How do we reconcile perfidious
deeds that tainted our childhoods, toxic drench
alcoholic fumbles too hideous
to bear? Credibility now entrenched

in the lies repeated like lullabyes
until I’m here tongue-tied. A wise woman
holding an abused child who feels goodbyes
are her only way, slipping out, pulling

the stress of reality’s twisted mess–
testament to her brilliance. Frustration
eats away all hope. Strong now, I confess
loudly, for silence quenches creation.

Inspired by: Frustration, Reconcile and Perfidious and so many deeply traumatic events emerging to be healed.

Into The Shadows

Watching powerful men lash out triggers me,
the child deep within that I thought to erase.
She’s hell-bent on dying, her one way to flee
and it’s sheer misery on her sad little face.

I meditate now, cultivate inner space.
I have wisdom, support, I write poetry.
Still, a friend suggests chill pills or hikes as I face
watching powerful men lash out triggers me

I open the past, I’ve climbed my family tree.
I shine the light on what could not be embraced,
past battles, where conquered, in chains couldn’t be
the child deep within that I thought to erase.

I’m a strong woman now, I strengthen my base,
Moving forward no longer, at last I see
she’s mired in the past, she is stuck in that place.
She’s hell-bent on dying, her one way to flee.

There is no quick fix, a change magically
I open my heart and I work, seeking grace
as the echoes resound down the vast centuries
and it’s sheer misery on her sad little face

It’s well worth the fight, claiming all that’s debased
for the children, the silenced, those who can’t see
or claim dark shadowplay, understanding apace
the rich complex nature, master puppetry:
watching powerful men lash out triggers me

A rondeau redoublé written for #OctPoWriMo Day 6: Conquered

Guess Who’s Here!

Everywhere I turn today, I meet women on the edge of tears trying to square the circle, and men who are scoffing, uneasy and raging at the threat of exposure.

Look, every time I hear

“alleged sexual assault” in your

dismissive tone, a young child

deep inside me stirs,

each movement opening

shuttered memories.  You left her:

two weeks of torture

with a monster who stuck his tongue

deep into her mouth,

his fingers shaming her.

And on your return, he made sure

to tell stories of 

disobedience before you 

and your furious belt were

alone with her.

How could you, 

god, you were furious

that I dared to run away from him,

frozen and speechless,

for what eight-year-old has the

vocabulary to describe 

that violation?  And the next time

he came to stay with his triumphant

leer, you had no time or patience

with me, selfish child

trying to ruin

your fine trip with my panic-

stricken don’t go.

Listen, this week, she’s been waking 

me every night, released at last.

I believe her.  She finds 

I was raped

the missing words.  

He’ll kill me if I tell.

I sit with her terror

I’m better off dead

until dawn and then

weary, stumble into

your voice disdaining the present

woman on the screen

trying to ruin 

a man’s fine life

by testifying.

And hey, FYI,

that’s me in the spotlight

facing my dead-eyed heartless judges.

Where are you in this picture?

Just so you know

exactly who you belittle,

I am choosing to live

today, and I finally

have the ugly words

for what I had to learn in darkness.


Inspired by Alan’s Ark recycled Daily Prompts: Circle

We Choose Life Again

Sometimes I feel like shit about having such awful depression and lack of motivation and I wonder why I want to die all the time, and then I remember I’ve survived sexual assault from 5 different abusers. ~ @khomkhaawii

In the middle of the night

she wakes me, recalcitrant

and restlessly suicidal, and it’s such

a vulnerable time of drunken plunder

when my heart lost, I join in her vigil,

even though

I survived in the daylight

a gradual reach for

sunny, even jaunty, head held high.

It is only now, at sixty —

look, I didn’t break — a lithe

willow dancing through the tempest

to gather all the missing pieces

abandoned in pitched battles

of childhood, adolescence, young woman-

hood.  We choose life, little one,

although his dark presence

penetrates the web

cries and wails for justice,

supreme in his belief

that he is entitled to our silence

while we sing with shining voices

that light the terrible vision

of our sisters, still caged.

And we’re going back, dammit,

we’ll leave

no woman behind.

Rising like breath

after rough, stolen kisses,

the threat of death

is our home and even so,

the innovation of love powers

us, and we choose

to open our eyes at dawn

and drop the pretense

of sleep, crawling with painful

precision as we choose life today.



Inspired by: Heart, Innovation, Gradual, Lithe, Jaunty, Justice and pure heartbreak #MeToo

Hear Loud and Clear

This group of exemplary

old white men have no idea

how to cajole us; instead

they threaten and scoff,

excuse and dismiss.

This is how it goes:

you are a woman

lying tramp,

and you need to shut up

about what happened in the dark,

it’s all your fault, we need

to get on with the important

business of deciding

what you can do

when we deposit

our glorious seed in your body.

You’re a slut either way,

so don’t expect handouts

for the brat.  And if your child

of rape becomes desperate,

we will incarcerate him

for life; he’ll never get a vote.

We white men age differently,

we’ll be boys — don’t judge

us.  We make mistakes, but

that shouldn’t ruin our

lives.  Only yours.

Inspired by: cajole, exemplary


His mentor is a disgraced

judge who used sex threats

to terrify and silence women.

He joins a trumped up parade of good 

men all accused 

of forcing and degrading

cruel humiliation

as if they sprang from Zeus’

mouth instead of their mother’s

vagina.  And maybe they all

shared a cesarean birth —

the psychologists ponder,

but right now the finches

are fluttering and chittering wildly

as if to say the goad is

the element of emptiness 

behind those cold dead eyes

feelings numbed by alcohol

and greed, an incessant

addiction to more and more

of what will never satiate

or even finger the dread

and the longing, deep holes

the smart men fill

faster and faster, a firehose

spewing the inner judgments 

they are incapable of making, 

so this fierce

unrelenting projection and the



grabbing by the

places most tender, the utterly

vulnerable violation they will forget

and deny, scrambling up that lonely

crumbling hill with the wolves

at their feet and the basilisk

already the victor, leaning

against the heart of stone.

Inspired by: Mentor, Element, Smart


Quick, draw the curtains

to hide them; call them

ghosts or skeletons, nervous laughter

feeling haunted.  But they are living,

breathing, groaning like that

drunk high school boy who’s

cornered you and covers your mouth

as he grinds himself on you,

ripping off your clothes to the tune

of his inebriated buddy’s giggles.

He wants to sweep it

under the rug today, standing

with such gloss facing

the committee of mostly men

who firmly buried their own

uneasy memories

grab and grope and insist

with tongues and fingers

engorged and blasted

out of their minds, so it really

doesn’t count.  A hastily dug

grave with fragile soil atop

and it doesn’t occur

to any of you that we see it.

We tune right in and see

what your heart holds.  You’ve

introduced a palette of swirling

lies to paint a new reality

but we aren’t interested,

not when the fearsome truth

lies exposed, beating and gasping

like a fish out of water.

And we feel with compassion

as the jumanji blocks of your life

come crashing down in this

precision of love we apply.

We usher you firmly

to a healing place — not

this court, even as you

scream your colorful curses

and paint the victim once again.

Inspired by: fragile, gloss,  palette, and an article, “The Education of Bart O’Kavanaugh” by @JuddLegum in Popular Information today.

What’s Worth Defending

You had to stand in line to hate him. – Hedda Hopper

Once upon a time, I would have dissolved

into helpless tears much later, encircled 

only by my mistreated ancestors.

Today I can’t find my boarding

pass as I join the queue and 

I’m beyond vexed, searching

through meaningless bits of paper

while the crowd jostles and 

presses until I whirl in fury.

“Do NOT press that against me!”

And the entire line shocked

into silence turns in rabid

fascination to listen to his mumbled,

“I didn’t mean to make you

uncomfortable,” which I reject

in my most — I mean, I gotta say,

freaking fantastic 

modern embodiment of Pele —

lethal voice everyone cranes to hear,

“I’ll knee you so hard that tomorrow

you’ll still wish you didn’t

have that cock.”  And I catch

the eye of a huge man

in front of me who is so 

here for me, and gesture

grandly, “Please go ahead

of me, try pushing your

self against him.” 

And to the sidestepping

pervert — I mean, literally protecting 

himself now with arms crossed 

and lowered, I hiss, “I have three

brothers, don’t think I won’t.”

And there are women with their

husbands who are shocked,

but others clap slowly

and firmly, declaring themselves

resources, sisters-in-arms

who have fought this battle

so I go back to my search,

heart pounding and so damn alive,

knowing they have my back.


Inspired by: DissolveEncircleVex, Modern