Wednesday 31 August 2016

In 2008 I posted The Rich River by Mercy Adhiambo, who was then 21 years young, as a top contender for the third Glass Woman Prize. It is an unforgettable story. Mercy Adhiambo has since become a journalist and just spent six months at The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City as an intern. She is about to return to Kenya. May things go well for you, beautiful and talented and compassionate Mercy Adhiambo.

by Mercy Adhiambo

I must have been six years old at that time, but the events of that day are forever engraved in my mind. It was my first day at school, and like everybody else, I put on my heavily starched green tunic dress. None of us had shoes—shoes were for upper primary school pupils, and for the few whose parents worked in the big city.
I was scared. School scared me. From the stories I had heard from my elder sister, it was going to be terrible.
“Your class teacher is going to be Mrs.Onyango. She will lift your dress and pinch between your thighs…,” she had told me in the morning just before I left for school. Although Mama had rebuked her and assured me that all would be well, I still had some lingering fear within me.
“I am Atieno,” the girl who sat next to me said.
I did not reply. I just stared at her. She was the talkative type, and I was shy.
“Did your mother give you anything to carry to school?” she asked almost immediately.
“Yes, sweet potatoes,” I replied weakly. For some unknown reasons, I found her question irritating.
“Give me some, my mother did not give me anything,” she said, looking straight into my eyes.
I reached for my bag and gave her the tiniest piece of my sweet potatoes. She shoved the whole of it in her mouth, then stretched out her hand for more. I looked at her in disgust, then gave her one more.
She munched on it slowly, then smiled at me.
“Look at my hands, my mother lashed them yesterday.” She held out her arms for me to see.
My stomach lurched at the sight of her hands. They were bruised and swollen. I did not believe her. No mother lashes her little girl like that!
“What did you do to earn that?”
She did not answer. She just smiled, but I noticed the tears in her eyes.
There was heavy silence between us. My thoughts raced to my mother. Sometimes she got angry at the things I did, like making faces at her visitors, but she had never caned me so badly.
The teacher entered the classroom and interrupted my thoughts.
“Good morning everyone?”  She greeted us in a low voice.
We all stood up and saluted her.
“I am Mrs. Onyango, your class teacher,” she continued in the same tone.
Silence reigned.
“I want each one of you to give a brief introduction about who you are,” she continued.
The introductions began at the front. Most of the pupils spoke softly, and it was with great difficulty that those of us at the back got to hear their names.
Mrs. Onyango, probably bored by the monotony of the introductions, was beginning to doze off.
“My name is Atieno, I am six years old, and my mother is a seller,” my desk mate introduced herself with a confidence.
“Young girl, we do not say seller, we say business lady,” the teacher corrected her.
“Yes, Ma’am”.
“So what does your mother sell?”
“She sells herself, Ma’am.”
“My mother sells herself to interested buyers.”
There was silence. Nobody talked. Atieno and the teacher looked at each other.
The teacher made her way toward Atieno, her eyes so fierce, that for a moment I thought she was going to hit her.
“How do you know that she sells herself, young girl?”
“That is what she tells me every night when she leaves the house.”
“Do you know it is wrong to lie, Atieno?”
“I know it is wicked to lie, and those who lie will burn when good people go to heaven, Ma’am”.
“How many children are you at home?”
“It is just my Mama and I. My Mama says she had me by mistake. She says I am the bad one who refused to die like the rest, even after she drank a whole gallon of detergent to get rid of me while I was in her stomach.”
Atieno’s voice faltered off, and there were tears in her throat.
Loud murmurs went through the classroom. It must have been the pupils wondering why Atieno was holding such a long conversation with the teacher. We were too young to understand.
“Who brought you to school?”
“Class, you are dismissed for break…” the teacher said, and I noticed her reaching for the wall for support. Her eyes were also very red.
* * * * *
That evening as we walked home from school, Atieno walked at a sickeningly slow speed. I felt the need to be her friend. Nobody wanted to talk to her.
“Some of my sweet potatoes are still in my bag, maybe…,” I started.
“I think I am full,” she said, looking straight ahead.
“But you didn’t take lunch.”
“I never take lunch. I am used to staying hungry.”
I saw tears glinting in her eyes, but she blinked them away rapidly.
“Where do you live?” I asked in a final attempt to sound friendly.
“Across the river; that is where I live with Mama.”
“I also live across the river with my Mama and Papa,” I said.
She did not look at me. She picked a piece of grass and chewed absent-mindedly on its blade.
We walked on without talking to each other until the river lay before us.
“Do you swim?” she finally broke the silence.
“No, I fear water,” I replied honestly.
She did not comment, and I began to wonder why she had asked me the question.
“In the depth of this river, there are six one shilling coins, and four five shilling coins. That makes a total of twenty six shillings.”
I did not quite understand.
“How do you know?” I asked perplexed.
“I threw them in,” she said with no feeling at all.
I was amazed. I loved money. The highest amount of money my mother had ever given me was two shillings, and here she was, telling me that she had thrown twenty six shillings into the river, yet she could not even buy herself a piece of Maandazi for lunch!
“There is a man who comes to our house at night when my mother has gone out to sell herself. He touches me, then gives me the money,” she said to me without a hint of feeling.
“Does your mother know?” I asked, concerned. My mother always told me to report to her any man who touches me.
“Yes, she does.”
I felt my heart beating strangely. And there was a searing pain in my chest.
When we reached the river, she groped in the pocket of her green school tunic, fished out a shinny ten-shilling coin, then, after studying it carefully, hurled it into the river with all her might. The waters swallowed the coin hungrily as we looked on.
I noticed the veins in Atieno’s face. I noticed the tears in her eyes. I noticed the sorrowful look that clouded her face.
“Yesterday, the man gave me ten shillings, but yesterday he did more than touch me,” she said with her gaze fixed in space.
I also took the fifty-cent coin that I had and dipped it into the flowing waters of the river. I do not know why I did it, but I found satisfaction in seeing it disappear in the river.
Atieno lifted her dress and dipped her feet in the shimmering water. I did the same. Then she removed her clothes and walked slowly into the river. I did that too.
That day, we swam and played in the river until we reached the plateau that lies beyond childhood, beyond fear, beyond sorrows of this world…where one just swims like a fish or soars like an eagle, or one floats like a ghost, unaware of anything that is going on around them in this corrupted world.
While in the water, Atieno held my hand tightly, looked into the depths of my eyes, then told me to be her friend…and I cried.
When I reached home that night, my mother pinched my ear for having stayed out late. She served me Ugali and fish for supper.
“Mama, in the depths of River Gol Richo, there are so many coins; to be precise, there are thirty six shillings and fifty cents,” I told her after eating my meal.
She did not understand, and she did not bother to inquire. She just sent me to bed, and that night, I dreamt of nothing but Atieno, the river and myself, and how I would seek the man who gave her the coins, and hurl him into the river with so much might, just as Atieno had done with the ten shilling coin he had given her after destroying her. 

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Today's thread in Writing In A Woman's Voice: Kermit in the Kardomah by Oonah V Joslin:

Kermit in the Kardomah

“Kermit,” the young woman said. Then towards me, “Sorry it just slipped out.”
She was referring to the American guy by the window making a call home on his cell phone.

Luckily he didn't hear. “Yeah, I'm fine…. Yup, Helen's fine…. Yeah, we're having a great time!” 

I involuntarily grinned. She was right of course. He sounded just like Kermit. But when I looked I saw that she was dressed all in green and yellow and I couldn't help but think she was one to talk.

She was one to talk. “I got a job today,” she continued seeing that I'd smiled.
“Congratulations” I said and looked away.
“Selling solar panels as part of the government's new scheme.”
“Well done you.”
I shovelled a forkful of coffee cake into my mouth. Sipped at my tea. Admired the  fifties style d├ęcor, the gleaming mirrors and panelling, the Chinaman by the door.
“Yes. I was just coming out of a bad relationship and I got this interview this morning and now I have a flat, a job and everything.”
“Things are looking up then,” I remarked and I tried to smile.

My husband blew at the froth on his cappuccino and gave me a look: don't encourage her. There were few people in at that time of the day and I wished I had taken more care in choosing a table but I hadn't immediately noticed her there, sequestered under the stairwell.
“Now I can make a home for me and the kids.”
“I see. Well good luck with that.” One can't simply be rude, I implied in an answering glance.

She poked about a bit in her oversized handbag, produced a pen and began scribbling things down onto a note pad from a magazine she'd been flicking through. She had an odd way of writing with her hand twisted inwards as if shielding the page from unwanted viewers. “I'm looking into interior design,” she said “because I have this new flat.”

The manager, a tall dark haired Italian flitted past our table. “Everything okay?”
“Yes this cake is gorgeous,” I said, though I had the feeling he didn't mean the food. He nodded then and went about his business. We only had to say the word.
“Oh, look at these!” she darted over to our table, magazine in hand to show us some colourful glass kitchen panels. “Aren't they great?”
I was somewhat startled by the sudden movement and I could smell alcohol on her breath but she was just being over-friendly I knew, and I suddenly realised how vulnerable she was.
“Of course I haven't phoned yet to find out the price,” she giggled and went back to her table. She pulled her green coat closer. It was waist length; the casual type that had a zip and hood and not at all what you'd wear to an interview and I'd noticed she was wearing jeans. Close-up she'd looked older; pale and drawn. I glanced at my watch – 4pm – schools would be out now if she had any kids but I doubted it.

After rummaging again through another bag, she set to with a pair of nail scissors, cutting pictures from the magazine, frantically writing notes and shoving them into each of several bags she had occupying another seat.
Kermit left.
A waitress came to clear his table. I saw her have a word with the manager and approached the stairwell. “You can take that magazine with you if you like,” he told the girl.
“Can I? Thanks.” It was a broad enough hint but she made no move to leave even though they were cleaning up around her.
We wished her well with the new job on our way out.
“I wonder where she goes to when they close?” I said outside.
“Oh she's okay.” my husband said. “Probably a hostel or a B&B. She's clean and tidy and she'll muddle through. They do you know.”

And I knew he was right but I was glad I hadn't ignored her. I suppose that's always been one of the things I like most about the Kardomah. It's always been a place where misfits fit.

Monday 29 August 2016

Today a flawless thread of dusty expectations of femininity: To Dust by Oonah V Joslin.

To Dust

Spotless house.
No mark on any mirror.
No picture left askew.
No cushion un-plumped.

smiling, pinnied, mum;
meals served on time,
no chore ever a chore.

woman, slim-waisted
pretty dress, tastefully
accessoried with pearls;

this was the dream
sold on the cover of
magazines for girls
born to dust.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Today's ominous thread: Almonds by Joani Reese.


I pour your espresso as though you are a guest, slide the lemon twist to spread its oil along the rim of the delicate bone cup, use the best china for your requisite yogurt and dates.

“Won't you eat?” you ask me, glancing at the singular place setting.

“I ate before the light,” I say. Your eyebrow climbs your forehead, suggesting my approach to breakfast, along with the hundred other errors I make daily, is an oddity. We are wondrous in our formality these mornings.

Your hand fondles your bare head and rests there for a moment. I almost laugh, then resist the urge. A blind habit, your palm always looks like a nightcap you've forgotten to remove. When you were twenty-five and I fourteen, your sable hair gleamed under the Iranian desert sun and smelled of anise.

I do not laugh; you hate to look absurd.

French doors open to the chill September day. I carry your tray to the balcony. A faint scent of almonds trails from your cup as the breeze ruffles the Belgian lace cloth spread over the table. I set your meal in front of you. A hint of perfume lifts from your skin when I stoop near your cheek; its Asian spice is not mine. I back away, almost knocking over the demitasse, then recover myself.

Your lips pressed into a thin white line, you shake your head and look down as if I am a mongrel dog who has pissed the Tabriz and say, “Your toenail polish is chipped.”

The pages of your paper rustle over your belly as you clear your throat of me. I stand with my back turned and gaze five floors down to the gypsy world of the Saturday market two blocks away, its chatter of women in their rainbow of shawls and sensible shoes floats lightly on the air. They waddle through the colorful tents and stalls poised at the edge of the Black Sea bargaining for turnips and greens in a language I will never understand. An airport taxi pulls into a space just outside the entry doors below.

I know you plan to be gone again tonight when you say, “My tan suit is at the cleaners. Please pick it up before five.” I think of brown leather bags, packed with cash and hidden in the extra room.

As you take the first sip, my vision constricts as if I am sighting through a lens this moment, this place. Here on this terrace it is just you and me and the potted date palm we smuggled from Iran so long ago. Its knife-like leaves flutter shadows across the rictus of your astonished face. I turn my back on you, walk through the apartment to collect my bags. My imperfect feet and I have a flight to catch and connections we must not miss.

* * * * *

Almonds was first published in Eunoia, was short-listed for the Glass Woman Prize, and is part of Joani Reese's collection Night Chorus

Saturday 27 August 2016

Today's stunning, wild, and beautiful thread: Simulacra by Joani Reese.


Men drag the last wild woman from her home concealed above a verdigris-tipped sea. A gag secures her mouth; red thread sews closed labial folds. They cuff her hands behind her back and dangle golden keys from chains around their necks. They truck her over the pass to the flatlands, all colors muted green and gray. Pain curls her like a question mark as tamed women bend her bones into the cage where she complies, or dies.

Men blunt her claws, excise her teeth, attack until her mind succumbs. They dress her up; they dress her down. Her face is tattooed with a smile, her womb unlaced, perfectly numbed. She learns to kneel in darkness all her own. Each year evolves into the next. A zealous drab, she sates with sex; she gestates younger, pliant girls, then trains each one to ape a paper doll.

* * *

Simulacra was first published in jmww. It won the 15th Glass Woman Prize in 2014 and is part of Joani Reese's collection Night Chorus. 

Friday 26 August 2016

Today's offering: "It is not your fault" by Madison Flanders.

“It is not your fault”

I heard my name
Being carved into
Your memory for the first time
Imagining how slippery your voice would become
Tasting each letter
While my pinky nibbled yours
The way my parents both savored bitterness
My dad in his scotch
My mom in the word

You were the embodiment
Of my third grade fantasy                 
The one that ripped the white veil
Off my head
And made me want to
Sew red flags on to my sleeves
Dusted in the incantation
Of divorce.

I began to crave you
Like the cigarette
I had to sneak
During Sunday service
Like the sadness

That sucks at my tonsils. 

Thursday 25 August 2016

Today's fraying thread: Madison Flanders writes in "The Poet" about the disconnect between one poet and another, despite best hopes.

The Poet

Every word he spoke melted
As my mind etched and sketched them into an image of you
His chest felt slippery and hairy at the same time

He smelled like Jim Beam
And the inside of a microwave
He would kiss me
Until my lips were paper snowflakes
My tongue rolling over the
tiny chapped trenches
I hated it but I wanted it
I needed it

If somber were a scent he’d reek of it
The way my entire life reeked of the Dove Body lotion
I stole from CVS, holding your hand
My nose missed the smell of old spice and salt
And the laundry room I had to enter to get in your room
I wanted it to feel right.

He wore black in a Florida Summer with winter boots
Saying he was going to get coffee and write
Scrolling through his Facebook the entire time.
Tweeting about how we don’t have enough
Real human interaction

I wanted it to feel right
But I was sick of poetry
And he was allergic to my dog.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Today's thread, a harrowing moment of mortality. Sudden by Susan Tepper.

The author's own prelude to the poem:

This poem 'Sudden' is a reflection of my life in its current state. My beloved mother is dying slowly. It's pain on every level for me. I dream of pain in various incarnations. I found out that I'm not indefatigable -- as I previously believed. I also now understand the process of aging and the dying body and mind. It's a sobering journey that we all have to take because we only get to rent space here.


No flowers in hanging pots
to bank the door—
we’ve come to the season of darkness/
July/ a summer moon
& sorrow busts the seams
of every garment you try on.
This death-watch is numbing.
Making holes in shoes that
used to feel sturdy
the part down your hair
raked sideways,
and I’m afraid to touch your arm:

No sudden movements.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Today's thread in the tapestry is one man's take on writing in a woman's voice. Testament by Gary Hardaway:


I am the last to honor time before
the scarred and angry warriors from the north
attacked and brought their cunning, sullen gods.
The torchlight flickers off the stone above,
the ceiling of this ancient cave the scarred
have not discovered yet. I write this, sure
of nothing, in the fading letters of
a dying language. Were I practical,
I would use the words and letters as corrupted
by the northern simplification
of expression we worked centuries to make
complex enough to capture nuance
the scarred declare unnecessary art.

Their nouns are few and stark.
Ours are numerous and dappled
or subtly shaded and shadowed
by circumstance and possibility.

They first came ashore from ships
so small and clumsy one should call them rafts.
They wanted gold or silver, perhaps a few
of the fine bronze weapons they had heard
about in Troy. They offered cheeses, wine,
young breeding goats, and crudely woven wool.
Or, so it was remembered, by those who met them,
before the Calamity, long before my birth,
before our beautiful circular city,
north across the small finger of Sea,
vanished under Earth’s dark spit;
before the swelling of the Sea washed away
our Seaside ports and villages; before the plague
that follows the death of so many together
spread among those the swelling didn’t take;
before the five dark summers, when the sun
dimmed and the crops died, blackened in the fields.

The cunning take the thread of fact and weave
a tapestry that lies to their advantage.
From the faceted complexity of Canossis
comes a labyrinth. From our ceremony of respect
for mindless force we can’t control
but only evade with grace and knowledge,
a monster in the labyrinth. From a king--
chosen, not born, nor thrust upon a race
by murderous alliances-- a cruel tyrant
delighting in the suffering of others.
As we, weakened-- beloved faces reduced
by death to less than half-- were forced to hear, recounted
by the scarred and angry Mycenaeans.

One must learn to give the Bull the things
it needs: space, grass and grain, his mates
and offspring, and elude the things
its momentary fury wants- your death
and those of your sisters and brothers.
One must sadly learn to treat the lion
with similar evasive regard. But our
diplomacy, once revered along
all shores of the Sea, collapsed and died, rebuked.

Our ships once teemed along the shore
like pups at their mother’s teats.
After the swelling of the Sea, the dead
outnumbered the living and the shipwrights
died where they lived, along the Sea.
We had looked at water and the things afloat
and learned the happiest shapes and properties
of hulls. Our ships swam shallow in the Sea,
which made them quick. Our rudders thrust themselves
into the Sea, deep enough to make us
nimble but not so deep as to catch the weeds
that flourish under dazzled water.
After the swelling of the Sea, our ships lay broken,
far inland, ribs exposed like those
of whales ashore, rotting in the sun.

The bodies of the dead lay broken, too,
and bloated. Who survived could not know them.
We piled the pieces of ships and pieces of men
and burned them. Smoke arose to dim the sun.

Perhaps the Earth, Sea, and Sky were done
with us and chose to tatter all we were
and leave it to the Mycenaean swords
and fires to obliterate. What we were
lies ruined and mysterious-- evocation
to the unkind imagination
of the Brute-- alive now only
in the children of concubines and rape.

Against that, this testament, scratched
with misshapen styluses, made
from memory by unskilled hands,
with a pallid memory of ink.

My daughter’s sons and their fathers hunt for me.
I trust she won’t disclose my likely
hiding place, although enslaved and shamed.
But time itself is after me. I slow
with age and pains of wear and elusion.
The jars of brined olives, wined figs,
pickled octopus and squid, grow fewer,
daily. I can only write against
my end of time and hope the parchment
and papyrus will survive the damp
and find both kind and comprehending eyes
before the sun itself grows weary
and extinguishes the last of day.

We once saw giants in the clouds and in
connected points of stars, and named
them, gods.  We placed them in their high-halled villas,
on the mountaintop, to game and frolic
with our lives-- eternal adolescents.
Once we climbed the mountain, we learned that clouds
are insubstantial vapor and the stars
are points of light that turn as we
through repetitious day and night.
The Mycenaeans sweat and slash below
the clouds, servants of capricious gods
and narrow, brutish appetites. They smell
of dirt, semen, ashes, blood and dung.

Before the Calamity, the Sea took
my husband, captain of a quick and agile ship.
I say the Sea, although it may have been
the savages that live beyond Iberia.
Exchange holds risk and reward, fraternal
twins that rise and fall at ends of the scale.
His ship did not return. I joined the other
widowed or solitary women at
the House of Memory and Teaching at Malaeis.
My toddling son and daughter learned with me
the memories and wisdom of the old,
the passions and poems of the young,
the triumphs, confusion and sorrows of those in between.
We grew together. We knew the beauties and
pomposities of neighbors, their frailties and strengths.
Then, the cloud. The crack and rumble, like thunder.
The sickening back and forth of the ground.
And, later, the swell of the Sea, its unbroken
wave, higher than the walls of the great
House at Canossis, surging, with its death,
a hundred ship lengths inland. Sudden cries.
A crash of ships and houses. Then, the silence.

Who could stood up and looked and cursed their eyes.
The cries and whimpers of the undead cursed their ears.
Who lived breathed in the death and found their bodies
broken in ways invisible. Salt and bitter the only tastes
on the tongue. Decay the only odor in the nose.
The astonishing silence and whimpering
the only sounds the ears can hear. The cold
of dead skin the only sensation on the flesh.
The dark smoke of pyres the only sight.
The rivers ran salty, dead fish and the unrecovered
dead the only cargo floating toward the Sea.
The undead sorted as they could, repaired
and scrubbed what wasn’t ruined, salvaged stone
and timber, hinges and handles. Small boats fished
and netted what they could. A pantomime
of order, effort and routine. The songs,
all dirges and laments. The dances but foot
following foot unto exhausted sleep.
Who lived were lambs, stunned by clubs before
the knife tip bleeds the veins before the feast.

Mycenaean warriors thought us priestesses
in thrall and service to our gods. Their superstition
saved our lives but not our rooms and lovingly
stored and labeled tablets, scrolls, and layered
poem-leaves. Ours, and all the Houses
of Memory and Teaching, restored, were burned
to ash and broken stone. No superstition
saved our sons and brothers. Blood and bodies
stained the roads and courtyards.

We were a people, whole and happy, once.
We were enamored with the repetitions
and surprises of the world. Our bodies, first,
and spirits, after, were broken by
the forces that hide inside the Earth, Sea
and Sky. Our remains were scattered, then,
by knowing choices of joyless brutes
who stand like men but are a cunning plague.
We were Athlanti. We were Canossis. We were
Malaeis, Phaestos, and Thera, city of the circle.
We were fleet and nimble ships, the leapers of Bulls.
We were language and curiosity, exchange
and memory. Now, we are the stories
scarred and angry men, insecure
in their own leadership and worth,
will speak around a fire on ground not theirs.

Monday 22 August 2016

The Writing In A Woman's Voice tapestry continues with a thread of lovely colors: The Transcendental Mother by Marie Lynam Fitzpatrick

The Transcendental Mother by Marie Lynam Fitzpatrick

The colours changed with the beat of her life.  Feelings of being: Control, no control.
Happy, sad, contented, alive, dead. They marked her life as  she watched her family  and searched for meanings.

 Her kids were born; 
she wondered about their lives. Did they choose her or she them, will they all receive answers or is this  it!  will they just die and be buried.
Is it enough to live a good life? Is it enough to follow her heart, and is her personal god all forgiving?
She meditates daily.  Settling herself in an armchair she allows  the energy to flow through her bones: relaxing and caressing. And as it drifts she melts, and like a child she trusts in its strength.

The Violet is attached to her sacredness
  and the Indigo it allows her spiritual essence to drift through.  Always just a glimpse offered--they guard their secrets, well. 
The cold clarity of Blue encircles her speech, each word is vibrant, each syllable crazy for a reason. Her words: they claim her.
The Green of her heart, her guide, her sense of union, her wish for happiness. It whispers and she listens; its beat spins each emotion.
The Yellow of her gut is sometimes in her boots as she puts  her foot in it one more time and it shakes her foundations--a reminder of her fears, inhibitions and quiver moments.
The Red of her sexuality, its heat calls her to question all else as the colours mesh expressing her life, concocting her reality.
But her emotions figure-out their shade as a palette of black and white lightens and darkens their chemistry. She feels this happening and now and again her body demands release from its labels. She wonders then if she's a robot made by a dark god for his enjoyment.  Has she becomes a game on a play-station and if the script is written, does she have the lead role? Her ego peeps through.
So she meditates and prays mantras, and makes wishes, and sometimes her reality reflects a  mind set. Then she rides the curve of a rainbow and swings on a star in awe of her personal constellations as they dive and splutter-surface a deep breath and  a new path is started, a personal decision made and her ambiguity settled as her now passes through times-space.

Sunday 21 August 2016

The tapestry of women's voices begins with a fierce thread: Pussy by Amanda Harris.


You write about as well as I did
when I was six–
with your use of animals
and your need to make
every goddamn
thing you write
in the shape of an animal-
My friends think I shouldn’t
hate your guts,
but they’re nice people.
They don’t know what
it feels like
to look at a poem
and want to
gouge your eyes out
with fire.
For months, I’ve
been trying to forget
you exist.
I trashed my library.
I attacked my computer
with a blowtorch.
Every time I got in bed
to write or fuck though,
I thought of your bad words
and your bad sex
and it’s no wonder
a woman like me would
say such angry things
when the literary world
is contaminated
with men who
can’t fuck,
can’t write.


If you want to contribute to the tapestry, email me your thread with your thoughts as an attachment or in the body of the email at 

Saturday 20 August 2016

Call for submissions: I want to take Writing In A Woman's Voice in a different direction. For a while? Forever? I don't know yet. I want to read and possibly post your voices. I want your experiences, your advice, you rants (preferably without obscenities), your shouts, your whispers, your questions, your poems, your stories, you complaints, your praise of the world, your sentiments, your reasons.

If I choose to post your thoughts, you have the option to let me post them with your name for fame and glory, or anonymously so you can be even bolder in stating your thoughts than you might otherwise choose to be.

I will collect submissions until fall equinox 2016. Unfortunately I cannot pay you for your contributions. Please send your submissions to as an email attachment or pasted in the body of an email.

I hope to hear from you so we can put together a tapestry of what is important: our voices, our visions.

Saturday 13 August 2016

This is one of the most difficult feelings a woman will ever feel: When I work I feel guilty.

When I do anything at all that focuses on me and my life, I feel guilty.

* * * * *

I will not blog for a few days--going on a journey to find my enthusiasm again. It has to be somewhere. I will recognize it when I find it.

Friday 12 August 2016

"I am not happy and I do not want to tell the truth." -- Sound familiar? I hope not. But if it does, you are not alone, and you do have a voice, for naked truth, or veiled truth, or any truth at all. 

Wednesday 10 August 2016

The hardest part about writing is when you have to give up the huge vision, the really beautiful dream, which, in manifestation, will lose some of its enthralling beauty.  

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Why do I ever let myself be persuaded that my voice isn't valid?
It is true, my voice is hidden. I do not want to say what I know. Isn't that interesting? All of my life I have wanted to be a writer, and now that my time is free for it, I hedge—I don't want to say what I know because it wouldn't be pleasing, perhaps, it would sound too much like nagging, like criticizing God for not getting it right.

I don't want to nag this world. 

Monday 8 August 2016

After a while the challenge becomes what not to say—there is so much! 

Sunday 7 August 2016

We're God's puzzle, and if we keep our pieces in our pockets instead of contributing them to the game, we make the puzzle extremely difficult—even for God. 

Saturday 6 August 2016

A comment made by a fictional character recently had me feeling guilty. She said something about middle aged people looking ridiculous on the dance floor. Being on the upper end of middle age myself, and loving to dance, I immediately felt blameworthy. Then last night I went out dancing again, hoping to do my best to not look too ridiculous, and I started observing from an (almost) impartial viewpoint. Young people on the dance floor on the whole don't exactly look all that credible or accomplished. Only younger. And bedecked with nose rings, brow piercings, and copious tattoos. The coordination in your average middle aged versus young dancer in your average club is about the same. So, I essentially feel vindicated.

And then I got a special treat last night. A beautiful Latina, even older than I am, started dancing with me. I've known her for some time now. She looked beautiful, swinging her hips gently, the soft fabric of her long skirt swishing around her ankles. Her smile whispered, "I'm dancing my dreams and I am doing it well."

Let's all dance our dreams. If we do it genuinely, we will be beautiful.

Friday 5 August 2016

Wisdom holds: You can't change anybody else. You can only change yourself. 

But why ever would you want to? 

Thursday 4 August 2016

This is what we too often still do with our women in this world: we let them bloom and then suddenly we want to just have them be subservient, and the women, wanting to please, get endlessly drawn into where all their energy is leaking. Away. Gone.

Every energy we do not put out there is in the end missing from the world. 

Let's put our energy back where it belongs: Into this world. Into truth. Into beauty. 

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Tuesday 2 August 2016

We must not accept table scraps. We must not accept insignificance. (Easier said than done!)

Monday 1 August 2016

Men are playing games that women do not want to play in the first place. Then of course they punish women for not playing by their rules.