Vulnerable

June 19, 2018

My virginity was stolen from me at the age of fifteen
No longer innocent, just impure and unclean
A few years later, thinking I was in love
I fell easily into him, believing he was the one
Giving him all of me, all the little pieces
Opening up and sharing all my secrets
But I was abandoned once again
Leaving me more broken in the end
Countless nights trying to drink the pain away
What’s wrong with me? No one seems to stay
No future anymore, no goals or happy life plans
Just being used and so many one night stands
Vulnerable to anyone who shows me any interest
I please them and then they make themselves so distant
Every night I know I’m being used and then forgotten
But I keep failing myself, falling for lies then feeling rotten
I’m trapped in my past and the ship continues to sail
I want to land on the ground and break free, but all my efforts fail
But still I refuse to give up shining hope
I’m choosing to leave my past and escape this sorrowful slope
This story is one I used to fear to share
But my past no longer defines me for one day it will end a fairytale

Morgyn Harris

crept into morning

June 17, 2018

sometimes when the night has crept into morning and I am hungry for poetry I tiptoe through your words, I devour each syllable, let each letter melt on my tongue

Kalypso

When I Was Straight

June 16, 2018

I did not love women as I do now.
I loved them with my eyes closed, my back turned.
I loved them silent, & startled, & shy.

The world was a dreamless slumber party,
sleeping bags like straitjackets spread out on
the living room floor, my face pressed into a

slender pillow.

All night I woke to rain on the strangers’ windows.
No one remembered to leave a light on in the hall.
Someone’s father seemed always to be shaving.

When I stood up, I tried to tiptoe
around the sleeping bodies, their long hair
speckled with confetti, their faces blanched by the

porch-light moon.

I never knew exactly where the bathroom was.
I tried to wake the host girl to ask her, but she was
only one adrift in that sea of bodies. I was ashamed

to say they all looked the same to me, beautiful &
untouchable as stars. It would be years before
I learned to find anyone in the sumptuous,

terrifying dark.

Julie Marie Wade

 

Blush me a humble hydrangea
shade of pink. Your lilypad heart
lapping. How the skirts of trust
rustle, edge my waist in hungry
red welts. What can we find
to sacrifice to the goddess who
severed her tongue so that humans
could harvest this art of dance,
even as it damages the high
marrow of their hip bones?
I want our bodies to be difficult
to explain: like the shape smoke
takes, its slow ghostly groping.
Or like a lapse of memory —
scent of eucalyptus after rain.

Emily Paige Wilson

time always ends

May 26, 2018

cat and bird

Frighten me? Yes you do frighten me. You act as though we will be together for ever. You act as though there is infinite pleasure and time without end. How can I know that? My experience has been that time always ends. In theory you are right, the quantum physicists are right, the romantics and the religious are right. Time without end. In practice we both wear a watch. If I rush at this relationship it’s because I fear for it. I fear you have a door I cannot see and that any minute now the door will open and you’ll be gone. Then what? Then what as I bang the walls like the Inquisition searching for a saint? Where will I find the secret passage? For me it’ll just be the same four walls.

Jeanette Winterson
Written on the body

Blessing the Boats

May 22, 2018

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear

may you kiss
the wind then turn from it

certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

Lucille Clifton

For women who are tied to the moon, love alone is not enough. We insist each day wrap its knuckles through our heart strings and pull. The lows. The joy. The poetry. We dance at the edge of a cliff, you have fallen off. So it goes. You will climb up again.

You rare girl, once again, you have a body that belongs to no lover, to no father, belongs to no one but you. Wear your sorrow like the lines on your palm. Like a shawl to keep you warm at night. Don’t mourn the love that is lost to you now. It is a book of poems whose meters worked their way into your pulse. Even if it has slipped from your hands, it will stay in your body.

You loved a man who treated you like absinthe, half poison and half god. He tried to sweeten you, to water you down. So you left. And now you have your heart all to yourself again. A heart like a stone cottage. Heart like a lover’s diary. Hope like an ocean.

Clementine von Radics

kiss me again

May 17, 2018

I don’t just want to take your breath away. I want to rip it from your mouth and keep it locked away between my teeth. You can only have it back if you kiss me again

Meggie Royer
Literary Sexts

a tale for men

May 15, 2018

Andreas Lie

This is the tale of a quest. It is a tale for men – there is also a tale for women, but I am not the one to tell that tale. Women who come across this tale may ignore it or observe it, help or hinder the hero as they please.

It is a tale that may happen to you, as it has happened in its various ways to many men before you and will happen to many after you. It begins when you have a dream – or rather, a vision, for it is more real than any dream. You see a maiden in a castle surrounded by a barrier of thorns, a maiden who has been asleep for centuries. You learn that the spell which has imprisoned her was cast many generations ago by one of your forefathers. You resolve to find that castle and awaken the maiden, for you realise that she will not be freed unless you attempt that task, and that you must start at once else you will be too late.

And so you set out. Many are the perils that men have encountered on such a journey, and many are the miracles, too. Perhaps you have to cross a trackless desert, or climb a mountain of glass. How have you treated those you met, whether stronger or weaker than you? Have you shared your food, have you treated the animals you met as beings with their own knowledge which is not yours? Perhaps you have helped others because it is in your nature – perhaps it is not in your nature, but you have nonetheless done so because you know it is right. Which of these two is more pleasing I do not know – some say only the first will do, the other being no more than doing what one has learned is useful – others claim there is no credit in what comes naturally, and that choosing to do what is difficult must be what counts.

You have faced many perils, perils which have destroyed some and led others to retreat home. You have passed through them with the aid of those you have helped, perhaps not even being aware that the perils were there. You have come by grace – or by luck, which some say is just another word for grace – to the edge of the lands surrounding the castle.

Here you find the way to the castle is barred by an immense growth of brambles and thorn-bushes. Perhaps you expected that a way would open up before you, as you are the destined saviour of the maiden. If so, you are disappointed. If you push forward boldly, hacking at all the thorns with your sword or axe it will soon be blunted (and if, being a modern man, you chose a flame-thrower or such-like to destroy the thorns, you will find its power has died before you have got far). If you search closely, you will see the remains of a path, and notice that the bushes are less thick near it. As you follow the path it twists and turns, perhaps going backwards for a while, at times you have to stoop or even crawl, and sometimes you have to clear away some of the bushes where they are too thick to make progress, though usually you accept those scratches you receive. And at last, tired and scratched, you arrive at the clear ground in front of the castle.

You enter the castle, and make your way to the room where the maiden lies sleeping. Remembering old stories, you kiss her in the hope that the kiss will bring her back to life. Great is your joy as she wakes up and stands to greet you. But your joy turns to terror, for she has been asleep for centuries and now she is awake those centuries show on her – with each second she seems a year older until you are facing a woman older than you thought was possible.

What do you do now? This is your tale, and I cannot answer that for you. But I can tell you what happened to others. Many, in their terror, rushed away from the castle, pushed their way through the thorns heedless of the deep scratches, and returned to the ordinary world. There some shut out their terror by denying that they ever made such a journey, while others bitterly regretted their faint-heartedness and spent much of their lives searching for a way back. I do not know if any of those ever found their way back; many of them spent so much time searching that the rest of life made no impression on them.

If you are one of those who remained, you will see that the woman is not only older than you thought possible, but also wiser than you thought possible and more fearsome than you thought possible. As she looks at you it seems to you that she is weighing up every action you have ever taken, every thought you have ever had, and will deliver her judgement. It may be that now is the time you choose to run away.

Or perhaps you realise that, though it was a maiden you came in search of, this woman, frightening as she seems, is still the one you sought. If you see this and remain, she changes yet again. Neither a maiden nor an aged woman, she becomes now a woman of your own age, full of strength and majesty and love. Many have reached the maiden, and few of those remained to face the old woman. Few even of those can face her now, and it may be now that you run away. For what she demands of you is nothing less than strength, majesty and love to equal her own, a thing you find harder even than facing the judgement of the old woman.

If you remain and reach out your hand to her, she takes it. Together you leave the castle of vision to live together in the world outside.

“And the story ends,” I hear you say thankfully “as all good stories should with the words ‘And they lived happily ever after.’ ” Of course not! This is not a story told to pass the time when the TV is broken it is a tale of reality. The best I can promise you is that if you have succeeded in coming this far then you will live fully until your death, experiencing the joyousness of your joys, the sadness of your sorrows, the wrath of your angers, the pain of your hurts, and that you will never lose (though you may need to forget for a while) the knowledge of the world’s waking beauty.

Daniel Cohen
Sleeping Beauty

still as a scar through the screen’s glow : perhaps this is the origin
of my obsession with the colour white : searching to name this shade
colour like bitten bed sheets : colour like a failed dove : or split lip

when red has ceased howling its way to the surface : perhaps the colour
of fog over the river bed that morning : or the colour of concrete
that bleach & blood leave behind : it hangs around her like the word

faggot in the air of the locked bedroom : like drying haemorrhage suspended
between skin & cotton : sideways on the bathroom floor : it hangs around
her like a name : that once belonged only to me : & i think maybe

most of all i am jealous : for any metaphor i can put to it : the dress
is still beautiful : pale & soft & pure : & isn’t this just like my poems?
dressing a violence in something pretty & telling it to dance?

torrin a greathouse