Excerpt from Superstition- Women and Horses/Rana Kelly

trembling skin.
come on to me,
slow slow slow,
and know.
wild-eyed and rolling, ready to bolt.
shattered, heaving sides.
shiver, shiver, shake
down your spine.
frozen, still ready to shake loose and hurt me
just in case.
because you know.
run my hand down quaking flanks,
speckled sweat, kiss your face, stroke your lips
storms and lightning in your eyes.
you know the sting and slash of whip-
boot heel, knee, fist.
whatever he had round at the time.
i feel it too, i felt it too.
sweet sweet girl.
with deep and shuttered eyes.
it’s the tight line of your spine when i reach for you,
and you lean and slide, reel and wheel, away.
gather up your strength little girl.
gather up your wind, show it to me.
silent now, lower your face to me.
lower your face to me.
breathe deep, don’t let him see you frighten,
don’t let him see your fear.
low low low, i blow on your skin,
touch the velvet under your eyes.
rim my finger on the seam of your ear.
hh shh shh. it’s all right.
lower your face to me.
ease down your eyes,
drift them down slowly.
lean to me, give me some weight.
i know the look of you-
coiled and strung
like hanging meat.
hooks and things-
until you break
until you break.
i know you.what i was.who knows us.
who knows what men can do
but women and horses.

Superstition is available from Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe, Book Depository, and other major book retailers.

Paperback, 89 pages/Published August 5th  2017 by Sudden Denouement Publishing


Rana Kelly was born and raised in the Deep South, and now resides in the Southwest.  Her poetry, personal essays, short fiction, and photography has been published in anthologies and literary magazines far and wide over the years, from Caesura to featherproof press, FM to Ceremony Collected. Her first novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, was published in 2015. She’s currently writing her second novel.

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Composition of a Woman by Christine E. Ray

Poet Christine Ray’s first printed collection of poetry, Composition of a Woman (Sudden Denouement Press, 2018) is a striking, fearless foray into the psyche of womanhood, both highly relatable and intensely personal for female readers and achingly candid and fascinating for male.

Ray has already struck her mark as a writer of substance with her blog, Brave & Reckless and her involvement in the literary collective Sudden Denouement, but the bringing together of a cherished portion of her work on the subject of the feminine experience, is a special treat, enabling us to appreciate her breadth of understanding and the humor and tragedy behind the female.

From the very first poem, in her trademark fashion, Ray describes modern womanhood thus; “there is an unknown thief/black-clad/masked vigilante/stealing into my nights”  (The Body Politic). In many ways this is a canvas upon which she has illustrated pockets of life in such ways  “I am afraid/of disintegration” “I am routinely pricked with pins” (Vibrational Sensory Loss) most of us have felt this way in today’s world because of chronic illness and/or stress or loss of identity and voicing those emotions is both necessary and difficult, something Ray excels at.

Additionally this is the language of love gained and lost, thwarted and found, destroyed and remembered in a fantastical landscape. “symmetrical patterns/ captured briefly in the mirror/ before the spin of the wheel/ pulled us apart / leaving our jewel tone edges / aching from separation.” (Kaleidoscope) In this, the book has a lovely balance between literal and metaphysical suffering as well as being a testimony of a woman’s walk through life, and her ability to survive the un-survivable.

Ray’s distinctiveness comes from her inability to turn away from truth, her proffered confessional, and the blunt, often beautifully crafted mélange of accents, emotions and voices that spill from her depths.  “I have been waking / in one of two states / words pulling at me/ rousing me/ demanding.” (Brilliant Madness) . Her voice is one many of us have heard at night, and been pulled toward, before holding onto a fragment come morning, she is at once, impossible to quantify and disarmingly real, her charm is in the rendering of a universal experience of life.  “there is a point / where the pain starts / radiates out/ in a geometric/ arc / compresses / folds / reconfigures me / like an open fan.” (Accordion Folds).

The purpose of poetry is surely to form impressions of emotions hard to give words to. The poet is a painter of lives, the reader finds themselves in those shades and it is that recognized quill and truism that draws us to the poetic form, so immediate and unadulterated beyond the confines of prose. “how many empty shapes/ have been etched on my soul / like shadow / like negatives of photographs / from those who have been torn away.” (Loss is an Ocean). Therefore when a poet can become the photo album for a life time or a gender, they have successfully translated our unsaid experience, which is what Composition of a Woman does uncannily well. “I arise something new / wipe the blood from my mouth / spread fledgling wings / and with the lift of the north wind / I claim the night sky / mine.” (Raven).

Christine Ray is woman poet of today’s arrhythmic heartbeat, her transformation from within to without is best described in her poem Becoming a Poet, conveying how; “she was always struck by the juxtaposition / of her physical body / negotiating / close suburbs, …. while her heart and mind / wandered in the isolated wilderness / while errant words and wisps of dreams / and drops of feelings like rich, red blood / continued to seep out of her.” For so long, woman’s voices were repressed, by others, by themselves, by the system. Poets like Ray are the new generation, they’re not keeping quiet, they’re dragging by the neck all that hasn’t been said, all that is labeled shameful, and opening the cage doors. After all, freedom is found in truth.

Composition of a Woman will be released by Sudden Denouement Publishing on Tuesday, July 31st.  It will be available on Amazon.com, Amazon Canada, Amazon Europe and other major retailers.


Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

I Knew My Pain – Aurora Phoenix

I knew my pain when it was a screeching
sunset
spurting cotton candy carnage
across the feathered heavens
mocking all that is soft and soothing
drawing my gaze
up and up, tearstained
\thundering scarlet refrains\
reverberating clang of your loss.
I knew my pain when it was a snarling
saber-tooth
birthed of my rent ventricles
spewing aortic dirges
feasting on festering anguish
\clamorous gluttony\
heartache grew fangs
fueled on midnight howling
and my heart gnawed raw itself.
I knew my pain when it was a stinging
nettle
clinging needy-puppy to my shins
\all scratch and scrape reminders\
of the bite that replaced the soul
in the deep chocolate of your iris.
I knew my pain when it was creeping
ivy
camouflaged among wistful greening
arisen from the fetid heap
\itching a glitch in my hopeful healing\
tendrils sneak snake-oil slick
renders my skin hopeless raw
where it lingered
in the shadow of your touch.
I knew my pain when it was tempered
steel
inlaid with soulful etchings
\mother of my surviving pearl soul\
I raise the blades coated
in my fevered blood
hammered now, the plowshares
of my hard- won stance.


Aurora Phoenix is a wordsmithing oxymoron. Staid suburbanite cloaks a badass warrior wielding weapon grade phrases. Read more of her confabulations at Insights from “Inside.”

I Knew My Invisibility- Candice Louisa Daquin

I knew my invisibility when
the lady next to my mother in the nursing ward
took me in her arms out of pity
for there was nobody there who cared
to rock a crying child , who was not wanted
by hedonists who erred in pregnancy

I knew my invisibility when
my mother tucked  bus ticket in her blouse
kissed me goodnight for the final time
explaining she needed to get out and breathe
did not remember to keep the door ajar
and the night vanquished me in her absence

I knew my invisibility when
my father silently resented single-parenting
did not pick me up outside the school gates
the boys in the projects threw stones and jeered
shouted “show me your stinking snatch, bitch”
until I learned to climb trees and wait and wait and wait

I knew my invisibility when
my grandfather told me to sit on his lap
the only attention was the wrong kind and sick
everyone else got busy like they didn’t know what was
happening
bit like being chained to a rock and watching for The Gorgon

I knew my invisibility when
my friends in bikinis had boys stuck to them like bees
cooing as birds will underneath willow trees
whilst I was bitten by mosquitos not men
and the ordinariness of me was the best repellent
no need to spray tan, just stand and burn

I knew my visibility when
I broke into pieces and watched them descend
unwilling to drown I reached out and a hand pulled
me out of the darkness and into her universe
where for the first time I was seen and loved
for who I was and not a cream centered assortment
Blindly plucked from a candy box

 

Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

I Know My Worth- Devereaux Frazier

I know my worth
Are you sure about that 
They ask me in the twilight hours
Caressing the vain sense and sensibilities
Of someone already caught in the eye
Storms vast, lighting strikes wide and deadly
The waves toss my hapless soul overboard
And plunge me deep into the abyss of sorrows
But alas, they are not my own
Not mine to keep
Just bitter tales of man and woman
Too deep in love to remain apart
When the fates have aligned they should
Swords run through aghast faces
Spears pluck the youth from their mothers
And leave carcasses piled high to heaven
Are you sure you know your worth 
When everyone around you is bleeding
And everything is choking on the blood
Not of their own, and not of yours
But of their forefathers, and all their mistakes
How blessed can life truly be when pain
Is served for each and every meal
There is no remedy for the man of burden
Toiling away, he writes his passions in the dust
With each breath he loses a day
But gains a star in the ever present firmament
One day I too will join my star family
One day I will know what it means to be home
So when they ask me
Are you sure you know your worth 
I will say no
Because as long as I’m here I cannot say
My path has hardly started, and goals
Simply fooled with
But those who come after me can say
Without an inkling of doubt
Who I was
Yes, we knew his worth 
In the world he created, we too can create 
And in continuing on the path of peace
Redeem the time so solemnly granted
And eagerly withdrawn 


Devereaux Frazier is a teen poet and writer from Baltimore, Maryland. He’s been published twelve times on SpillWords, with “Pleadings Against The Preposterous” being nominated for Publication Of the Month of May. He’s also been published five times on TeenInk, with “Less Than Human” being published in the October 2016 edition of their magazine. He placed second in Blood Into Ink’s January #MeToo writing contest. Literary Arts Review has published three of his poems as well. In addition to being a guest barista for Go Dog Go Cafe and member of The Writing Hour, he runs his own poetry blog, which was voted best of 2017 by Kendall Person of The Neighborhood.

There Were Things I Did Not Know – Lois E. Linkens

There were things I did not know (could not know).
There were words I was yet to write, a still
Small voice, yet to claim. ‘Tis life’s greatest thrill,
To light an unknown match, and watch it glow.
I would do great things. I would swing my feet
O’er fences, walls, tall gates to walk amid
The places I had never seen, and bid
Farewell to my young self, to future meet.
Places that could hold me fast, scoop me out
And fill me with their beads, their jasmine ways.
Here comes tomorrow in its dusky haze.
I have seen the future; she’s ours to sprout.
Where so much is known today, I decree
To stay a great surprise, most so to me.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it at Lois E. Linkens.

I Knew My Faults-Sarah Doughty

“I knew my faults.
And they always stared
back at me in the mirror.”

As long as I can remember, I knew my faults. They were engraved in my flesh, repeated so often that even I saw nothing else. I knew every one. Believed every one. I was every one.
I knew my faults when I was toddling around, learning how to speak, how to walk, how to cower.
I knew my faults when I began school. How I wasn’t smart enough, not social enough. How I was a target in school. And at night.
I knew my faults in the dark. I learned my best to do what was required of me, but I was never quite good enough. I knew what my hands needed to do, how my lips should stay soft, or how my hips were supposed to move with the right timing. After awhile, I knew those moves just enough to get by.
I knew my faults. And they always stared back at me in the mirror.


Sarah Doughty is the tingling wonder-voice behind Heartstring Eulogies. She’s also the author of The Silence Between Moonbeams, her poetry chapbook, and the acclaimed novels and novellas of the Earthen Witch Universe. Good news, they’re all offered for free, right here! To learn more about how awesome Sarah is, check out her website, stalk her on Goodreads, or both.