Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Woman – Kindra M. Austin

Within my womb cells divide,
and fuse.
Brain grows. Heart grows.
Lungs grow.
Eyes, ears, mouth, and nerves
all form inside my sacred space.
Man is formed in womankind.
Are you not my child?
Did you not thrive
at my breast?

Ain’t I a woman?
Surely Jesus hears my woes.
Ain’t I a woman, daughter of Eve?
Jesus
wasn’t a white man with
bright blue eyes.
Ain’t I a woman, one of His flock?

Don’t dare tell me I am not Woman.

I am Woman.

I am Woman.

I am Woman.


Kindra M. Austin is an author, editor, and micro-publisher from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel was published in April, 2017. To date, Austin has published two poetry books (Constant Muses, and TWELVE, rated five stars by Readers’ Favorite), a novel (Magpie in August), and one novella (For You, Rowena). She is currently working on a second novel (Royce with the Rose Gold Hair) to be released in early 2020.

You can read more of her writing at KINDRA M. AUSTIN and MORBID CORVID

I Peel Paper – Kindra M. Austin

I peel paper,
yellow—
jaundice skin, is it mine?

I sit inside myself. I am a room
with a view,
but I peel paper to pass the time.
My bones make for odd furniture,
so I pace the floor and stare at faces
mutely creeping through my walls.
The space is violently silent,
and

I peel paper,
yellow.

The pong of falling off does
permeate
this prison.
Layer under layer I see,
and outside the window, others be.
I cannot go to them. And someone
wants free from the plaster,
and inside
my
room.

I keep peeling paper,
yellow.
Someday we’ll get out
together.


Kindra M. Austin is an author, editor, and micro-publisher from Chesaning, Michigan, USA. Her debut novel was published in April, 2017. To date, Austin has published two poetry books (Constant Muses, and TWELVE, rated five stars by Readers’ Favorite), a novel (Magpie in August), and one novella (For You, Rowena). She is currently working on a second novel (Royce with the Rose Gold Hair) to be released in early 2020.

You can read more of her writing at KINDRA M. AUSTIN and MORBID CORVID

Toni in the Room with the Yellow Wallpaper – Irma Do

Her voice bounced off the yellow wallpaper,
Reverberating with strength and wisdom,
Uplifting the mahogany tones
In the old-fashioned design.
She refused to allow the surround to distract her,
Refused to explain her powerful gift.
She rose above inert ideas
Owning her freed self.


Toni Morrison died this past Monday, leaving behind an unapologetic legacy of literature centering Black American lives. She spoke candidly about racism in America, calling its function a “distraction” (read more here).

In this quadrille for De Jackson at dVerse (Quadrille # 83 – Voice), I have imagined her in the setting of Charlotte Gilman’s novel, The Yellow Wallpaper, to fulfill Christine’s Brave and Reckless August Feminist Book Title Challenge.

For me, Toni Morrison embodied the ultimate goal and greatest achievement for any writer/poet – that is, to write stories/poems as your Authentic Self.

You can read more of my writing at I Do Run

Featured Post: Dear Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Yellow Wallpaper) – V.J. Knutson

I have examined your wallpaper,
discussed the scholarly attributes
of shades of yellow, traced the edges
of your unravelling with my mind,
argued the merits of Gothic horror;

marvelled at the brilliance of wording,
the courage to define the nature of
feminine madness, the boldness to
highlight inequalities long before the
establishment of a Person’s Act.

Forgive me, but I need to set aside
this keyboard for a moment, for I tire
easily, am suffering from an exhaustion
that is systemic and calls for elimination
of all stimulus in favour of rest, you see

I share your sentence of confinement,
isolated to a room with windows, my
mind wandering to ancestral gardens,
contemplating shadows and movement
cognizant of underlying forces, creeping.

My husband has just left, dear man, having
checked on me, taking on my burden,
concerned that I am not sleeping at night
thinks that by reading and rereading your
words I am only fueling an already over-

active imagination; begging me to be still
as the doctor has recommended; but I am
burning to tell you that time has no
relevance between us and that you and I
exist simultaneously – a secret we dare

not confess – how correct your impulse
that there was more than one woman,
that we are many, barred by the designs
of society, papered over by irrational,
outdated shades of yellow, lacking

symmetry, or sensibility, suffocating
our creativity, tortuously contorting
ourselves to been seen, accepted.
It is the smell of our discordant souls
that pervades your consciousness

the rotted withering of  a stifled
existence – a yellowed existence –
once hopeful, sunny, now molding
mucous, desperately torn away
at the edges, pleading for escape

How grateful I am that you see –
may I call you Charlotte – that you
have smelled the angst, witnessed
the struggle, are willing to tear at
the sticking places, to set us free.


You can read more of V.J.’s writing at One Woman’s Quest

Featured Post: The Yellow Wallpaper – Tamara Fricke

A butterfly trapped in your net,
again, unable to fathom such
a carefully laid cage, again,
still knowing, painfully and
again, that every wing beat
is a lifetime lost; stillness is
a guillotine again, because
your affection crawls slowly
through wallpaper, again
consuming tendons, blood,
and bone, again and I die
screaming in silence
again.


Tamara Fricke is the 2010 co-winner of the Gertrude Claytor Award of the Academy of American Poets and is previously published by The Lyon Review, Meat for Tea, Attack Bear Press Poetry Vending Machine, Whisper and the Roar, We Will Not Be Silenced, and has been included in a number of compilations.  Her poetry chapbook Our Requiem was released in 2014.  She lives in Springfield, MA, with an ungrateful cat, where she writes grants professionally.