Are You Fucking New Here?- A Weyward Sisters Collaboration

Originally published on Sudden Denouement

You dropped by today
dissected my verse
thoughtfully pointed out
all the ways I could
smooth out my edges
improve flow
to slide more gently past
your discerning eyes
you must be fucking new here
if you think
I was asking for it
not a fan of unsolicited advice
my “friend”
I like my truth
raw
bloody
with a hint of lemon for acidity
that stings going down

(Christine E. Ray)

Oh, hello,
I didn’t see you there
although I can already tell you like to stare,
as if it is your obligation
to females everywhere.
And everywhere you seem to be.
You’re the type who lingers in keyboards,
assaulting our letters
with ones you would never dare to speak.
You’re the type who visits galleries just to sigh,
point out the vulvas in the petals
and tut at a landscape you’ve never visited.
You’re the type who slumps way down in the theatre,
feigning sleep during her monologue
because it is ‘feminist and shit’, and yet
she’ll be the only one on your mind
when you reach down tonight.
Oh, how do I know this? 
Why, because you always come back for more.
For more of my letters, pretty letters,
your coeliac stomach cannot wait to reject.

(Kristiana Reed)

You stab me with a misplaced comma’s edge,
expect me to bleed ink, but I blossom gold
leaf, like pages of a holy tome, and your
lines of prose crackle in my burning gale.
I am more word than woman, you see
and I am truth, your haunting just ghost
of all those who said no, who pushed me
down stairs of paragraphs, but I got grit,
I grew wings of paper, from you I fly.

(Allie Nelson)

hey you there –
with the pursed lips
and furrowed brow
click-clacking
your studied
critical analysis
of these driblets
of my life’s blood.
you must be fucking new here
if you mistake
the penning
of my soul
upon the page
as a request
for literary critique.
this, here
is the juice of my carotid
scrawled with fingertips
as I apply
tourniquet and poultice.
your worded attempts
to package my agony
into neat and tidy
boxes
are ill-advised salt flakes
poured into my wounds.

(Aurora Phoenix)

Soft upon the scene
He entered
Mushy odorless rambling
Entailed:
“Darling, how are you faring?
Your words are dancing in my soul
Your star shines upon my dreams.”
going after me
Feeling my every words’ step
With a presumptuous club
White and black penned music
That clawed silence to my ears:
“You are the brightest…
Fade away, you heartless beast!”

(Iulia Halatz)

i picked up my pen and out came all of me.
it poured and poured,
filling space with untrained words and anarchy,
sharpened love, feelings bent,
a keenness breathed without judgement,
ink balled with mercy
into something of me that might speak in truth.
but you sat and held your cup,
and watched it spill.
you put it in your cabinet
with a yellow note: ‘could do better.’
i would those curling lips
might taste the poison in the teacup
between your eyes;
that is where the horror really lies.

(Lois E. Linkens)

You must be new here, because tact and common decency seem lost on you. You see, it is not okay to call a woman by any other name than the one she has given — so don’t call me Baby and I won’t call you Tiny. It is not okay to insert yourself in my life and assume I need your sage advice — if I want to know, I will ask. Do not presume to know what I am thinking, or what my heart is trying to say — because you can be damn sure that if I wrote the words, I meant each and every one of them. I’m not perfect, and I never claimed to be, but I don’t need a lecture on semantics or grammar — I’ve had more than enough schooling and experience to know my own mind. But, if you really are new here, remember this one simple rule: if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
(Sarah Doughty)

You enter my house and
manhandle my verse. You
wonder why my
heart spurts crimson with
every heavy beat—
pressure me for information.
Why so mocking?
Why so angry?
Why the foul language? Bitch,
you must be fucking new here
if you expect an
explanation.
Cos I don’t answer stupid
questions.
Grow a brain, and
get a clue.

(Kindra M. Austin)

How to be a woman – Kristiana Reed

smile
pray for king and country
legs spread wide

cook, clean
track your cycle
against the moon
ready for baby no.2

get on your knees
and seek forgiveness

look pretty

sexy

but little –
shrink yourself
into the place you belong:
Pandora’s box
crafted by a god
for the ruin of man
the only female touch
is yours, nails clawing
at the velvet lined walls

fight

rip the fabric
from the walls

bleed, because this
is your right

learn
how to tear down concrete

and smash ceilings

face obstacles

and carry your sisters
to the finish line

continue to bleed,
to rise, to fall,
to live, to breathe
– this is your earth given right.


I write about love, lust, struggle, survival, fickle things, dreams and the stars. And anything in between. You can read more of my writing at My Screaming Twenties

I released my debut collection of poetry and prose in May 2019, Between the Trees which is available to buy, below. I am currently working on my second collection.

Between the Trees:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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.

Pretty Skinny – Kristiana Reed

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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.  

Confessions – Kristiana Reed

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I talk to myself,

no more, no less,

than anybody else

I’m sure.

 

I apply makeup

in the morning

for the people

in my imagination.

In regards to my first

confession, this probably

makes less sense.

What I mean is,

without it I’m invisible

to all things in

fantasy and reality;

so, I wear mascara

in case I bump

into a daydream

or a colleague.

 

When I’m nervous

I enjoy the taste

and texture

of my own skin.

I chew my nails

and their messy,

unmade beds

to the quick.

I grip my shoulders,

wrists and arms

to remind myself

I am real;

an open book

with a pulse,

intimidated by hands

with the intention

to close me.

 

I linger too long

in peoples’ hallways,

on the stairs

and in the dark corners

of my memories,

and I travel through

happiness

like a bullet train

past rolling hills

and the setting sun.

 

I white lie

compulsively

to the people

I love, so as not

to hurt their feelings.

But, what does it say

about me, when

I am so willing

to hide all of me

from the ones

who committed long ago

to greeting me

as I am?

 

I write to myself

too. Poems, speeches

and stories.

Hardly any end up

on paper; neither

printed nor inked.

They exist and

they are gone.

Sweet bubblegum

popped reminders

that I’m not okay

and I am okay,

often, at the same time.


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.  

Running Home – Kristiana Reed

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I’m walking home

holding my house key

pointing down, between

two fingers.

A weapon

 

because the sun has set

the street lamps are on

and I’m a twenty four

year old woman.

I’m wearing boots

jeans and a hoodie

but wonder if the flesh

on my palms

will be cause for a judge

to say she was showing

too much skin.

When he ponders

 

the trauma of a woman

undone; her rage

and her no

not enough. She

should have done more,

she should have worn more,

she should have run faster,

she should have looked

behind her more,

she should

 

have considered

the temptation

of the breath on her lips,

in her lungs and in her blood

more.

 

I’m running home –

praying there won’t

be a monster waiting for me

in the darkness

 

behind my closed

front door.

 


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is President of FVR Publishing, 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.

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.’

 


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UK