Sneak Peak of Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen: The Color of Our Rights: A Reproductive Rights Collaboration

Are you following Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen?

I will wear red
for my sisters whose health is at risk
for my sisters who have been raped
for my sisters who have been battered
for my sisters who are already struggling
to feed hungry children
for my sisters who need to finish
middle school
high school
grad school
for my sisters who are just not prepared

I will wear crimson
for their lifeblood
that will spill in back alleys
that will stain
wire hangers
knitting needles
other unsterilized implements
that become their only choice
in a country that questions
their ability
their very right
to decide

Christine E. Ray


I have been seeing colors of all hues in my mind lately.

I walk down my street and notice the full bloom of the flowers.

Yellow daffodils.

Pink sunsets.

The rain brought growth and vitality.

Green grass.

My stomach turns as I am pulled from my spring daydream. Clouds are forming. My colors change.

Red of the blood down her thighs

Silver of the hanger of old

Dark grey shadows

Peeled white paint on a dirty van

Purple bruises from unskilled hands

How quickly we forget what our warrior women went through. The fight has lost its color. Now all black and white. They can’t see in hues and block out truth.

I am a child in an orphanage. You scream my promise of a good home when I am unwanted. You tell me I will be saved by pro hands. I saw babies unwanted piled up like trash in a storage unit. Don’t tell me about choice being wrong. I am a choice no one made. A ball dropped that no one caught. I am witness to what happens when no one cares in person. Stand behind your pulpit and up on your goddamn soap box and tell a soldier that was in the trench of state child care what the options are. No one came for us. No one cuddled us on couches while they flipped through picture books with our faces in them. No one saved the smiles from the children as they slid off of their faces and hit the dirt. Many of my brothers and sisters in discard are dead now. Lost to a system you preach as an option. I watched the trash children we became. I brushed the hair of those lucky enough to be put up on the block as “New Mommy and New Daddy” walked the line. “Remember little one smile big and try to hide the sadness in your eyes. They will love you this time.” We would stand like puppies in the window and pray for salvation. Our prayers would go unanswered. People shop for children like they shop for cars. I had my tires kicked a million times only to be left on the lot. I have the bruises to show for it. Unwanted throw away children become dangerous adults, or pretty young corpses.

Cover yours eyes to the hues of color in this argument and the only colors we will see are those that run in the streets.

I didn’t know where to post this and now I am crying and pissed off and need to hand this to someone.

Jack Neece


Your body is obscene, cover it
Uncover it and give it to me
Or I’ll cry “Frigid!” “Dyke!”
You are responsible for my anger.
Look at what you did!
If only you had listened.
Then I would hate you, slut, for giving me
What I want.

– Erin L. King


False ownership
This is strangely annoying.
when you see arrogance in
someone who doesn’t own a thing
Can’t conjure a thing out of thin air
let alone a human being.
You are just the renter here. You don’t own shit.
you are born from this womb
which cradles your existence for months
a sliver away from called a being
Nothing but a pulsating existence in a foreign body
Sometimes the body treats it like an infection
to keep away the contamination
self-purging, an act of reclamation
Sometimes it accepts
cups its own palm
supports you, carries it to term
Its the body,
the arrangement
the unsaid understanding
a solemn promise
between the body and its identity
Your existence is slowly molded
like a ball of sagging clay on the potter wheel
morphed and molded
to be called a human being
You don’t own the womb.
You definitely don’t own our bodies.
You break the arrangement
just like to possess the things
Let me clear this
for the sake of your understanding
the body is not for your taking
There is a thin line between
The choices we make and your wanting.

Megha Sood 


She used to walk with a sparkle, gliding through the halls like the wind just blew her in. But what do you know about what it does to carry a reminder of the moment, of why your thighs scream at the sight of a man? To be ripped open, seed planted to bear his blighted fruit.

Her death was declared the moment you sold her womb to the devil. You man, with your flag drawn, throwing your words like they mean something. My body was not made to conquer!

Jamie Lynn Martin


her mama told her / your body is a temple girl / don’t defile it or give it away / she smoked and she drank to that / but when the boys mishandled her and something grew in her belly / she cried out loud / like a throttled nightingale / where is your justice? / the fires were lit / she anointed with shame / who better to be the brand bearer? / The rapists never knew her name / their child / their doing / sorry you can’t use that as an excuse / there are no reliefs for women who are abused / you should want to cradle your rapists child / here, give me the umbilical chord / let it sound in the dark / no succor here for survivors of incest and rape / lest men not control the uterus / oh lord heaven forbid / she burns with shame / they chant in unison / blood blood / we own your ovaries and private parts / the rape is divided / once and then again / when the law did not defend her / such is the pyre of women / born to defend their shame / inherited over generations / will it ever stop?

Candice Louisa Daquin


My knee jerk reaction is to start swinging blindly, hoping to connect with something old, red-faced, white, and male. As I raise my opened claws, exposing the softest flesh of my pink outstretched palms, I realize that this plays directly into the hands of the predator. I am not a predator, but I have spent my whole life sensing the shadows that pass o’er, discerning their threat levels, dodging them, knowing how they hunt, and how they think.

I am Mouse, master of disguises; now you see me, now you don’t.

I remember who I am and retreat to the safety of the thicket, just as the shadow swoops down, knowing they got me where they want me, and now they’re gonna eat me. I do not accept that I am on the menu today, Mr. Eagle; nor will I any other day. I will claw my way from your throat beast. Know that I will bite back until the beat has abandoned my chest and my body is made of sunshine and moonlight.

When Source asked would you rather be a Top Predator or Smart Prey, you chose your lot Mr. Eagle. You failed to remember that sustainability is not found in rumbling through jungles roaring fear me and eating everything in sight. You will be left starving. Left to rot, your ribcage will become our homes until they turn to fertile soil that makes way for generations to gather, feasting on your fallen kind’s sweet meats. We be small, but we be mighty.

Susan Conway

It was the white-hot sun, glaring down at me, pressing its warmth against the fresh, purple bruises I’d hidden beneath my clothes. It was the silvery-blue moonlight and occasional yellowed headlights that lit my room at night while I laid awake and waiting. It was the way his voice slid like black ice down my spine, the scent of cigarettes and beer on his breath, making the blood moving through my veins turn cold, freezing me from the inside out. That was the fear. That was the hatred. That was what awaited me. Every day, and every night. Where was justice then?

What about the countless other young girls experiencing the same fate? What of the ones forced to carry the children of their abusers? The ones that now have a government choosing for them how they use their bodies? What of the ones with no money, no assistance, and no means to survive on their own — newborn infant in their weary arms with crimson blood dripping down their legs? Where was the help when they starved or froze to death on the streets? What can we do when we have no rights over our own bodies no matter where we go?

Sarah Doughty


My heart is a rainbow of colors

Loves with no restraint

“Tame that sinful heart” they say, because it loves both women and men

“Your body is a temple” they say.

But what they really mean, is that it’s a church, white washed and filled with stories of how women began pain

My innocence was never hues of pastel, it was a currency to be exchanged for a worthy husband, who’d tame what my father couldn’t … So I gave it away

The red of my blood as it stained my school pants, was tangible proof that I now was another sinful woman that had to learn her place

The green of the grass I laid My head upon, left imprints on my summer clothes and instead of wondering what fields I graced with my dreams, you demanded to know why I laid in public with such lack of propriety

When My body bloomed suddenly, my clothes all became sins, and the hate from school teachers spewed over my young physique … Making stains of dark spit and vile on my white uniform

The shadows now darken so many neon souls, who simply want control of the vessel they inhabit, who refuse to bow to archaic laws

The inky black of evil, threatens to infect the world we are building for our future daughters and sons…

They spew their hate and condemn what they will never understand

But the sun will shine again

We will fight for it

Tooth and nail

You’ve taken enough

Your power will run its course

We refuse to go on living in the shadows of your consent

Let your flag fly

Let freedom ring

Jesica Nordase


Raised in a green, faraway land where
women lack power over our bodies,
All while stepping on fertile soils,
Left to be watered by the hand of an oppressor.
No voiced cries, no souls to heal anymore;
Just vacant shells left behind to pick up the pieces of what was once called a woman.
No resistance to stop the invasion either —
Just compliance to carry appointed commands.
A woman should always know her place in the world, His world. A Man’s world.
Makes it easier to endure.
Problem solved, right? So I thought.

As a teen, I witnessed so many injustices:
Sex, unprotected by foolish teenagers.
Rape, hushed just so a community never faced shame brought in without consent.
Victims blamed, the easiest outcome to digest.
The solution, girls forced to marry their rapist, only to restore honor to the family…
Problem solved, right? So I was told.

Eight dollars and fifty cents, the American dollar equivalent of a problem solved.
A pill handed to girls by desperate mothers in the family bathroom.
No doctor. No care. No precautions.
“Just go to sleep. It will go away overnight.”
That overnight hell comes and goes, leaving scars, with no elixir to kill the pain of a physical and emotional trauma
Of waking up in a puddle of her own crimson blood.
But that’s okay. It’s never talked about again. It’s over.
Problem solved, right? So I heard.

But now I’m here.
A red, white, and blue flag held high above my head, giving me a sense of protection.
Of ‘I am home.’
A humongous sign, “The land of the free,” brought tears to my eyes while walking through Customs.
“Welcome to the United States of America, Miss,”
he told me as he handed me the passport that carried so much pain I wanted to forget.
I was free. I am free.
My body is safe now.
I am my own woman.
Problem solved, right? So I hoped.

But where the hell am I?
Am I in a country where rights are protected,
Where voices are heard,
Where strength and free will is celebrated?
Or am I in a third-world country again?
I woke up confused that morning.
With two girls I needed to get ready for school.
Two girls I had been lying to, apparently.
Telling them they have rights.
That they’re strong.
That they are lucky they were born here and not overseas.
Problem solved, right? Or so I thought.

I woke up confused that morning.
Reading a law that condemns a rape victim to carry her abuser’s child.
Forcing women to resort to unsafe solutions, any means in order to take away a pain that they didn’t deserve.
I woke up confused that morning.
Wondering, why was a law, regarding a woman’s body, made by misogynistic Men?
Someone, please, wake me from this nightmare, calm my heart, and assure me that this is not a world my daughters are being raised in.
What’s the solution? I wonder.

Saide Harb-Ranero


My body will not be affected
By decisions of men in legislatures
I do not spill crimson every month.

My body will not be affected
By men carrying knives and ligatures
I cannot be raped.

My body will not be affected
By men who decide women need not study
I already have a college degree.

My body will not be affected
By men who declare I can’t work
My husband pays all the bills.

So they relaxed their bodies
In willful blindness.
They laughed at sisters
Who marched on the streets.

They joined the men in calling them whores.
And said their sons were worth more.
Then came laws that forced darkness
Faces forced behind cloaks of bleakness.

The marchers were murdered
The voices silenced.
Dance outlawed, music banned.
Writers fled, poets quietened.

Memories of the Taliban
Became realities again.
In lands that had assumed
Never again.

-Quatrina Hosain


More than Wage Inequality- Nightly News- a May week in 2019

“Missouri restricts abortion rights! Alabama has already made it illegal.”

“I choose life!”

No, you choose a ball of cells with no heartbeat-technically as alive as an amoeba, over a woman.

“A 19 yr old pregnant woman was murdered by 2, a mother and daughter. They opened her belly, cut out her unborn baby to raise as their own.”

Was she a container the prize was in to toss into a dumpster?

“US pregnancy rates are down! so low we can’t replace the population! The reason: most significant, the drop in teen pregnancy.”
Fewer humans would allow some of the one million species in the verge of extinction because of human depredation of the planet
a chance to

choose life.

In the midwest, fine American women hired an Ivy League-educated woman physician to remove the entire genitalia from a 6 yr old girl.
No anesthetic, grandmother, mother held the little girl down.

Sewn-shut breeding machines
in the name of one version of God.
Lawyers and legislators debate whether to call it “child abuse” or “freedom of religion”

to justify doing nothing.

Historically women underwent hysterectomies for everything from depression to
back pain to
a hang nail.
I ask you.
If a man complains of headaches, will you cut off his balls?

We march.
We are loud.
Yet the juggernaut blunders forward.
Back to a place where it’s encouraged to grab pussy because “they love it!”
Let me grab you by the balls.

“Le plus ça change, le plus que c’est la même chose.”

I am a woman of an age where society deems me invisible and irrelevant. My gray hairs, my wrinkled skin.
A woman friend messaged me recently, “at our age the light begins to dim.” Sure, talk yourself into it.

My light BLAZES because
I am just getting started so

Rachael Ikins


I don’t know what color to wear
For the child of rape forced to accept
Her mother’s rapist as Father
For that mother forced to put her daughter
Into the hands of her rapist
For the grieving mother mourning a miscarried child
And under investigation for possible homicide
For the child of incest
Life-long symbol of a family’s shame
For the doctor who must make a judgment call
On a woman’s life or a doomed fetus and
Facing 99 years if a court disagrees
No, I don’t know the right color to wear
Black of grief?
Rage red?
What color is fear?
Perhaps Gold for resolve that
These horrors must not come to pass

Robert Wertzler

I knew my invisibility- Candice Louisa Daquin

I knew my invisibility when
the lady next to my mother in the nursing ward
took me in her arms out of pity
for there was nobody there who cared
to rock a crying child , who was not wanted
by hedonists who erred in pregnancy

I knew my invisibility when
my mother tucked  bus ticket in her blouse
kissed me goodnight for the final time
explaining she needed to get out and breathe
did not remember to keep the door ajar
and the night vanquished me in her absence

I knew my invisibility when
my father silently resented single-parenting
did not pick me up outside the school gates
the boys in the projects threw stones and jeered
shouted “show me your stinking snatch, bitch”
until I learned to climb trees and wait and wait and wait

I knew my invisibility when
my grandfather told me to sit on his lap
the only attention was the wrong kind and sick
everyone else got busy like they didn’t know what was
bit like being chained to a rock and watching for The Gorgon

I knew my invisibility when
my friends in bikinis had boys stuck to them like bees
cooing as birds will underneath willow trees
whilst I was bitten by mosquitos not men
and the ordinariness of me was the best repellent
no need to spray tan, just stand and burn

I knew my visibility when
I broke into pieces and watched them descend
unwilling to drown I reached out and a hand pulled
me out of the darkness and into her universe
where for the first time I was seen and loved
for who I was and not a cream centered assortment
Blindly plucked from a candy box

I Know My Worth- Devereaux Frazier

I know my worth
Are you sure about that 
They ask me in the twilight hours
Caressing the vain sense and sensibilities
Of someone already caught in the eye
Storms vast, lighting strikes wide and deadly
The waves toss my hapless soul overboard
And plunge me deep into the abyss of sorrows
But alas, they are not my own
Not mine to keep
Just bitter tales of man and woman
Too deep in love to remain apart
When the fates have aligned they should
Swords run through aghast faces
Spears pluck the youth from their mothers
And leave carcasses piled high to heaven
Are you sure you know your worth 
When everyone around you is bleeding
And everything is choking on the blood
Not of their own, and not of yours
But of their forefathers, and all their mistakes
How blessed can life truly be when pain
Is served for each and every meal
There is no remedy for the man of burden
Toiling away, he writes his passions in the dust
With each breath he loses a day
But gains a star in the ever present firmament
One day I too will join my star family
One day I will know what it means to be home
So when they ask me
Are you sure you know your worth 
I will say no
Because as long as I’m here I cannot say
My path has hardly started, and goals
Simply fooled with
But those who come after me can say
Without an inkling of doubt
Who I was
Yes, we knew his worth 
In the world he created, we too can create 
And in continuing on the path of peace
Redeem the time so solemnly granted
And eagerly withdrawn 

Malevolent Melody: a collaborative piece by the curators of Blood Into Ink


(Aurora Phoenix)

Your Urgency Pierced My Marrow

with vanilla milquetoast


you spun a web

the envy of Arachne

smeared in syrupy cajolery –

I supped on hand-dipped flattery

your urgency pierced my marrow with flim flam


Dilly Dalliance Bound Me

Lavender dipped

indulgent tongue

dripped incantations,

salacious songs—

your abuse was tender

dilly dalliance bound me with feathers


The Honey You Gave

Those words were sweet as honey and I drank them down like they were all for me. I fell for each one. But slowly, beneath my rose-covered eyes, they soured.

And, piece by piece, you took all you wanted from me.

(My Valiant Soul)

Your Hands Are Stiff Wire

Cinnamon sticks plummeting

screeching lullaby with love and hunger,

A spasm spews on the back of an ant

The circle of disgust and disgust

My legs are broken, my arms are missing

yellow stingy archaic cry

Ruffling touch,

You disappear like a swollen pollen grain

As I chop my hair, chop the hideous you.


Lies and Propaganda

Anything goes, according to your arrogant agenda

Gaslight fueled, devotion fooled

Poisonous thirst for possession

And domination obsession

Believing exemption from

Sugar coated sin

As long as you win

Sticks and stones broke my bones, your lies and propaganda broke my spirit


No Longer Your Canvas

I throw out the bouquet of violets, saliva, red roses

you lay in empty contrition on our sheets of white linen

where I nurse the most recent bruises you have drawn with your fists

once you are gone, I adorn myself in essential oils

bittersweet for truth

thyme for strength

rosemary for remembrance

though my left eye may be swollen shut

I have never seen more clearly

than I do as I walk out the door, hidden suitcases in hand

I will no longer be the canvas for your unholy rage

(image: DeviantArt)

Shield Maiden Collaboration: The Burning Bed



memories float about like smoke from a raging wildfire

unsure if I should run or hide

a conflicting desire to hold on and release

breathe in, breathe out

shaking, quaking

I need them to stay

I need them to go

Aurora Phoenix:

chafing of my bondage

sparked a rope burn

it smoldered inside me

tonguing greedily upon my soul

it fed on the fuel of my fears

igniting red-orange on my flesh

licking with scarlet-steel flames

through the cracked parchment

shell of my skin


I think I am supposed to hate this encounter… possibly hate it and me enough to love it.

I don’t know if I need it to stop… or if I just need to see where it will go… the pain is so parallel to my pleasure…

Yet all that I feel is the heat from this burning bed… it’s hot like fire as my arsonist whispers in my ear… his words… “you like it…” are swirling around my head…

More like bouncing like a sick game or ping pong… or possibly a dirtier game… something so wrong…

Or is it right?

The fire in my loins can’t be extinguished… my body betrays me over and over and she doesn’t fight….

Christine Ray

It started as fire

The slow red flame that licked up my walls

Before you showed me Jekyll and Hyde

As you knock me to the floor

for what I decide

Will be the last damn time

I realize I have turned to a woman of ice

Blood from my split lip frozen to my chin

Frost on my skin that will burn

Your fingers if you lay your hands on me again

Kindra Austin:

Label me crazy with ink black, blue, and red;

You beat up my body,

Raped away my identity,

Fucked up my head.

Is my insanity so temporary?

I wonder while you burn.

Ephemera of Abeyance – A Collaboration By 1Wise-Woman and A.G. Diedericks

age of abeyence

Buried beneath the valley

Of the shadow of death


In day-glow delirium

Stifled blessed breath

Veins spill vermilion


Resuscitated by the lips of Lilith

I ride shotgun

with this estranged soul

that forges my signature

Stigmatized traffic

Oh, irascible ones..

Must you vivisect me so bluntly?


My name in blood as

Succor for unsung sins

Yet you persistently press

Cold blade of consternation

To repentant chest

Left to exist in

Muddied ditch of condemnation


Idling ethereal essence

Clinging to determinations edge

Whispering wind torn prayers

Last lost breath issues

A final plea for clemency

Drifting into depths

Of umbral numbness


I wake up mourning

in claustrophobic skin

A ray of light

years away from consciousness

Sentenced to systemic nerves

I excavate, inebriated

for the ephemera of abeyance


1Wise-Woman blogs at A Lion Sleep in the Heart of the Brave and A.G. Diedericks is the alternative poet of Sudden Denouement Literary Collective  & the groundskeeper of Morality Park

(Image from Pinterest)

Captive Freckles – Sarah Doughty and Aurora Phoenix

Captive Freckles


There was something about the way her freckled cheeks turned red that caught my attention. I wondered what made her blush. If it was something I said, or something that crossed her mind. It made the green of her eyes brighten like dew tickling grass on a warm summer morning.

suffused with roses
her emerald gaze
drew inward
coppery lashes lowered
demure veils
obscuring the windows
into her inner fracas.
her cheeks scrawl a chapter
in a language
I studied once –
long since forgot.
I scrabble
the freckled pattern –
cues to the lost tongue.

A Conversation, Coloured Lonely – Aurora Phoenix and Lois E. Linkens

A Conversation Colored and Lovely

it is at night,
when the silence screams the loudest.
when the curtains are drawn,
and the candle snuffed –
the air is burnt,
with the orange glow
of the blackened wick.
a single star
in an empty sky,
a tiger’s eye
in the witching forest,
a lonely car
on the midnight highway.

in the daylight
the silence is shushed 
its horns ground down
under the trampling of the day
it finds kindred spirits
lurking in the pauses
poised to pounce 
between hither and yon
a rabid Chimera
intent on foiling its captors

it is at night,
when the silence grows its wings;
when it becomes
arms and fingers
that squeeze and squash,
leaving their purple stains
across my skin.
so tomorrow,
i’ll cover up –
for what does loneliness wear,
when it wants to make a friend?

in the daylight
I dress to kill that silence
bedecked with breastplates
silvery self-reliance
protecting mawkish heartstrings
strained to breaking
by the violent plucking
of the silence in the
blue-black night
diamond crusted gauntlets
constrict my fingers
stretching toward contact 

it is at night,
when the ancient words echo;
Plato’s Symposium
rattles through my brain
like bullets fleeing from the barrel.
you are incomplete,
he whispers;
your God-given substance
will not sustain,
your severed arms
are bound to flail
in this darkness,
grappling for a mate
that never comes near.
as i topple on the edge of sleep,
the condescending voice
of old-age wisdom
bends my will across its knee.

in the daylight
learned philosophers
under Ra’s harsh glare –
elderly drunkards
babbling in their cups –
beneath the penetrating rays
hypocrisy illumined.
I splashdown
in the well of loneliness
dug by my constraints
listen as they old-woman cackle
when I savor the dip.
I taste the madness
of love requited
sip from my flask
fractious firewater
eau de fierce independence
with the throatiest of howls
I birth my own
dancing star

Aurora Phoenix: I spent over 2 decades as a clinical psychologist, prior to the decimation of my world when I was suddenly incarcerated 2 and a half years ago. My writing was born in that caged existence – not a choice but a soul-saving necessity.  I write as Aurora Phoenix at Insights from “Inside”

Lois E. Linkens describes herself as a “confused english student,” though one quickly finds a polished, charming poet in her work. She has an elegant style that compliments her keen insight and whimsical sensibilities. It is a pleasure to present her work, and we ask you to take a second to look at more of her wonderful work.