Preyed

 

Whispers penetrate flesh walls,
secrets resound like a melody
within the temple of mind.

A church choir of boys
sing Latin,
a tongue they never understood,
yet made beautiful in spite.

An angelic host of innocence,
perched in perfect rows;
perverse men licking dry lips
conduct harmony, as
chorus echoes in rounds
confined by marble stone
laid by hypocritical hands.

In time holy walls stand,
coffers full and overflowing
while souls remain empty.

Yet pride crumbles the benevolent,
corrupt tongues stumble awkwardly
over the dulled ivory teeth of time.

Stained glass fragments let in truth,
rays of light stream through darkness
reflecting a shattered faith sanctuary
built upon broken bones of man.

 

©Sabrina Escorcio
September 2017

Photo Credit, Sam Webber illustration for “the Priest That Preyed” – New York Times

 

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/Window and Walls

window and walls.jpg

The rubble lies before her,

prostrate and submissive,

chalky remains of her defences,

soft rock and twenty-year old bricks.

This was her fortress,

her safe place and prison,

over the years the lines had blurred,

no longer sure if these walls were built

to ward people off

or keep people in.

 

Now, she stood in a dust cloud,

crumbling air settling thickly

into every pore and in her lungs,

swaddling her in a blanket of vulnerability,

left naked as the centre of attention,

a yellow bulb lighting every flaw

she had smoothed over with the plaster

piled around her feet.

 

The question which usually went to voicemail

hung, immovable before her eyes;

Do we rebuild?

It came from voices of versions

of herself – stubborn and soft,

happy and cross,

warm and cold,

all with the same wish,

to rebuild and forget,

to shun regret

and cast humility to the wind.

 

In this chasm there is no wind,

the dust is stifling

as her mind moves to demolish

walls and barbed wire fences,

smash triple-glazed windows,

rose-tinted and clean,

to split open her chest

reach into her ribcage

and remove the throbbing organ

capable of feeling too much.

 

And yet,

she chose to rebuild;

but with memories of every crack,

splinter and cacophony caused

when it all collapsed.

Here, now stands a home

with honesty on the mantelpiece

and every window flung open.


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

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/To Blaze

To Blaze Kristiana Reed image

These women didn’t rescue voices

to watch you bow out

of this life and the next,

the weight of shame and scandal

sinking you to their knees

all bloodied and bruised.

 

These women didn’t raise hands,

two in subjugation

then balled fists in protest,

to read apologies

written in the faintest ink,

ghastly lit in camera flashes.

 

These women didn’t speak

then burn through

shattered rosy glasses,

to be painted over

as misshapen forms

smothered in misogyny.

 

These women didn’t march streets

paved by men

in debased gold,

to listen to your vitriol

and Viagra fuelled lies,

their bravery branded a weapon.

 

No.

 

These women were born into shivering hands

of mothers and fathers,

to blaze so brightly

the pigment in your glassy eyes

will vanish, before you stamp her

into the ground.

 

Into the earth which bore her forth.


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

Blood Into Ink #MeToo Writing Contest First Place: Kristiana Reed/Learning to Braid

Learning to Braid Kristiana image

Years of painstaking practice had taught her fingers to interweave three strands of hair, into one cohesive thread. Just like how she’d penciled birthdays into her mind. Just like how she’d learnt the knowing smile she needed to give your mother, an unspoken indictment of your forgetfulness when it came to saving a date. Just like how she knew every name you felt she needed to know, ready to say with lips pulled over the teeth you said she needed to show.

It took time to marry the strands; her hair was thin like silk and would often slip through her fingers. Or her arms grew tired, suspended behind her ears, biting her bottom lip trying to create perfection without a mirror. Just like how she patiently etched each facial expression of yours into her mind, only to read you wrong and pay in silence. Just like how she attempted to juggle the future you envisioned whilst walking on the tightrope of her ambition. Just like how she had begun to measure years, months, days and then hours of her life; living without a reflection.

Then there were the fly-aways. Wisps of unpredictability, spontaneity and reckless abandon furiously disobeying her sleight of hand. Whimsical kinks refusing to be held in one place or tied down amongst the rest; no matter how tight she pulled on the strands, no matter how many pins she buried deep into her hair. Just like her desire to spin out of orbit and taste oxygen with the excitement of never being able to again. Just like her attraction to his aftershave, his smile or his eyes. Just like her dream to free-fall into fear instead of tuck it in at night, along with time and money.

Years of practice dispersed at once. The band which held it all together, snapped. The red ribbon, the lifeblood, came undone. The cohesive thread she’d worn like a badge of honour fell loosely about her shoulders and jaw. Strands she had forgotten about fell in front of her eyes and tickled her collar; rising and falling with shallow breaths of insecurity and hope. She’d spent years growing her hair so it was long enough to braid. Yet now, as it tumbled down the length of her spine, it felt weightless. She, felt weightless.


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

#MeToo Writing Contest Second Place (tie): Varnika Jain/Retribution

retribution varnika vain

A squeak
A groan
A whimper
A whine.
As you took from me
All that was mine.
A blade
A cut
A drop
A scar.
Was what I was reduced to
A once bright, burning star.
A will
A strength
A stand
A heart
Gathered over time
To pull me back on my feet.

Hurt. Recovery.
Hope. Despair.
A never ending cycle
Of deep viciousness.
Pills. Needles.
Drinks. Dregs.
Efforts to obliterate
Memories from my consciousness.
You took.
Mistook.
My silence for submission.
Now pray.
And pay.
The price of retribution.

Featured Image


Varnika Jain is prone to having verbal epiphanies in the midst of all the cacophony surrounding her life.  She is a voracious reader, vociferous eater and a vehemently passionate writer. You can read more of her writing at Moonlighting Scrivener where you can find her changing the world, one word at a time.

#MeToo Writing Contest Second Place (tie): Varnika Jain/Why a Poet

Poet in me yet

There is hurt

In measures I’m yet to fathom.

There are pieces,

Broken,

Which I haven’t yet begun to gather.

There are tears,

Gaping,

Waiting to be stitched and mended.

There are wounds,

Oozing,

Bloodying numerous gauzes.

Despair, you say?

Run and hide?

I’m broken, you say?

What’s there to survive?

But, wait,

I think,

There’s a poet in me yet.


Varnika Jain is prone to having verbal epiphanies in the midst of all the cacophony surrounding her life.  She is a voracious reader, vociferous eater and a vehemently passionate writer. You can read more of her writing at Moonlighting Scrivener where you can find her changing the world, one word at a time.

#MeToo Writing Contest Third Place: Mr. Blog/The Weight of Memory is Fierce

Weight of Memory Melissa Orban

Repack your soul; return it to its birth

Before knowledge descended upon it.

 

Rebuild it by undoing.

 

Recreate innocence; before you were

Defiled and destroyed

Taken to pasture and slaughtered.

 

Slip into rooms once lived

Houses once haunted

Dust floorboards for the flesh of your youth.

 

Ghost the halls and retrace footfalls

Browse alternate corners

Of which you might have rounded

Leaving all unstained.

 

Re-rock fossilized cracks and fissures of

Bruises, broken skin, and splintered bones.

 

Unsmolder ashes, fire them whole again as

Gyroscoping smoke revisits lungs

Unburdening deoxygenated blood

Rebuilding your heart whole.

 

Again, a newborn

Perfectly patterned

Ebbing and flowing

Concentrically prepared for life.

 

Your own murmuration of starlings.

 

Photo credit: Walter Baxter


Mr. Blog sleeps in a bed, has a dog, loves the ocean, the #22, the color blue, and learning new things. She lives in the Midwest area of the United States. Currently working as a lifeguard at the local YMCA, she’s only saved the life of one child. The irony is, now she’s fighting to save her own because her body decided to create cancer cells instead of normal ones. Mr. Blog figures she’s saved herself from her own mind wanting to die twice so defeating some cancer cells that think they’re bad asses should be a piece of cake.

Mr. Blog’s writing can be found at Mr. Blog