There Is Strength in Our Stories: Red – Nikki Marrone

Sometimes I leave the blood on my skin,
To remember that red is not the colour of violence.
And that I am not a victim waiting to happen.
This space between my legs is not a crime scene.
Red is not a blood stained sidewalk,
It is not the cut of a prostitute’s gown,
Sometimes I leave the blood on my skin;
For the ones who have no choice,
To remember those who wear it like war paint,
And to support those who it wear it with shame.
This is no tear stained apology.
Nor a problem to be solved.
This is a not something to be taken lightly,
Nor a burden heavily carried.
Sometimes I leave the blood on my skin;
To remind myself that being a woman,
Isn’t something easily washed away.
To remind myself that being a woman,
Isn’t unclean.

Nikki Marrone is a poet, photographer, artist and traveller. When she’s not wandering around the world documenting her adventures, she splits her time between performing, running events and workshop leading. She is the winner of multiple Poetry Slams and has featured at various spoken word nights and festivals around the world.  Her work has taken her to some amazing places and she has been involved in some great projects.

There Is Strength in Our Stories: I have been broken many times before – Tianna G. Hansen

I am not fragile, but I have been
broken many times before. I have
shattered in a million pieces
yet still risen from
the debris, rubble pile of
disgrace and shame, silenced
to keep the truth from bubbling
out of my lips like acid, spat in faces
of my attackers, those who have instilled
this shame, my rapist who never saw the
truth, neglected tears streaming
down my face. neglected my
body, my soul, my self;
made me feel I am

Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life. She founded and is Editor-in-Chief of Rhythm & Bones Press, a small press focused on the idea of healing through writing. She believes there is always something beautiful to be found in the darkest moments. Her work has been published widely in many forms; find it at, follow her on Facebook @tiannaghansen / Twitter @tiannag92 / Instagram @tgghansen24. “Undone, Still Whole” is her debut collection.

There is Strength in Our Stories: Market Penetration – Tamara Fricke

Selling old wares
in a new bar
he saunters towards
a woman sitting alone.

She refuses to
acknowledge the approach
to his buddies he proclaims,
“She’s a dyke.”

Her lover returns
and takes her hand
as she kisses red satin.

Jack-of-all-trades, master of a few, Tamara resides in Springfield, MA with a rather ungrateful cat.

There Is Strength in Our Stories: Concealed – aj forrester

Dry grass taller than me, color of my naked skin,
waves in the wind,
slices like razors on my limbs
scarred from climbing the camphor trees

trembling, lying helpless
on a bed of dirt and mud,
briars peppering my ankles
sting, leaving tiny drops of blood
like no see ums

grass like bars of a cell
pinned down like a fish being scaled

I recall the Hotwheels
I had the Ford
you had the Porsche
little metal shapes flipping and crashing

Grass, still, drowns out my little voice.

Amanda J. Forrester received her MFA from the University of Tampa. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Azahares Spanish Language Literary Magazine, Pink Panther Magazine, Collective Unrest, Trailer Park Quarterly, and other anthologies and journals. Follow her @ajforrester75

Til It Happens to You – Lady Gaga

Incredibly powerful and potentially triggering.

“Till It Happens To You”
(from “The Hunting Ground” soundtrack)

You tell me it gets better, it gets better in time
You say I’ll pull myself together, pull it together, you’ll be fine
Tell me, what the hell do you know? What do you know?
Tell me how the hell could you know? How could you know?

Till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels, how it feels
Till it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real
No, it won’t be real, won’t know how it feels

You tell me hold your head up, hold your head up and be strong
‘Cause when you fall you gotta get up, you gotta get up and move on
Tell me how the hell could you talk, how could you talk?
‘Cause until you walk where I walk, this is no joke

Till it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels, how it feels
Till it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real
(how could you know?)
No it won’t be real
(how could you know?)
Won’t know how I feel

Till your world burns and crashes
Till you’re at the end, the end of your rope
Till you’re standing in my shoes
I don’t wanna hear a thing from you, from you, from you
‘Cause you don’t know

Till it happens to you, you don’t know how I feel, how I feel
How I feel
Till it happens to you, you won’t know, it won’t be real
(how could you know?)
No, it won’t be real
(how could you know?)
Won’t know how it feels

Till it happens to you
Happens to you
Happens to you
Happens to you
Happens to you
Happens to you
(how could you know?)
Till it happens to you
You won’t know how I feel


There Is Strength in Our Stories: You Stole Nothing – Taylor Warner

There’s a few things I’d like to know
As I seem to have missed something
Since when does opening your apartment door
Mean opening your legs?
Since when does comforting someone
Mean they can make themselves comfortable
Inside of you?
As if my body has a doormat that reads:
Permission to Enter
I want to know when my voice became nothing but noise
You can just muffle out with your own moans
When did I lose the property rights
To my own body?
You know, I’ve told myself so many lies
And I’ve drank myself blind
To the point that I questioned if this happened at all
Because my heart was trying to make excuses for you
Convincing me it was my fault, to shake it off and move on
But nothing is more real than remembering how it feels
To be treated like you are a mere body
Like your heartbeat doesn’t exist at all
And I know you think you stole something from me that dark evening
But let me tell you with one million percent certainty
You turned woman into warrior
You made me smarter and love harder
You may have broken my spirit
You may have ripped more than my clothes
But you lost this war
Because my soul is still whole.

You stole nothing at all.

Taylor was born a Texan but now roams the world writing her truths and finding peace in the small things. Taylor began writing poetry at the early age of 8 and her words have been the one constant in her life through everything. Taylor writes her truths. The raw, the beautiful, the obscene. She hopes to heal others through her stories as she heals herself. You can find more of her @commasandcuriosity.

There Is Strength in Our Stories: Crushed Petals – Kelly Glover

Women are silent flowers
Prettiest when quiet
We do not wilt
When they crush our petals
Strip our leaves

Our divine feminine roots
Remain and regenerate
Exquisite thorns sharpen

We are walking targets
With bullseye breasts
Shot with shame
From the moment of fertility

The blood of life
Natural as breath
Yet taboo table talk

Be a beauty, wear lipstick
Just not that particular shade
Of sunburnt whore

Look nice, paint your nails
But not the same dark red
That will stain his sheets
When he’s had his way with you

Why don’t we report our rapes
Our assaults
Our complaints
Flowers don’t speak
When bees steal their pollen

As the last blooms are spent
A new season buds
We are flooded
Drowning in courage and confidence

Flowers look best in a bouquet
The more we gather
The more beautiful we become
Holding up each other
By our weakest branches

The blooms are getting louder
As the shame falls away
The roses have found their voices
Briars surround all our choices

Kelly Glover is a single mother of three living in her hometown of Greensboro, NC. Her poetry and prose deal with the darker aspects of life that everyone goes through, but few are willing to talk about. Her first book of poetry, “The Light of My Dark” is available on Amazon. Kelly’s work can also be found in various online literary journals and anthologies.