That woman is me

The woman sat flaccid-bottomed on bath lip
squash of emotions beneath sturdy hips
pieces of her, no-one ever sees
water on full, hitting porcelain as drums beaten to recall
steam filling small room, obscuring
her grave emptying breasts as they urge to droop lower in hour
whisper of a nipple, against empty arms
when was the last time? She felt hands on her
lifting drummed grief within, recoiling of sadness for
blur and smooth music of touch?
Is she still a woman able to appeal?
or become the damp drying of paper walls
pealing and perishing with carved silence
and who would caress the broken parts of her
with equal ardor? Not minding
how her stomach rounded and slid
slightly sideways in its phantom gelatin mold
where the folds of her neck roosted
her opening legs a trust, erased
for she holds within herself an
eternity of scolds and loose threads
disliking the belch of flesh around her thighs
or the downward pull of stretched skin
marking its silver lines across her
like marauding seafarers
she is told she is beautiful
by those who over-use the word and
glut on dispelling fears like caged witches given
their freedom
but in her heart of hearts
where rosy trace of girlhood is long swept and vanquished
and mirrors are to be run past and shunned
the puckering of her forehead, and thin skinned clavical
knows the real scales of her drying self-hood curling inward
in its invariable regret
she is not the smooth melatonin
goddess of her dreams nor even young enough to stop
another heart with any part of her
physic movement or grace
yet she possesses still
a smile, pulled from depths, capable of
illuminating others darkness
and when she is not
angered by slouch of age and
hours spent hunched over making
worlds with words
withering in slow motion on the vine
of her choices and that stayed
moment she quit opening for sunlight
she remembers the fleet-footed
girl of yesterday, taken in the arms of those
who would give her ease from solitude
in their reverence of her youth
though, it is not now, now she is alone
the bath filling high and her wish
to step into hot water and be absorbed by fantasy
to be touched again in feelings now stored away
only taken out briefly when facing herself and
the strange quality of her diminishing reflection
a voice within
rarely permitted to verbalize
the absence and loneliness of her skin
for if it could speak
surely those words would, catch the damp of her
ardor and unsaid want and cry out
oh just once more! Let me feel the rounding
desire we take for granted in youth
a touch through time, relieving ache
of years spent sleeping, back to the wall
hands beneath pillows, unwanted in disappearing skin
the burning of such need
a fire beneath closed eyes
seeking refuge in other worlds
where you are as you were
and have always been
devoured by your passion
the feeling of you inside, reminding us both
of life abundant
without loathing nor reducing
that woman
reaching out
is me

Euphemism ~ Candice Daquin

My grandmother used to say

If you give it away too easily

People will not value it

If it’s too easy it won’t have worth

And I realize

All the time I thought truth

Could be a beautiful thing

I was just making it easier

To be taken for granted and hurt

But I don’t play games

So if you’d only like me when I put on an act

And play hard to get

Then I’ll probably be alone forever

Because I’m not going to do that

Just so you fall for someone who

Isn’t me

That impressive mirage you conjure

Part from your own want

Part from my tease and need

For acceptance

You don’t know yet

I’ve an entire suitcase of rejections

Dolls with turned faces who declared

You’re a disappointment

I keep them in my attic and try not to talk about how

Their approbation flayed me more skillfully than

A pack of wolves set to hunt

I think there is not much difference

Between murder and neglect

Still

When it’s a balmy moon and we’re listening to the radio

If I hear a song for the girl I was

Before her face was pushed and held down

In her own regret

Your need and my tokenism

Are like wet matches

Able to dry out and catch

Given enough longing

Though it’s nothing more than spectacle

And borrowed words

Reveling in the saturate

Of one unfocused moment

Lapsing in her chair

Red toes, black eyes

Spilt hair, tied back bosom

The angularity of pain

Sift of life straining for

One last memory

Dancing in your arms

As you whisper things we’ll never do and maybe

I believe

Before sunrise

Every damn one of them

They stain my skin

With their heavy pits

As you take me into you and gasp

Underwater music sounds

Like a bird released from its cage

Will linger

Before flying away

And you

Place the empty containers of your words

Perfume bottles for the dreamer

Touch the door with trembling fingers

Wanting to make it last

Knowing it has already fled

And the besting of wings

Join children’s laughter

Playing by busted sprinkler

Water catching sunlight

Reminding you of grief

And her intoxicating print

Heavy in your chest

letters for a certain nobody. #2- Ra’ahe Khayat

Ari 4

i miss the way your heart used to fuck mine in the middle of a crowd, as everyone looked over at us, without ever seeing how fast they slammed against our ribcages, while we tried to cage our flailing valves and aching veins that were too tired to scream, and yet too obstinate to stop fighting.

it’s all too very still now.

my body has lost it’s rebellion, and my mind has lost it’s battle, as they both stand silently over the tomb where parts of you lived within me long ago. everything that moves today, does so in denial- because acceptance hurts.

you could sew bones back into their sockets, and joints back into their folds, but the tears at the creases where you folded my breast as a keepsake cannot be joined anymore than you can reset the calendars to sail back through those months that lost their very name in the avoidance of yours.

i’m like a water molecule at the surface of silent lake- you crashed into me with a single violent kiss, and then skipped away, without ever turning around to watch me drown-

i miss the way you stole the clarity of the graceless stars that bewailed the loss of their entangled twin, with each breath.


“I’m an autumn leaf, fluttering with loneliness on a naked branch.. where I observe the world, like a specter. It’s all fleeting moments, entwined with cold mornings fading into frosted evenings. Never still, yet never moving.”

I am Ra’ahe Khayat, and let me make you fall into the rabbit hole breathing in my mind at Fallen Alone

Arclight- Ward Clever

Ward larm-rmah-112824

Deprived
Cut off and wondering where everyone went
Well does it matter
These hallways
This empty parking lot
Under this starless night
I feel nothing anyway
Energy is building
Nowhere to discharge
The first to get close
Will get the biggest shock from me
All my energy and attention
Will probably drain out of me
It will recharge again
Loneliness charges personal batteries
Until other people require energy
I am just a conduit
Focusing this attention where it needs to be
I feel nothing anyway
What charges my insides
Strangest feeling
Of being drained and charged
Simultaneously
I don’t own the power
It’s in me temporarily
Saving nothing for me
Who can be there for me
Perpetually

the things that find sound in the quiet.- Ra’ahe Khayat

Ari 2

we are used to finding closure
in the way the years
come closer to us,
on those drugged out nights
when all i can ever truly miss
is the taste of misery
on your fingertips.

i remember,
i used to pray for the single sound of silence
shattering in my voice box;
but it was far too quiet.
too quiet to hear your chest stutter
under my palms,
and too quiet to let go of the sound
of your footsteps that always
walked away.

sometimes,
the lack of a voice really does cage you
inside a room where nothing
ever fades away.

not even the loud incessant bangings of sorrow
on the fragile walls.


“I’m an autumn leaf, fluttering with loneliness on a naked branch.. where I observe the world, like a specter. It’s all fleeting moments, entwined with cold mornings fading into frosted evenings. Never still, yet never moving.”

I am Ra’ahe Khayat, and let me make you fall into the rabbit hole breathing in my mind at Fallen Alone

of that lie that never mattered- Ra’ahe Khayat

Ari 5

of all the things you could’ve lied about, you lied about the one thing that never would’ve changed with the truth- of how i could always be the one sleeping in your arms, but we both would still be spending our nights between the legs of loneliness; of how i could always be your lover, but we both would always be in love with the way our hearts beat alone in our chests, unconcerned with the rhythm of another; of how you always curl your hands around my neck, never knowing if you’re suffocating me or the solitude that hangs around me like a dress whose collar ends at the cliff of my chin- that you knot around your neck like a tie- too formal to ever be comfortable in, too familiar to ever to ever let go of.

of all the things you could’ve lied about, you lied about how deserted we both were holding hands that strained to get lost in a crowd full of unrecognizable strangers.


“I’m an autumn leaf, fluttering with loneliness on a naked branch.. where I observe the world, like a specter. It’s all fleeting moments, entwined with cold mornings fading into frosted evenings. Never still, yet never moving.”

I am Ra’ahe Khayat, and let me make you fall into the rabbit hole breathing in my mind at Fallen Alone

The Better Man- Kristiana Reed

The Better Man Kristiana Reed

She had convinced herself

there were better men to suit her

moth like temperament.

More appropriate for her vibrancy

and wit.

Over several days she had grown

weary

of the click of his belt buckle,

how his teeth tore rabidly

at his fingernail skin

and his tendency to belittle her

visions of the future.

Visions already planned and

produced, projected onto pale, dying

white walls.

She wished and wished.

Wished a switch into existence,

one which tripped the lights,

blew the bulbs –

plastic shattered shards

thrown into disarray,

and restarted her heart.

She was convinced there was a man

made for her fiery pits

and emotional debt.

Made to touch her

once,

twice

and soothe her woe.

Woe which spirals like a wind chime

in a hurricane;

she twists, contorts until paralyzed

beneath the bedsheets.

Heavy as lead,

left for several hours or days

in flux

where love is fleeting,

physical and animalistic.

She’s convincing him.

Body and soul

to hold her but keep her

in his sheets,

clothes,

collections

and thoughts.

To be absorbed in love,

in lust and sorrow.

To bare teeth

at the belly of the beast,

squint into the barrel of the gun

and smile.

Death

and it’s welcoming arms

only settles on lovers

like you and her,

it cannot consume

what has already been consumed.

She promised to savour you,

by her molars and cheeks.

She promised not to spit you

back into the storm.

The storm which brewed

the very beings who find themselves

locked as one

beneath the Milky Way.


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