Testify! – A Collaboration

Originally published on Blood Into Ink

Elephants in the arena,
drowning out the stories as
we all hear them,
stomping on
the flowerbed scenery
they’ve built around your garden of rot,
and without a
second thought,
sold the world a
wilting centerpiece
(Nicholas Gagnier)

And His Daughter Prayed for Her
She didn’t really know why
She prayed she’d not meet a guy
At a party; ‘cause he’d liked beer
That sudsy stuff she’d now fear


The louder we toast
The better the truth we spew
Just another pint
The truth becomes toxic stew
We’ll all agree
Got the votes of the old crew
Now let’s all meet
At Four P’s and grab a brew
(Stephen Fuller)

Oh! look at him
when the venom drips from his slithering tongue
and he moans and screams
to validate his flagrant lies
and the white privilege
agrees in complete unison

Hiding behind the female prosecutor
those bunch of naysayers,
shreds and rips the reality in bits and pieces
oh! she should have reported it sooner?

Where the validity of her truth never mattered
it would never be
a grain of sand in their eyes of ignorance
too hard to ignore,
too painful to realize
an exercise in futility.
(Megha Sood)

If only I knew
that high school and college
were hunting grounds
for people like you.
The ones that worked hard
with all their money,
physical talent, and popularity.
Those predators were untouchable.
Little did I know that being
in an empty hallway,
a bus ride at night,
or walking home from school
was a dangerous act.
If only I knew that predators
come in all forms,
and not all monsters
have hideous faces.
The word of a quiet, unknown girl
would never match
the thoroughbred males
that dominated my world.
If speaking up would only lead
to more labels, accusations, and bullying,
why say anything at all?
The shame and guilt
was already overwhelming.
Why add insult to injury — literally?
(Sarah Doughty)

Get out of my head
my body, my bed
take your license for molesting
somewhere they welcome it
there’s no show tonight
the actress fled the stage
finding herself unable to fake
why bruises keep cropping up
like blooms of rot on her body
the price paid for her art
they told everyone she wanted
to be gang-banged at the after party
where lilies to congratulate her success
lay strewn on much trod floors
as they ground her soul to flour
she felt the wink out of valor
how can I go on from this?
where is my sword? My strength
to rise above their dissection and
penchant for ownership with violate
lend me a knife so I can slice
their pretty little grins of entitlement
right off their wolfish mouths
(Candice Louisa)

the self-righteous hiss
under their breath and
in the comments sections
their venom dripping deep
so like their ancestors
who spit ‘WITCH’ and
from forked tongues
when truth spoken
shattered the community
(Christine E. Ray)

Devil’s dancing fingers go
tapping at the keys,
and shifty voices surge.
Virulence is vomited into microphones:

“She lies!”
Meanwhile, we continue
to learn that some of our friends are despicable people—
discover stomach turning rhetoric and defense of abusers.
Women blaming women…

I’m fuckin disgusted by all the questions:

“Why didn’t you report this sooner?”
“Why did you put yourself in that situation, anyway?”
“Why even bother speaking out now?”

We’re under attack,
and I’m armed to the nines.
(Kindra M. Austin)

you formed thick callouses
padding o’er those wounds
I watched how you bled
as you peeled them off.
you held your composure
just so
/a shield and your frying pan/
at arms’ length
peering from behind spectacles
uttering carefully poured
analytical professorial articulations.

I saw you shake
we all did
your sisters in conversant
I bled alongside you
as you clawed off your skin
in the service of truth
that bitch named
greater good
and I felt the warm sanguinary
as your demons feasted
on your vulnerable flanks
all the while.

he is laughing still
isn’t he?
(Aurora Phoenix)

The abuse began so long ago that I can’t quite place a finger on the exact moment my heart shattered for the first time. I don’t have an “I remember it so vividly” story, for that moment, because there is so much water – so much water between me and the shore. I want so badly to plant my anchors of feet into that wet sand and refuse to budge ever again. But my reality is one of drowning and resuscitation; only to end up with another mouthful of water and flailing hands. Memories do fade, especially when the waves do not relent. But, it doesn’t make the assault or the sting nonexistent. Must we bleed all over you in order for you to believe? By the power of 3 × 3 karma let them see. Let them see. As I will it, so mote it be.
(Susan M. Conway)

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