This Room is Not for Rent-Christine Ray

 

The Greek chorus has declared me

damaged beyond repair

incapable of a “normal” life

“better off dead” say the well-meaning citizens

than “broken”

preferring the image of the golden haired innocent child angel

comforted by a merciful God

over the living angry woman

who refuses to be silent

I try not to let these voices

rent space in my head

they are destructive tenants

who forfeit their security deposit

scrawl graffiti in red lipstick on my walls

dirty

shameful

Lolita

guilty

complicit

whore

bitch

I try not to buy into the vitriol

when they imply that my life has no meaning

that I am an abomination

a red, raw, bleeding thing they deem too unseemly to look at

unfit for polite society

“Fuck You!” I want to shout at the top of my lungs with my hands covering my ears

Some days it is hard to find the armor of my rage

when I am just so god damned tired

of having to prove over and over again

that I am worthy of continued existence

that I deserve to walk this earth

breathe the oxygen

as if I am the one who must continue to do penance

for other’s sins

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Child Welfare- Christine Ray

I am in a child welfare class

In graduate school
Class starts at 4 pm
The room is crowded and dim
My classmates and I are drowsy
We all could use a snack
Some caffeine

The professor puts on a film
A surprisingly graphic film
About child sexual abuse
I am fine
I am fine
I am fine
And then I am not fine
I am rushing out of the classroom
In a cold sweat
Heart thudding
Hands shaking

I just make it to the ladies room
And the privacy of a stall
Before I vomit my lunch up
In the ancient, cracked toilet
I have never used the words
Sexual abuse
In relationship to myself before
But my body is telling me a different narrative
As I shake, white in the 3rd floor bathroom

I have had lovers
Who are sexual abuse survivors
I have always told myself
That what happened to me was not like
What happened to them
That drifting on the ceiling
Doing my grocery list my head
While having sex
Was normal

That my constant need for control
Was normal
That my inability to let anyone touch me
When I am feeling vulnerable
Was normal
That the fact that I cannot look at pictures of myself from
Certain parts of my childhood
Without wanting to be sick
Was normal
That I first wanted to die when I was 12 years old
Was normal

As I fight my panic in the bathroom
Praying that no one else will need to use it
I am finally forced to admit to myself that
Maybe this is not normal
This unnerves me
Makes my world feel upside down
It takes me some time
To regulate my heartbeat
Calm my breathing
Splash water on my face
And school my expression into something
That resembles functioning adult
Before returning to class
And watching the rest of that damn film

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Magical Thinking- Christine Ray

I hide myself behind the hanging coats

praying to a god I already no longer believe in

to turn me chameleon

like the ones I read about

in fourth grade

plead with the universe

make my pale skin and dark hair

blend in with the parkas

make my left arm plaid

my cheek blue polka dots

to please make the piled winter boots and sneakers

provide camouflage for corduroyed legs

stockinged feet

cold and wet from melting snow

Please, I beg whatever powers might listen

let his eyes pass over me unseen

let me be invisible to those unblinking eyes

that made me feel so dirty

so repulsive

so naked

just this once

 

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

Uncomfortably Numb-Christine Ray

stop
Once upon a time
i was an innocent
girl-child
full of trust
day dreams
fairy wishes
like many
girl children
barbarian
invaders
tried to claim
my territory
as their own
i was young
helpless
powerless
but absorbed
the lesson
shame

i learned to live
outside
of the country
named body
retreated
to the
the land
called
dissociation
to protect
the integrity
the fragility
of self
grew thicker
skin
became
a chameleon
felt rage
simmer
in my belly

told over
and
over
again
that I existed
for other’s
entertainment
pleasure
called
bitch
dyke
ballbuster
tease
when
i insisted
that i would
set the terms
for
who
when
where
my body
would be shared

many years
later
i meet the foe
called
neuropathy
that drags
me
out of
dissociation
and solidly back
into body
whether
i want to
be there
or not
neuropathy
is excruciating
numbness
burning
radiating pain
i laugh
at the irony

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest Honorable Mention- Little Bird/Kae Bucher

Little bird Katherine Whitford

He finds me in my nest
and gathers
my boundaries
as though they are nothing more
than flimsy twigs
to kindle
his appetite.
As he sets them aside
blue skies are ripped out
from under me.
i flap
as i fall
hysterically
from the
family tree,
and into
his lustful flames.
goodbye sweet morsel
of rock a bye song…
my beak breaks
easily in his hands
no danger now
of my saying a word…
i dream of
wings
and thorny nests shaped
like a crown.


I was born in the Florida Keys, but grew up in the Bay Area before migrating south for college. I completed my bachelor’s in English at Fresno Pacific University in California, where I minored in Christian ministry. I have also had the privilege of serving as a youth pastor.

In addition to teaching special needs students and raising four children, I also studied Special Education as a graduate student at FPU. I have now been writing for over twenty years, and much of my recent poetry appears on my website: Buckets On A Barefoot Beach

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest Honorable Mention- Queen of my own heart (running away from incest)/Kae Bucher

Queen of my heart Katherine Whitford

i wonder …
was it all a game to them…
that afternoon our house of cards
fell?
when my heart
was ripped like a playing card
as it tore
down streets on a green
skate board
AWAY
from a family who
thought it was
FUNNY
to pimp me
out
to old
men?
But then again…what
does it matter
who
they are …
or what
they think
I am?…
I am a 15 year old Queen of
my own heart…
who rolls
up and down streets
AWAY
from brothers who
want sex
from me… from old men
who
wait for me
in the
front room
so I guess
that
makes
ME
THE WINNER
…because …
it’s not about the family
I was dealt
BUT
about getting my card
OUT of
their game…
I am a 15 year old Queen of my own heart…
so as soon…
as I can get off this
skateboard …MY
LAUGHTER
WILL
float
like shredded incest cards…
CONFETTI
WILL
WAVE
goodbye
as I skate
…AWAY…
to lands where sisters are
NOT
tucked into brother’s
beds


I was born in the Florida Keys, but grew up in the Bay Area before migrating south for college. I completed my bachelor’s in English at Fresno Pacific University in California, where I minored in Christian ministry. I have also had the privilege of serving as a youth pastor.
In addition to teaching special needs students and raising four children, I also studied Special Education as a graduate student at FPU. I have now been writing for over twenty years, and much of my recent poetry appears on my website: