While She Sleeps

While She Sleeps

How can you know

this message is for you

when you do not know

who I am?

I’ve done all that I can

to stop that man

but the police

didn’t give a damn

so he’s still free

to walk these streets

and god forbid

if he hurts

another woman.

Because I may not be

the first

he’s done it to

but to be the last

I’d give the universe

to be heard

and god forbid

if he hurts

you.

Because there’s nothing worse

than knowing

my screams are but a silent clue

marking the man who

you’re sleeping next to.

She-Wolf

She-Wolf

She has felt rage

the type that chars your guts

and leaves you bleeding

out your own eyeballs.

She has felt the explosion

of shrapnel

and the pain

from rogue shards

splintered between her bones and skin.

She knew of her orphaned dead,

speaking to their restless ghosts

till delirious

she lay next to them, near death,

in an effort to restore them to life

at the expense

of her own.

But that is not a rage

that climbs mountains,

it taught her only

how to cry tears of ash

in toxic blends of anger and acid

till asphyxiated.

Now

she leaves love notes

to her suffering,

marking the deaths

of all the possible happily-ever-afters

without a magical cure,

and with sharpened incisors

tipped in righteous furie,

she is released

to her once-upon-a-time.

Timeline

Timeline

I’m primary school age

and it’s pitch black outside

a man pulls me from under my bed

and shines a torch in my eyes.

(I’ve blanked out what happens after but I still feel those wandering hands)

I’m in my teens

and boys don’t care if I come

they just force my head down

and I choke till they’re done.

(When I start learning whose pleasure I’m good for)

I’ve started self harming

the boy I’m with doesn’t care

he just takes off my jeans

ignores the fresh cuts that are there.

(When I start treating myself how they make me feel)

It’s my boyfriend’s nineteenth

we’re at the pub and he’s pissed

he’s talking porn with his mates

and bragging about the girls on his list.

(When I start paying more attention to where my hair grows)

Now I’m locked in a room

and this guy is touching my thighs

when I tell my boyfriend ‘I was assaulted at work today’

why do I feel the need to apologise?

(When I quit my job and I’m blamed for us being skint)

Not till my best friend and I are twenty four

does she tell me about her brother

I want to get a knife

and stab that manipulative motherfucker.

(When she still has to spend every Christmas with him)

Now I’m having sex and this guy

shoves himself inside me and it hurts

I yelp out with the pain

but he carries on. I’m unheard.

(When it’s never about when I’m ready)

Let me introduce you to Alex

it’s our second date

I tell him no

but I guess that’s not how you stop a rape.

It happened three times that night

then it finally stops

when I tell the police

they ask me if I came and offer to ‘tell him off’.

(When the system doesn’t believe you)

There’s more where these came from

but by now you should have the message;

when is sex about respect for women’s bodies, a loving touch or gentle caresses?

What is society teaching young women

about their own worth

when research shows we describe ‘good sex’

as ‘without physical or emotional pain’ first?

I refuse to serve jail time

for acts of war I didn’t commit

there’s a wild woman raging inside me

and she will not let you hear the end of this.

Until it is the end of it.

Fuck silence, watch me break out into song.

Bluebeard

Bluebeard

I learnt the hard way

about predators,

I, the youngest sister,

oblivious to how easily

I could become prey,

too busy being ‘nice’

in a culture

that doesn’t teach young women

assertion,

so to injured instinct

I did not listen

till slaughtered.

I’m still haunted

by the dark man in my dreams,

you stand at the end of my bed,

constant threat

to skin you never touch.

A wake-up call

to drink this tonic

and remind myself

what I will spend the rest of my life

fighting for,

now an older sister,

for I’m wild and wiser,

and I will not rest

till that key

stops bleeding.

How They Make Us Mute

How They Make Us Mute

Trusting my own judgment

enough to learn to like

my outward appearance

is not easy when

you blame yourself

for the poor judgment

of another’s hands

and how they wouldn’t hurt you

and then tore your love

for your body

away from your body

from the outside in

and how it leaves you stuck

in a cycle of self torment

trying to forgive yourself for something

you didn’t do to yourself

but somehow allowed happen

but didn’t

till your own false sense of safety

deludes it’s better

to hate your body

for something another did to it

because look what happened

when you had the audacity

to like it.

Nature of the Beast

Nature of the Beast

You tell me

you don’t like the word

‘raging’

that it’s not a good aspect of character.

I think of the raging bull

used for entertainment

where matadors

men of ‘moral’ standing

use man-made social models

to make of it a mockery.

I compare it to the raging feminine,

the wild woman writhing inside me

willing for a change in these wretched worldly ways.

Of course you don’t like the word ‘raging’

raging means we’ve seen red

raging means wrath

raging means we’re fighting back.

From #metoo You

From #metoo You

There is an anger that sits in the pit of your stomach

a sorrow that weighs down your bones

some days you bang your head against that brick wall and barely see a crack

you feel sick

your heart is tired

there is a before you and an after you and you don’t want to be you anymore.

 

Your recovery does not depend on

telling the police

telling anybody

other people’s responses

being believed

a police investigation

a CPS decision

a court finding

the length of a prison sentence

legal justice

whether you fought back

how many times you said no

or if you felt able to say it

what you were wearing

what you were doing before

what you did after

if you know them

if you still see them

how many times it happened

if it still happens

how long it took to sink in

what you did with any evidence

how much you remember

or what you do to forget

how you feel about yourself today

how you slept last night

and how many nightmares you have

what you ate today

being comfortable with physical contact

if your body feels like your own again yet

how often you cry

or feel any feelings at all

when you last had a panic attack

when you last hurt yourself

whether you feel like giving up today

how many times you have already tried to

any words shared about what happened to you

unless those words are yours.

 

Your recovery is yours

this they cannot take away from you

it depends on you alone

it is poetic

it cannot be compared or measured or judged

it happens at your pace

in your time

when you are ready

there is no way to fail.

So take that anger and take that sorrow

and you make this life beautiful anyway

stand with us

you are not alone.