelled to do something after the strongly triggering Kavanaugh Hearings. We decided that we would advocate, educate, and resist through our art.
We opened submissions for…

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We Will Not Be Silenced – Launch Tomorrow!

We Will Not Be Silenced: The Lived Experience of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault, Told Powerfully Through Poetry, Prose, Essay and Art is in the best seller #1 position for Poetry Anthologies and the #1 New Release in Women’s Poetry on Amazon!

Please, if you have not yet purchased a copy, consider doing so for someone else if not for yourself. You can even purchase to give to a shelter or rape crisis center. We deliberately kept the cost low so most could afford a copy and the message in this incredible anthology would be spread.

We Will Not Be Silenced is going to have the first of several events tomorrow November 30 on Facebook if you are able to attend and whilst there, if you want to join We Will Not Be Silenced on Facebook and the accompanying site, Sisters of Indigo Light

We Will Not Be Silenced is available on Amazon

Review of For You, Rowena (Kindra M. Austin) – Kristiana Reed

For You Rowena

Austin made a gorgeous debut with Magpie in August so when asked to read and review For You, Rowena I was filled with excitement and trepidation. I imagine Austin is too, as her second novel releases, a dark departure from her first.

There is little I can say which won’t spoil the narrative of this 194-page thriller and that is what makes it such a glorious read. It is the kind of book I want to watch somebody else read. I want to watch another experience goosebumps like I did and fall down Austin’s rabbit hole of deadly love and lust.

Despite being her second novel, Austin continues to prove she is a master of her craft. She twists characters and narratives like locks of hair and runs them like ribbon through her hands; her writer’s hands which know exactly when to make you smile or when to drop your heart into your belly. This isn’t a conventional story and nor is it told in a conventional way. Austin takes risks every time she tells a story and I think that is how she so expertly captures the essence of the story itself. We are human because we have the tendency to throw caution to the wind and risk it all. Thus, For You, Rowena is brimming with humanity and its unconditional love and its cruelty. It is both perfectly constructed and unsettling.

Austin also introduces us to two female characters who are even more complex than Magpie and Lynette from Magpie in August. Rowena and Mara could have been written as one dimensional femme fatales. Instead, Austin gives us two women that change our feelings about them multiple times. They are not made of all things nice, sugar and spice. Mara speaks like she has shards of broken glass in her mouth and Rowena speaks like honey but cries like a cat mewling into the wind.

I fear if I say anymore I will spill all. I will hold my tongue and simply say, you will fall in love with For You, Rowena’s darkness and when you do, I want you to imagine me saying ‘I told you so.’

 


To buy:

US

UK

I Knew My Worth (originally published on Blood Into Ink)- Kindra M. Austin

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
boys all lined up to
pet my cleft at the blind side of the playground—
dirty fingers
mercifully uneducated in the intricacies of
female anatomy

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck in
middle school, despite my flat chest and
highly guarded cleft—
face of Helen and an ass that wouldn’t quit,
by the gods, I knew my worth

I knew my worth when I was hot as fuck and
high school boys poorly educated in the delicacies of
female anatomy
petted my cleft with excavating fingers—
I sang hymns for my molested hymen

I knew my worth when I gave birth
two weeks before graduation, and I was in love;
my sweet babe, my savior—
she taught me the truth of my worth

Violence Domesticated

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Violence

domesticated Woman.

Pot Roast Sundays

tasted better

prepared

with broken ribs.

 

He loved her hair so much that he’d take greedy handfuls.

I still see her, slumped over the stove, cooking Sunday dinner,

bruised, and bleeding into boiling pots.

Split lips were all that wept in front of him. She saved her tears for me.

 

Violence

domesticated Woman.

Sex was best when

she begged for life

at noon

when the kids were awake and watching cartoons.

 

Only we weren’t paying attention to the television—

we were holding each other, and swearing to each other

that everything would be all right as long as we stuck together.

 

And we grew up,

perfectly groomed for marriage.   

 

Violence

domesticated Woman.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Hitek)

A Ball Is for Throwing-Adrienne Rich

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See it, the beautiful ball

Poised in the toyshop window,

Rounder than sun or moon.

Is it red? is it blue? is it violet?

It is everything we desire,

And it does not exist at all.

 

Non-existent and beautiful? Quite.

In the rounding leap of our hands,

In the longing hush of air,

We know what that ball could be,

How its blues and reds could spin

To a headier violet.

 

Beautiful in the mind,

Like a word we are waiting to hear,

That ball is construed, but lives

Only in flash of flight,

From the instant of release

To the catch in another’s hand.

 

And the toy withheld is a token

Of all who refrain from play–

The shopkeepers, the collectors

Like Queen Victoria,

in whose adorable doll’s house

Nothing was ever broken.

 

©Adrienne Rich

Published in August, 1957

 

Tulips-Sylvia Plath

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The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.
They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.
My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage——
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.
I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.
I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.
The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.
Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.
Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.
The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

Power-Audre Lorde

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The difference between poetry and rhetoric
is being ready to kill
yourself
instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens
stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood
and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and
there are tapes to prove it. At his trial
this policeman said in his own defense
“I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else
only the color”. And
there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man
with 13 years of police forcing
was set free
by eleven white men who said they were satisfied
justice had been done
and one Black Woman who said
“They convinced me” meaning
they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame
over the hot coals
of four centuries of white male approval
until she let go
the first real power she ever had
and lined her own womb with cement
to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction
within me.
But unless I learn to use
the difference between poetry and rhetoric
my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold
or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire
and one day I will take my teenaged plug
and connect it to the nearest socket
raping an 85 year old white woman
who is somebody’s mother
and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed
a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time
“Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”
(image: flavorwire)