Excerpt: A Room So Still and Quiet It Hurts: 1Wise-Woman

The anguish of aliveness

No one wins

Sterile, self-defeating

Shrouded in intense sensitivity

Silence, secrets, sadness, solitude

A welcomed stillness

Such sweet solace

The weight begins to lift

A final gift


There is a peace

In release

A freedom beyond

This relentless realm

A breakable bond

From devils and demons

Surface Dweller – 1Wise-Woman

Prison of promises
Delusions for the damned
Lies and betrayal
Death comes in intervals
Layer upon layer
Until all that is left are
Living dead
Shuffling round my head
Knocking at the door
Needing more
Offering less
Say you will save me
Whispering I love you
Behind my back
Fingers crossed
Soul stealer
Contradictions collect
In cranial crevices
Where absurdity blurs
Redundant reality
Devil keeps me company
Tap tap tapping claws
On protruding spine
Reciting rhymes
Psalms of sacrifice
Fracturing fault lines
Interrupting time
Minutia mocks me
Days become weeks
Become months
Become hell on earth
Dusted eyes
Search ashen skies
Stifling cries
Regurgitated hope
Assures every ending
Begets a new beginning
Rueful rebirth
I’m waiting
Gunpowder on my breath
Surface dwellers
Feign faith
While I die my last death

[1Wise-Woman: “I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave.]

‘Nevertheless, She Persisted’: A Shield Maiden Collaboration


Her words, her will, her worth
Trampled and trodden
But for her
Flickering light
Fueled by ferocity
Molded with might
Courage compiled
Resilience reconciled
Wolves wryly grin
Circling again
Nevertheless, she persisted


Christine Ray

She was told little girls
should be seen, not heard
but silence was suffocating
truth twisted in her stomach
razor sharp
when her voice finally rose
from a whisper
to a roar
they tried to drown her out
their indignation a cacophony
Nevertheless, she persisted


Aurora Phoenix

her initial protestations
propelled by burning bile
bubbling pique
in a voice squeaky
with disuse
were dubbed whining
she scrubbed corrosion
from rusted tongue
flexed, strengthening
articulate exclamation
they proclaimed her
nevertheless, she persisted


Kindra M. Austin

Disregard your heart, they said
Faith is for the fools
Chasing gold; bold are the weak
Dream seekers
Dreams don’t raise children
Nevertheless, she persisted


Sarah Doughty

Silence was her solace,
the stillness of the night,
the calm before the storm.
Her voice, long since stifled.
Her body, long since defiled.
But they never broke her spirit.
Nevertheless, she persisted.


[‘Shield Maiden‘ is the name adopted by these wonderful women, who are also members of Blood Into Ink Click their names for more information on the individual writers.]

‘Recombinant Selves’ – A Collaborative of 11 writers

We inherit

The wordless cry

Of all our former

Selves (CER)


They layer themselves

upon us

ragged cloaks

of the homeless


at our heels (AP)


Dusk takes one last breath

Swallowing golden specks of us

Scattered among the detritus

No light reflects

From such depths

We are the chosen (1W-W)


We stumble against starless darkness

searching for one truth (KMA)


Layer by layer, I am revealed.

The reflection looking back at me

isn’t one I recognize.

Will there be anything

worth remembering,

when I’m gone? (SD)


Fragmented remnants

permeate our evolution

ill-fated to dissonance

a dichotomy of our

recombinant selves (AGD)


Searching for a candle in the abyss,

A hope to hold onto,

To chalk sweaty palms

Gripping a frayed rope.

tearing tender flesh,

Climbing toward salvation (JWL)


But the stars have fallen, smashed diamonds

of our shattered images, and the lost cry

who am I? In tune with our hearts.(A)


Through telescopes

we focus on a point

All else is irrelevant

From the bottom of a well

our vision is limited

All else is a mystery (WC)


The mysterious property

of my ancestors

the progeny of dusk

I am prodigy or effigy

What I ought to be

or another misstep in

my fragile history (OP)


Our former





inheritance! (SFF)




A.G. Diedericks


Kindra M. Austin

Ward Clever

Sarah Doughty

Stephen F. Fuller

John W. Leys

Aurora Phoenix

Olde Punk

Christine E. Ray

Shiny Things – 1Wise-Woman

Untied and unraveled

Grab hold of a golden thread

Scared scavenger

Ruptured revenger

Look what you’ve done

You just can’t have nice things

Pick up the pieces

Of crystal hope

And amethyst words

Woven into ruby rope

Twisted around your neck

Wrung and hung

Out to dry

Distorted and deadly

Burning throat

Sporadic heart beat

Flailing to get your feet

Back on solid ground

Due penance

For ornamental existence

Old bones get weak

Bend and break

Under the weight of hate

Burden of your broken body

Baby bird tossed from the nest

Just like all the rest

Feather bed

Skeleton head

Feeding off the dead

Rip away the drip

Seeping into my bloodstream

Coagulated dream

Unexpectedness of living

Coming out of nowhere

Opacity and silence

Fill empty spaces

Everything changes

A thousand miles away

Smiling over my shoulder

A breeze rustles the leaves

As I tuck a feather

In my shiny tiara


[1Wise-Woman: “I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave.]

Introducing 1Wise-Woman – ‘Purge’

Every moment is a little bit of forever
Futile when you are perpetually
Deprived of pleasure
Like a slap in the face
Such a beautiful glow
Ebb and flow
Stay or go
Hammer and nail
Reach for the top shelf
My invitation got lost in the mail
Feelings aren’t allowed
Small crowd
Mailbox mafia
Hurt and relieved
Dodged a bullet
Down in the dumps
Upward mobility
Forget about emotional fragility
You just can’t help it
Back stabbed and brain washed
Dressed in your finest
Special and spineless
Released your inner troll
Narcissistic mind melt
Emotions never felt
Sadists don’t know when to stop
Use me like a damaged prop
Ripe with manipulation
Vigilant about the deadly nature of desire
It’s a raging wildfire
Sky high anxiety
Rock bottom depression
Misplaced somewhere in between
Yet to be seen

You are a runaway train with nothing to gain, inflicting pain and placing blame, what a shame. Calling everyone else insane, why can’t you say my name? Are you afraid I’ll get all the fame and you will never be able to tame my insatiable hunger to unchain from your radioactive restrain?

Story basher without a name
Dressed in guru garb
Feigned ferocity and faith
Cross the line
Tell you I’m fine
Deal breaker
Toy with god’s creations
Depraved recreation
Crumpled paper says it all
Lifeless on the floor
Screaming truth
As you walk out the door
Original copy
Conditional cult
Go ahead and drink your wine
It doesn’t stop time
Dig me out
Of this static state
I won’t take the bait
Breathing in
Bleeding out
Get off the ledge
Fake people
Fake life
Fake news

Find me submerged
In chartreuse
Sated by a honey dripping sunset
Forever in the moment
Silently sublime


[1Wise-Woman: “I am living, fighting, and thriving with mental illness and chronic disease and a need to express myself. Writing eases some of the weight I carry.” When she isn’t yanking shadowy strands of leathery clumps of unconscious, and tenderly placing them into word documents, she is creating at A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave.]





The Weyward Sisters: Back to Black/ Collaborative Amy Winehouse Tribute

Rana Kelly/2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

Oh, Amy

Whenever I go walking

In my stilettos,

I hear you talking.

Dream me up a way

Of swishing my hips

And pursing my lips

And singing your riffs

So that I find beauty

Like you.

lois e. linkens

she puts her black dress on
in the dark,
anxious nails red and messy
in their early-morning artistry.
he left the candle burning
in the winter window –
vanilla and cinnamon
on a Sunday evening,
tears and vodka
on a Monday morning.
last week’s relief
into tonight’s regrets,
but the shadowy smear
on the glass
is all that is left of him.

Aakriti Kuntal/Writings of Aakriti Kuntal

Rummaging through

black air,

nauseous red nails bearing oily seas


existence with conversations,


with glittering nail cutters,

cracked moons

laughing hysterically in them


of fallen boyfriends, of fallen love

Fallen being

the new being

Aurora Phoenix/Insight From Inside

She scrawls lines

up the back of her fishnet stockings

wiggly-lined intoxicated rebellion

strutting down memory lane

flirting shamelessly with self-destruction

as if, in seductive self-abasement

she may reclaim

love from a wayward lover

and from self

Kindra M. Austin

Kohl black kitty cat


Lines stiletto sharp

Tongue dipped in honey

Wine(house), oh, Amy

Slay me

Rachel Finch/Bruised But Not Broken

Night chimes, a ringing to remind her,

She can sleep the day away, but the dark

still draws the Soul from the body.

Stars reflecting off bottles, empty, their

contents alive in her throat.

She is midnight, waking the world.

Sarah Doughty/Heartstring Eulogies

I remember how you carried your beauty like body armor, letting the world see a smoke screen, that many didn’t notice. I remember seeing the sadness beneath those wings on your eyes, the way your mouth curled into a devilish smile. I remember seeing your hair down, with those curls that lasted for miles, and how much I wanted just a tiny piece of your beauty. Your essence. Even a little piece of your ability to hold the world in bated breath. I remember your courage to stand in front of a million people and hold them under your spell. But what I remember the most is how you wore your heart on the outside and how pieces of it were broken away and lost over time, exposing you. Like a nerve within a broken tooth, you tried to insulate, but nothing could fix what you’d already lost.

1WiseWoman/A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave

Hiding in plain sight

Black song bird

Aching to be heard

Darker than the darkest shadows

Praying sacrificial hymns

Will carry away your demons

Hungry hearts rapture in melody

Enchanted with your euphony

An intentional symphony

Desperate on bended knee

Longing to be set free

Blood and wine

Cherry lipstick stains

Broken bottles

Crooked lines

Sing for us

One last time

Zelda Raville/A Sea of Illusions

Our biggest tragedy
was that
our love,
no matter
how much
there was of it
could never
draw you out
from a fatal attraction
to the depths
of your ferocious hunger
for love itself.

Christine Ray/Brave and Reckless

You shot across our heavens

a piercing silver whiskey light

your pain-soaked voice

etching a pin-up girl tattoo on our souls

We died a hundred times with you

Donning our mourning colors

we are left to only say goodbye with words

as your heartbreaking beauty

fades into black