Wednesday 31 October 2018

Untitled Poem

by Rebecca Turner

The singe from a father turning his back.
The pit in your guts from the confidence you lack.
The pang of harsh words sent from a friend,
And the first heartbreak that never seems to mend.
You swallowed it like a pill.
Every ounce, no big deal. 
Incalculable pain of creating life.
The hollow sobbing from being an invisible wife.
The ball of barb wire collected so tight
From all the decisions made that were never right.
Seeing your children cry and you can’t save them a single tear. 
Watching your parents grow older each year. 
You swallowed it up without making a sound.
Keep walking so tall while your heart drags the ground. 
No wonder we change in our later years,
We women are salty from swallowing our tears.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Wi-Fi Is Free
If You Can Afford It             

by Sarah Henry

to the resting place
of suicides who
have crawled
across Route 30.
During my two-day
I’m afraid of finding
a body in a shower.

The owner is never
on the premises.
He hides away
on purpose.
His cheap portrait
hangs in the lobby.

We maids don’t
know each others’
real names.
The name stitched
in red on my black
uniform is Janet.
I plow through
the trashy rooms
with a heavy hand
on the Orrick vacuum.
Without a paper trail---
no punch, unlikely pay.
White grains stretch
along the baseboards.
So this is what
is meant by
“a seedy abode.”

At Disney World,
employees take pride
in their product.
They rush
to pick up litter
in the wholesome                                                                                  
Meanwhile, I sweep
the disconsolate
parking lot of
the Welcome Rest.                                                                  
My broom pushes
the dirt around,
like a wet mop                                                       
the bathroom floors.

* * * * *

Sarah Henry poems recently appeared in Defenestration, Turtle Island Quarterly and Leaves of Ink. She lives and writes in a small Pennsylvania town with no distractions.

Monday 29 October 2018

What Little Girls Are Made Of

by Christine Elizabeth Ray

she had always been puzzled
by the idea that little girls
were made of sugar
and spice
and everything nice
in her experience
that’s not what
little girls
were made of at all

the mean girls smelled
like cruelty mixed with uncertainty
disdain peppered with insecurity
ravenous hunger and envy

some girls smelled like
saccharine sweetness
and copper wire
wound too tight
always trying to please
to be liked
to be popular

others just wanted
to fly under the radar
to escape the notice
of mean girls who torment
of chameleon girls who offered
friendship only to shun them
the moment the mean girls
or a boy

she was a different
kind of girl
the quiet, watchful kind
she had ageless wisdom
in her heart
steel in her spine
fire in her blood
and patience
her time would come

there weren’t many
girls like her
but when they brushed
past each other
in school hallways
or crowded streets
the recognition
was like lightning
eyes would meet boldly
and they would smile
the secret smiles
of their kind

* * * * *

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

Christine Elizabeth Ray is an indie author and freelance editor who lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the creator of the blog Brave and Reckless and Managing Editor of The Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (Blood Into InkSudden DenouementSudden Denouement Publishing, & Whisper and the Roar) as well as Indie Blu(e) Her writing has been featured on SpillWords, fēlan poetry & visual zine, Nicholas Gagnier’s Swear to Me (2017), and his upcoming collection, All the Lonely People. Christine’s first book of poetry, Composition of a Woman, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishing in July of 2018. Her second book of poetry, The Myths of Girlhood, is scheduled for release later this year.

Sunday 28 October 2018


by Christine Elizabeth Ray

they tell me
I am no longer
a bringer of life
since monthly ruby tides
synced to moon rhythms
have ceased
they call me
they do not know
my truth
my womb
my soul
primordial oceans
humming with
single cell organisms
itching to divide
to explode with
fecund creativity
feminine power
waiting taut
to be unleashed
with passion
with fury
recreate this universe
in her image
realign the stars
this is why the world
of men
in the armor of their three-piece suits
and patronizing voices
fear the sexuality
of middle age women
orgasmic contractions
of our womb
acid words from our pens
our combined voices
a hail of silver bullets disrupting
the smoke of illusion
shattering the mirrors
of status quo

* * * * *

© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

Christine Elizabeth Ray is an indie author and freelance editor who lives outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is the creator of the blog Brave and Reckless and Managing Editor of The Sudden Denouement Literary Collective (Blood Into InkSudden DenouementSudden Denouement Publishing, & Whisper and the Roar) as well as Indie Blu(e) Her writing has been featured on SpillWords, fēlan poetry & visual zine, Nicholas Gagnier’s Swear to Me (2017), and his upcoming collection, All the Lonely People. Christine’s first book of poetry, Composition of a Woman, was published by Sudden Denouement Publishing in July of 2018. Her second book of poetry, The Myths of Girlhood, is scheduled for release later this year.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Female Lawyers
by Gael Gisvold Mueller

My brother, Daniel, was my biggest fan. When I decided to go to law school, he was right there helping. And warning. He reminded me that the going would not be easy. He told me to open my eyes and ears and shut my mouth.
Well, two out of three ain’t bad.
In school, I had wonderful study partners. I made wonderful friends. But there was something that I couldn’t put my finger on. Something that didn’t feel right. And I figured it out when a dear friend wrote his second year brief. I don’t remember the specifics of the brief but I do remember him showing me his graded paper.
Jim had used the word “misogyny.” Several times. The case was clearly set forth from a male perspective and Jim, as he should have, addressed that issue. The grader circled the word every time it appeared. In RED. “There is no such word” were the remarks of the grader!
That was the problem that I could not put my finger on. I, and my female colleagues, were being treated differently. This was 1982. We were either called on excessively or not at all. Our comments were openly derided or flatly ignored. Going to see particular professors was done in pairs or groups. To be fair, there were only a few of those.
In 1985, having graduated and awaiting Bar Exam results, I had my first interview for a position as an associate lawyer. The first question posed to me by a man several generations older than I, was, “What is a sweet, young thing like you doing in law?” I walked out.
The second interview was with a five partner firm. They were all at the interview. They asked if I intended to get pregnant. I pointed out that the question was, in fact, illegal. I took the job because I needed a job. I had no office, I sat in the conference room. I had no cases and none of the partners provided me with any kind of work. No research, no writing, nothing. I was not allowed to sit in on client conferences. I left when the senior partner asked if I liked to play with dolls.
When I went for the interview for a job as a Deputy Public Defender in Kern County, I expected the “usual.” That interview went something like this:
Bill: Hi, I’m Bill Weddell. I sorta run this joint.
Me: Hi.
Bill: When can you start?
Me: (Bewildered) I thought I was here for an interview.
Bill: I have read your resume. I know that you were on the Mock Trial Team for awhile. I know that you aced your mock trial class. I know you graduated from McGeorge and that you passed the bar on your first attempt. I assume you are here looking for a job. So, I repeat myself. When can you start?”
I started the next week.
Doing misdemeanor work in municipal court was a great training ground. At least half of the Public Defenders were female. But rising to the next level was a problem. Few women were doing felonies. Even in that office felonies were still “Man’s Work.”
Eventually, I got to felonies. And it was there, in the Superior Court of California, in and for the County of Kern, that I ran into the true meaning of misogyny. It was not unusual for a judge to question my research, my skills, my veracity, my appearance or my mental acuity. When speaking on behalf of my client, I would be interrupted by opposing counsel (male), the judge (male), other defense counsel (male). If I spoke up I was chastised. I was called many names but the day that opposing counsel called me “a bitch” I thanked him. I advised him that that was my job. The judge told me to be “civil.”
By the time I left that job, some 14 years later, I was one of two women in that county qualified to do death penalty cases.
In private practice the issues were just the same. I just decided to not remain acquiescent. I started to interrupt the interrupters. I wore pants and flats. I was called “unprofessional” by judges who wore jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes under their robes. I ignored them. I fought harder and louder for my clients.
But it never got any better.
Do not misunderstand me, I loved my work. I loved the fight. I loved the theater. I loved helping people that really needed my help. But as I grew older it became harder and harder to be even close to civil in a courtroom.
While I knew that it was a systemic problem, I came to the realization that the fight was going to have to be carried on by younger women. Women who had been raised to be strong and independent and didn’t have to come there from a place of acquiescence.
Then today I read this 2018 article in The Atlantic that told me that very little has changed. (
It brought me back to what I have just described. Has the perception changed, even a little? How long will we have to stand and speak truth to power?
All I know is that Dan would have been proud of every woman that has taken up the gantlet. He would have been their champion and cheer-leader.
Thinking of him, on what would have been his 71st birthday, I remember his words, his support and his love.

* * * * *
"Female Lawyers" first appeared on Gael Gisvold Mueller's blog:
Gael Gisvold Mueller was born and raised in a small town in the Central Valley of California. Because she had two older brothers she vowed, at a very early age, to never do anything that would label her as “just a girl.” She graduated from law school as a single mom when she was thirty-five. She was a criminal defense attorney for nearly 30 years. She has always been a reader and a singer. When she retired she shocked everyone by taking up weaving, photography and writing. Her current blog ‘Talkin’ to Myself’ is a chronicle of her life.

Thursday 25 October 2018

Writing In A Woman's Voice posts will resume on October 27, 2018. Happy days to all until then.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

The twenty-ninth Moon Prize on today's full moon goes to Suzanne Allen's stunning poem "Why I Didn’t Report Twenty-six Years Ago, Give or Take." It says so many things so familiar to far too many of us, and it says it so well.

Why I Didn’t Report Twenty-six Years Ago, Give or Take

by Suzanne Allen

Because I hadn’t fought. Because
I had only said no and no, and no, and
cried. Because I only twisted under him,
only tried to wrestle my wrists from his grasp.
Because I hadn’t screamed, or kicked.
Because I had only said no
and no, and cried. Because I didn’t want
to talk about it.

Because he was my grandma’s
hairdresser’s nephew. Because
he was an EMT. Because we had
been dating just a few weeks, and
I really liked his friends’
wives. Because I had said yes
before. Because he rode
a motorcycle, fast. Because
he had had more than one serious
crash. His broken nose.
The sometimes wild in his
not-so-clear blue eyes.

I didn’t report until now
because I hadn’t found the words.
I can’t remember the house,
not even where I was living
at the time. I don’t remember
if anyone else was there, or why
I didn’t want to, or if
I stayed the night anyway.
Maybe we had had a barbeque, or
maybe that was a different night.

It was a long time ago, but
believe me: it happened. At first
I tried to forget; now I just try
to imagine he was a good guy,
that he had enough sense to know
what he had done and not
do it again. I hope he didn’t
do it again. I hope he doesn’t…
But it did happen. Believe me.

* * * * *

Suzanne Allen holds an MFA in Poetry and is a coeditor for The Bastille, (of Spoken Word Paris.) Her poems have been published in print and online journals such as Cadence Collective, California Quarterly, Carnival, Cider Press Review, Crack the Spine, Hobo Camp Review, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, San Pedro River Review, Spillway, Spot Lit, Tears in the Fence and Upstairs at Duroc. Anthology publications include Not a Muse,(Haven Books), The Heart of All that Is (Holy Cow Press), Strangers in Paris (Tightrope Books), Veils, Halos and Shackles (Kasva Press), and Villanelles (Knopf). She also creates videos of poets reading their work, which can be found on YouTube at Vlogosophy. Her first chapbook, verisimilitude, is available at, and her most recent chapbook, Little Threats, was published just this summer by Picture Show Press.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Childhood Grasses

by Francesca West

Walking on the childhood grasses, Barefoot and bleeding.
Eyes attracted to a shimmering ocean
Of glass shards, gleaming.
While I’m finding my way in this moment,
I’m dreaming...
I’m picturing myself smiling at the sun, 
Both of us beam proud, we’ve both won.
But without looking up
I only draw on the warmth of high feelings.
While I try to get outside the sounds 
Of others’ screaming.
I am bleeding.
Knowing it’s what we step on that stabs,
But we could never avoid this land we grew up 
Getting to have.

Monday 22 October 2018

By Candlelight

by Francesca West

Hold a candle up to your life.
Examine it in the soft glow.
Too often we’ll put on high beams
To glare at ourselves, or at others.
Truth, however, reveals itself in the low flame, 
Always keeping things easy to see.
It says: “The flaws I would point out in you
Have a lot more to say about me.”

Sunday 21 October 2018


by Lisa Kusel

I am not a woman,
I am women,
I have a face, although you don't
see my face. 
"Look at me when I'm talking to you."
I have a face.
I have a voice.
Hear me roar. Better yet, come 
and hear me whisper. For my screams
you blithely ignore, as though they are
inconsequential laments from a baby
not your own.

It will be my whispers then;
the runty sounds 
that turn inside my head
like a Ferris wheel in the distant dark.
Whispers shall carry us through
to the day you stop scorching our souls with the
party-line precepts stowed securely
in your breast pocket.
Your right hand pats them once, twice,
then rests solemnly as you pledge allegiance
to the hatred and subversion you married.
I watched as you anchored your beliefs to
this totem of power
this phallus
this fallacy
then chose to back away from the moral ledge.

between friends, words spoken through clouds 
of outrage, but uttered nonetheless, shared with 
Marina and Anne, Topaz, Meg, Lori and Susan
Monica and Kelley.
A match has been lit. Held in the
whispers of Jenny and Deby
and Aimee and Judy.

You haven’t heard us yet, have you?
Because we’ve been whispering.
What do you think a million angry whispers
sound like when uttered
in a small wood-paneled room?
Imagine it.
Go ahead.
A whisper from one woman who spoke her truth
should have been enough
should have been more than enough
to set your world ablaze.
No matter.
We are here now, full, on fire,
ready to burn down your injustices like
flames ripping through fields of drought-dried wheat.

We’re here now
whispering amongst ourselves.

* * * * *

"Listen" first appeard on Lisa Kusel's blog on October 8, 2018.
Lisa Kusel is the author of the recently-released Rash, A Memoir, about running away to Bali, as well as two previous works of fiction. Her poems and essays have appeared in Zuzu's Petals; The Mondegreen; Women Writers, Women's Books; The Manifest-Station; and Motherly. Follow her on Instagram @lisa_kusel

Saturday 20 October 2018


by deb y felio

where are the bridges
to connection

the ravines are too deep
the gaps too wide

yet we continue 
to bomb
with our words
and malice

destroying hope
and healing 
an entry

too far to reach
too high to climb

where are the bridges
to connection

a hand held
out to another
releasing the fist
holding fear

face to face
do you see
seeing you

can we
a bridge