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.

Sappho – Kristiana Reed

Sappho

You are painted with man’s desire

and God’s abhorrence of female lust.

You are lesbian, you are goddess,

you are teacher, anything other

than woman.

With a voice as tall as Homer’s,

as fiery as the flame

nurtured by Hestia.

In every fragment

we sketched your breasts,

imagined how you’d lick your lips

and squeeze your thighs together.

We never heard what you had to say,

to Aphrodite nor that maid,

but bought front row seats

to what we sought to portray –

sex and sensuality,

morals and lost virginity.

With your words in our mouths

we endeavoured to set you free.

For thousands of years

we have misunderstood our task,

is just to listen to you speak.


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

Image: pinterest

Pandora – Kristiana Reed

pandora-tadema

I am Pandora’s jar; unbreakable at first glance but I glimmer in the sun in a way which invites people in. My lid is screwed tightly shut. Many hands still come and search for a way in, for a doorway into the hallways of my person. Only two have ever been successful; confronting me with curiosity I couldn’t refuse. Their hands traced my edges, my bottleneck curves and their lips caressed sealed pathways to my dark madness; hearing the frantic buzz of tied up wings. All at once I poured my heart from the lip of the jar. I released glass cracking sobs of misery to plague their ears – the whole of humanity in the bed we shared. I became soft, malleable to their touch. In love as the locust swarm of heartache and hurt breathed free from my body, frantic wings lifted upon air.

I am Pandora’s jar and in me Hope remained. She lived in the house you both built inside my chest. The walls were thin so she listened to the palpitations of an anxious heart; stripped bare of the anger which kept it warm. Once I harboured my past and my insecurities and I believed I knew pain. But Hope, she rattled her cage and bruised my ribs. The bricks of her house fell apart at the touch of a promise and littered my air ways with dust. This was heartbreak. I was no longer counting nefarious winged miseries but how many times I wished I could make this right, how many times I wished to close the growing distance between us, how many times I brushed my hair in the off chance you’d come, how many times I ran to the window believing the footsteps below, were yours. Hopelessly in love is not a phrase I know.

I am Pandora’s jar after it has been opened; the salty taste of hope on my lips.

 

Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tandema (1881)

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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