Transmogrify…

girlgrass

 

She lay back
into the plush green
of the meadow
with lids closed
she turned her face
to the warming embrace
of our radiant star
hands cupped under her belly
she pulled back against
the soft velvet of her skin
an embrace of singular passion
for herself
the birds in the conifers
around this arena
burbled and whistled
like the voices of so many
just outside her peripheral
always pontificating
always instructing
do this
say that
be humble
be a lady
be demure
be a pleasant decoration to the room
a china doll
wrapped in taffeta
on a shelf
not to touch, engage or hold
to be seen and admired
but not to be heard
she was to be expensive and fragile
and placed behind glass
to sit upon a mantle in the parlor
for the sport
of the rich
to be won as a prize
for expertise in misogyny

but today
she climbed down from her perch
key in hand
with tangled hair
and smudged cheek
she bounded across
the open ground
soaking her slip
in the dewy grasses of summer
to fall here
barefooted and brazen
with not so much
as a “by your leave”
to those who imagined they held
those leather thong straps
that secured her
to her post

And so it was
that she came to be
splayed across the grass
like her mother’s prize bearskin rug
arching her back
to raise her bosom to the heavens
and offer her heart
as a sacrifice
to the sun’s fire
that dripped down
from the robin’s egg blue sky

here
would she determine
her own worth
here
would she burn away the paint
they applied to her
here
would she make her stand
and never more
would she be considered
“a thing”

Girlhood – Kristiana Reed

she’s the tough girl. soft girl. doesn’t get involved girl. the too much girl. yet never enough girl. smile girl. what are you laughing at girl?

cry girl. middle of the dance floor girl. she’ll hold your hair girl.

she’s his girl. my girl. will always be the baby girl. daddy’s girl. shy girl. get them out for the lads girl.

she’s a show girl. not much of a grower girl. innocent girl. lost girl. missing girl. the nobody knows her anymore girl.

she’s the ‘you’ve changed’. learnt how to be brave. the woman you fail to recognise. because you do not use her proper name.


 

Kristiana Reed is a writer and an English Teacher living in the UK. She is the creator of My Screaming Twenties on WordPress and she is currently working on her debut poetry collection which will be released this Spring. Her work has been published in several poetry anthologies (Swear To Me, All The Lonely People, We Will Not Be Silenced), in the feminist issue of MAELSTROM Zine and the inaugural issue (flight) from Nightingale and Sparrow.

Cartography…

She looked again
but she could not find her
not on this scraped and scribbled parchment
not here among the faint ink lines
that denoted landscapes long forgotten
hills and valleys
that were worn even by the winds of time
though she continued the search
for the she before her
the paper oracle in her lap remained silent
it would breathe no word
of the whereabouts of this woman
the she before her
the one whose locks
were not of ash and peppered coal
she whose mane
flowed like an ebony flame
and how often through the gold of a crown
it hung in the salt air
aloft on her shoulders
before they were pauldroned
and framed in steel
she who walked amid
daisyed fields
and through the shade of willow branches
in the sun-swirled breezes of early march
and knew no particulars
of drought cracked earth
beneath the flap of torn rag battle standards
the she before her
who knew not the sound
a blade makes as it slices through dragon flesh
the edges of this map
here be monsters
they all knew her name now
the monsters
and they all would retreat
when e’re her boot heels would approach
and though her sword
slept at her hip
it knew they would not find her
the she before her
for the woman they sought
was the self same maiden
now warrioress
who rests upon weathered stone
and dreams of a time
when this map
was a stranger to her

– Dedicated to Christine Ray – Beautiful Woman, Amazing Friend, Trusted Ally, Champion

Pretty Skinny – Kristiana Reed

person-801899_1280 (1)

We say skinny

like it’s a swear word.

We blame skinny girls,

ask who ate the skinny girl

and can’t bear the skinny girl

who says anything about her weight.

We’ve branded ribs and collarbones

who didn’t ask to be shown.

We tell them to eat more,

call them twigs, stick-thin

and not flowers pretty enough

for the bees,

because only vultures pick at bones.

I’m not saying skinny

needs to be the new curvy

or vice versa.

I’m asking women and men

and every gender to be a little kinder

to every body.

Everybody has bones and insecurities,

pages of a history

they ripped from their open book

long ago, to be kept and stowed.

I’m asking as a girl

who has always been small

not to chastise me

for the way my elbows poke

when yours don’t.

All we are, is skin and bone

and it shouldn’t matter

how much we show,

keep to ourselves or flaunt

in Instagram posts.

 

I would like to say

I’m skinny or curvy

or fat or thin

without feeling dirty.

I would like to say

I’m a woman who

is learning to love

her body;

the skin and the bones

she has no choice but to be in.

 

We say skinny

when we should say

‘Beauty comes in every shape and size

and it is not for me to decide

if you do or should feel pretty.’

 


 

Kristiana Reed is an English teacher and a writer (in her free time and day dreams.) She is the author of the WordPress blog My Screaming Twenties and she writes about love, her struggle with mental health, survival and hope. She is currently in the middle of producing Between the Trees, her debut anthology, and writing her first novel.  

Ally…

4-Tr
when I first met her
it was on the road to our homeland
the sun shone bright
and the birds sang praises to the gods
she and I shared words
of beauty
written on the pages
with our blood in the ink
when next I met her
she cupped her hands
around an ember of my heart
and breathed courage across it
a flame danced and flickered
in the dark of my doubt
and so lit the way for my dreams to walk
when last I met her
it was on the road to war
I stood by
as she leaned upon a shattered fence
I attended her wounds
while she caught her breath
and it was my honor
to hold her shield while
the pain of battle ebbed
in her weary limbs
and while tears dried upon her cheek
I renewed my oath
and I
will walk with her
toward home

To gentlemen on dance floors everywhere – Kristiana Reed

To gentlemen on dance floors everywhere:

Fuck off.

No, seriously. Please keep

your bump and grind stare

to yourself.

Perhaps I’m not wearing

any underwear

but I didn’t come here to share.

I came here to dance and

drink until I’m silly,

not the ‘liability’ you’ll claim

as your lion’s share – and

try to take.

If you haven’t yet realised

I’m using the term ‘gentlemen’

loosely, because chivalry

is not dead,

you just haven’t learnt it yet;

and I don’t mean door holding

and jacket offering –

No, I mean personal space

for each of my hands,

my ribcage and raging breath.

I mean having conversations

which don’t have forks in the roads,

yet no matter what I choose

in your head, both lead to sex.

I mean dancing on my own

because I decided long ago

this body is good enough for me

and me only,

and even if you ask politely

I’m still not obligated

to give any of it, to you.


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar & Sudden Denouement, and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.