Do You Even Know What You’re Worth? – Marvlyn Vincent

You’re here,

You were placed on this earth,

Yes I admit,

Sometimes,

Being here hurts,

Life can be rough

Existence means pain,

Instead of the sunshine,

We’re showered by rain,

We’re losing our minds,

We’re going insane,

But what if we choose to acknowledge our pain,

Embrace our circumstances,

Bathe in the rain,

Somehow,

That simple truth, could lessen that pain,

We learn to do that,

Over and over,

Again and again,

Now the tides are turning,

Our minds slowing

We’re no longer running,

Wait,

Hold up,

I feel something,

Is it appreciation?

Or self deprecation?

Oh wait,

No,

Play that feeling again,

Just a little,

no ……we want more,

For what we’re feeling,

We must be sure,

Our minds are twisted,

Confidence depleted,

We must dig deep,

Reach in,

Pull ourselves together,

For we are so much more,

Than our brother’s keeper,

You can’t measure our worth

Cause we’re priceless,

And We’ll hold on to  that belief,

From now on regardless.

Marvlyn Vincent was born and raised in the Caribbean. She migrated to the United States more than a decade ago, not just in search of a better life, but also to literally save her life. As a child Marvlyn started writing poetry as an escape from the horrors of her reality, but also as an outlet for her pain. This was her way of sharing the things that she could not speak about. Today she still write about her past experiences, however, she’s also developed her writing to include the resolution that has gotten her through the hard times. Marvlyn runs the Harmony Place helping people with trauma and PTSD.

Silent Forest – by Rachael Ikins

Prelude:
I’ve had the rending grief,
chopped-off hair, bloody scratches.
Nausea, insomnia. Yes.
I have visited that forest.
This one is silent.

1.
Grief is a young woman on her horse. Shadowing me through trees. No matter how fast I snap my head around, I cannot see her.

Yoked to Summer, garden weeds, pests, harvest, I plod through July.
Huzzah each blossom—bud to husk. My heart isn’t in it.
I flinch beneath sun’s
relentless brilliance.

I want Autumn, leaf piles to hush highway’s yawn as it stretches and pops, Monday mornings.
Leave me alone
in the woods
to listen for those muffled hoofbeats.

I want cold and snow, a trail to follow early evenings.
When I can sneak out of the house, into birdless quiet.

Snow, so I can find those footprints,
See her profile, shout some soundless plea. “Go away!”
See

her turn her head.
She says, “I haven’t
forgotten you.”

2.
My kettle screams,
the dogs bark at squirrels.
Rush-hour streams the highway. Grief is a shadow,
a girl, her horse,
following
me.

Copyright Rachael Ikins. 2019. Read more by Rachael here

Rachael Ikins is a powerhouse of creativity as well as Associate Editor at Clare Songbirds Publishing House in Auburn NY https://www.claresongbirdspub.com/shop/featured-authors/rachael-ikins/2018 Ikins is an Independent Book Award winner (poetry), 2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee, 2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee

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This girl is all I am – Candice Louisa Daquin

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There is a secret at the back of my throat

a black tulip

that won’t swallow

the ash of memories

I was you see, a girl of damage and plums

you could see the embers beneath my eyes

like eighties makeup and Adam Ant

I was no prince charming

but the girl who played the piano with her eyes shut

because she could not read music

nor find her way to release

I see photos of girls who could have been me

with fresh skin and dimples

they can join groups and do things in harmony

smile for the camera, bow for the priest

whilst I shunned the age of innocence

or it devoured me

spitting out my infernal seeds

to scatter beyond my picking

how to climb mountains with minions

take a picture?

or smile in the collective conscience

when the stamp is already affixed

blood drawn

waiting for its testing

I can already tell you

it will be infected

with the grief that stayed and did not go

so when you ask me

why don’t you have photos of when you were younger?

why don’t you feature in group shots?

how come you don’t possess family and friends in abundance?

or even handfuls

I point wordlessly

to a girl in the past

licking darkness from her fingers

I say without a tongue

this is who she becomes

this girl is all I am

if it is not enough for you I understand

if you need someone who will radiate and take you

mountaineering and socializing

do not choose her

she has only the will of this moment

she is not a joiner not one of the crowd

but if you let her

precisely because of this

she will be everything

Seize the female – Candice Louisa Daquin

You’re just a little thing, a flim flam thing

something of no consequence if you choose to see it that way

and if you do, you’ll walk into rooms, drooping head, sagging shoulders

nobody will even see

that’s the gait of defeat baby and it’s yours for the taking

as nobody, I mean nobody, wants to inherit that dried up mantle

so tell yourself you’re not going to be a cliché

the girl with no self-esteem

who picks herself apart the way some will eat paper and others scabs

even if it’s true you didn’t have the calcium back then

you’re here now and you’re among the fray

nobody likes a debbie downer

remember the girl you were at ten

who wore a smart ass comment any time someone

tried to knock them to the floor?

she was a bad ass warrior and you can be too

it’s in there somewhere, lost among the ‘what if’s’ and other fears

so you don’t like what you see in the mirror and you think that gives you

special privileges to hate yourself?

many women wear their scars, many women do not possess the art

of beauty and despite this they apologize for nothing

and pursue what they want with single-mindedness

you were brought up to think the only power you had was a pair of long legs

and big eyes but they’ll only get you so far

the rest comes from a place that isn’t written down

it’s the seat of the female and all her power

that’s why we lose ourselves in plastic moments and forget

the real allure isn’t a small waist it’s a large brain

conquer your self loathing and come out of your shell

whether you’re whole or incomplete nobody can tell

give yourself over to the riot of it all

you only live once make it count

chase the dream

chase the girl

damn them all

Disciple of love – Candice Daquin

When I met you, I had no tears

When you left me, I had too many

They didn’t stop

Though all the experts

On saline tear production

Proclaimed they would

Miss Daquin do not fear, they said

You will simply dry up, just wait

For a hot flash

Or a cold night

I told them

I have both

As for the cold night

That is now etched in ivy crept stone

Who thought before middle age

I’d be an old maid searching shelves for other parts of thrown-away women?

With no touch, no kiss, no arms wrapped around this

Hurt and lonely soul of water and menses

Snap out of it, my dance teacher said

You can

Have sex with cigarette smoking strangers

Learn self emulation

Or eat hot chili sauce with three layers of lipstick

And if you dance as gracefully as you talk

Well … Whose to stop the admirers?

She

Was a bird-like creature

Who would be tap dancing at ninety

But I

Was a disciple of love

And so the idea of swapping bodily fluids

With a thin-lipped voodoo stranger

Found on matchmaker site

Or a familiar face

Sitting by me in coffee shop sharing saucer as ashtray

Or lonely friend

Turning acquaintance to waxy want

Did not appeal

I had no more desire than if

I were asked to receive a house guest

Who didn’t wash

I was already

In my mouth of youth

An island of one woman

Yes I said

How did you know I am smarting? Convulsing?

Even I wasn’t aware

Except afterward thinking

When the school playground tasted of coal

And red fences were unchallenged

The way other children were already sulphur and minerals

How I seemed to be

Strange and boneless in comparison

Considering that great gendered emptiness

Swallowed in partial payment for not fitting jelly mould

I’ll take the rest of you, when you succumb

Did I mention I was a disciple of love?

And you, my ruination, supplied exact temperature

In everything you didn’t know you did

Filling the yelling bones of my chest

How could I have let you?

When I knew you were bred on cruel

Because cruelty I was used to

It seemed a still, varnished, normal

I trusted it more

Than kindness which would be snatched

Away like a lacquer fan

Broken into its false pieces

Only to take another form and try again

I think of those times

They are thicker than my fidgeting blood

All the answers were there

Blatant and dripping

And still I walked into you

Still I walked into you

Still I walked into you

She was a bird – Kristiana Reed

She was a bird

In a few years time

I hope we’ll see each other again.

We’ll be in different clothes

with difference faces and partners

who aren’t you or I.

I will smile because

I’ve always been gracious

and I’ve been waiting for this.

You’ll smile too

but it will be weaker, pained,

stretched like papier-mache.

And I hope when your new wife asks

what happened between us,

you’ll say:

 

‘She was a bird

and I was a cage

of black bars rattling

with rage,

never unlocked

yet with the power to pluck

each feather from her wings.

She had always deserved to fly,

you could see it in her eyes;

small, beady and watchful

but if she ever stepped too close

to the edge

I would give her a mouthful,

of steel, rust and dust.

I wasn’t good enough

so I forced her to believe

it was her;

her fire, her salt,

her brimstone, her faults

and her wings.

Those wings which refused to cease

and continued to beat

against the bars of my chest,

the crook of my arm

the back of my head.

She left me,

not because she outgrew me

but because she never belonged

in a cage in the first place.’

 

You won’t say anything more

because on cue

my shoulder blades will part

for my wings to unfurl.

They are fuller, they glimmer

more than when you saw them last.

They are iridescent;

bewitching in moonlight,

spellbinding in sunshine

and they are mine, all mine;

the bird who was finally freed

to fly.

 


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