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

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.  

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.’

 


To buy:

US

UK

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/Window and Walls

window and walls.jpg

The rubble lies before her,

prostrate and submissive,

chalky remains of her defences,

soft rock and twenty-year old bricks.

This was her fortress,

her safe place and prison,

over the years the lines had blurred,

no longer sure if these walls were built

to ward people off

or keep people in.

 

Now, she stood in a dust cloud,

crumbling air settling thickly

into every pore and in her lungs,

swaddling her in a blanket of vulnerability,

left naked as the centre of attention,

a yellow bulb lighting every flaw

she had smoothed over with the plaster

piled around her feet.

 

The question which usually went to voicemail

hung, immovable before her eyes;

Do we rebuild?

It came from voices of versions

of herself – stubborn and soft,

happy and cross,

warm and cold,

all with the same wish,

to rebuild and forget,

to shun regret

and cast humility to the wind.

 

In this chasm there is no wind,

the dust is stifling

as her mind moves to demolish

walls and barbed wire fences,

smash triple-glazed windows,

rose-tinted and clean,

to split open her chest

reach into her ribcage

and remove the throbbing organ

capable of feeling too much.

 

And yet,

she chose to rebuild;

but with memories of every crack,

splinter and cacophony caused

when it all collapsed.

Here, now stands a home

with honesty on the mantelpiece

and every window flung open.


Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/To Blaze

To Blaze Kristiana Reed image

These women didn’t rescue voices

to watch you bow out

of this life and the next,

the weight of shame and scandal

sinking you to their knees

all bloodied and bruised.

 

These women didn’t raise hands,

two in subjugation

then balled fists in protest,

to read apologies

written in the faintest ink,

ghastly lit in camera flashes.

 

These women didn’t speak

then burn through

shattered rosy glasses,

to be painted over

as misshapen forms

smothered in misogyny.

 

These women didn’t march streets

paved by men

in debased gold,

to listen to your vitriol

and Viagra fuelled lies,

their bravery branded a weapon.

 

No.

 

These women were born into shivering hands

of mothers and fathers,

to blaze so brightly

the pigment in your glassy eyes

will vanish, before you stamp her

into the ground.

 

Into the earth which bore her forth.


Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/Learning to Braid

Learning to Braid Kristiana image

Years of painstaking practice had taught her fingers to interweave three strands of hair, into one cohesive thread. Just like how she’d penciled birthdays into her mind. Just like how she’d learnt the knowing smile she needed to give your mother, an unspoken indictment of your forgetfulness when it came to saving a date. Just like how she knew every name you felt she needed to know, ready to say with lips pulled over the teeth you said she needed to show.

It took time to marry the strands; her hair was thin like silk and would often slip through her fingers. Or her arms grew tired, suspended behind her ears, biting her bottom lip trying to create perfection without a mirror. Just like how she patiently etched each facial expression of yours into her mind, only to read you wrong and pay in silence. Just like how she attempted to juggle the future you envisioned whilst walking on the tightrope of her ambition. Just like how she had begun to measure years, months, days and then hours of her life; living without a reflection.

Then there were the fly-aways. Wisps of unpredictability, spontaneity and reckless abandon furiously disobeying her sleight of hand. Whimsical kinks refusing to be held in one place or tied down amongst the rest; no matter how tight she pulled on the strands, no matter how many pins she buried deep into her hair. Just like her desire to spin out of orbit and taste oxygen with the excitement of never being able to again. Just like her attraction to his aftershave, his smile or his eyes. Just like her dream to free-fall into fear instead of tuck it in at night, along with time and money.

Years of practice dispersed at once. The band which held it all together, snapped. The red ribbon, the lifeblood, came undone. The cohesive thread she’d worn like a badge of honour fell loosely about her shoulders and jaw. Strands she had forgotten about fell in front of her eyes and tickled her collar; rising and falling with shallow breaths of insecurity and hope. She’d spent years growing her hair so it was long enough to braid. Yet now, as it tumbled down the length of her spine, it felt weightless. She, felt weightless.


Kristiana Reed juggles writing and teaching English; in both vocations she endeavours to remind people of their self worth and how dazzlingly beautiful the world can be.

You can read more of Kristiana’s writing at My Screaming Twenties