Spoken Word:Where Did You Go? Written by 1WiseWoman/A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave & Read by Christine Ray/Brave and Reckless

I am deeply honored that 1WiseWoman invited me to make a spoken word version of her poem Where Did You Go?  Please visit her blog A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave to read more of her powerful words.


Where did you go?

Little one

With your smile as big as the sun

When did running

Change from game to survival

When did hide and seek

Become staying hidden

You were always first in line

Brave and limitless

Shouting from the top of the pines

Who hurt you?

Little one


She says, with eyes on the ground

Where she believes she belongs

Among the dirt and trash

Birthed with the seeds

Of poisonous weeds

Planted deeply in her soft heart

Cursed from the start

She has tired of running

But cannot stay

Not this way

The hurt is rooted

Pain undiluted

And every step is wrong

Remember you were so strong?

Little one

That time has gone

It was taken without permission

By the ones who proclaimed true love

In the shape of fists and shoves

And whispers behind closed doors

Stolen away in lies and betrayal

Reflected in swollen eyes of hazel

Revealed in protruding ribs

Deprived of essential substance

She is truth, seeking justice

Will you come back?

Strong one

I want to

She says, with shaking voice

It is time to make a choice

Take back that which is essential

Bury the inconsequential

Surrounded by passion revealed

Verity no longer concealed

Climb the tallest tree

Know that you are free

Strength beyond bounds

You were lost

Now you are found

Young Wolf

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sunk our adult friendship

my insistence

black lives matter

collided against

your thin blue line

shower of defensive red sparks

yet you still cross my mind

I remember

15 year old boy

dirty blond hair

spilling over one blue eye

snaggle-tooth smile

crushing hard on another girl

on our island of misfit toys

can’t remember when

ground started to shift

on tectonic plates

pushing us onto the same continent

until we were stealing first kisses

in blue twilight

mosquitoes feasting on our legs

seamless transition

from you + I

to us

your hackles raised

police dog on alert

every time he was near

didn’t need to tell you

you instinctively knew

something was wrong

the way he looked at me

talked to me

baited me

punished me

for my rage-filled self-emancipation

in my tweens

sometimes I would still fold up

an origami fortress

after he was gone

a lesser…

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This Room is Not for Rent

The Greek chorus has declared me

damaged beyond repair

incapable of a “normal” life

“better off dead” say the well-meaning citizens

than “broken”

preferring the image of the golden haired innocent child angel

comforted by a merciful God

over the living angry woman

who refuses to be silent

I try not to let these voices

rent space in my head

they are destructive tenants

who forfeit their security deposit

scrawl graffiti in red lipstick on my walls








I try not to buy into the vitriol

when they imply that my life has no meaning

that I am an abomination

a red, raw, bleeding thing they deem too unseemly to look at

unfit for polite society

“Fuck You!” I want to shout at the top of my lungs with my hands covering my ears

Some days it is hard to find the armor of my rage

when I am just so god damned tired

of having to prove over and over again

that I am worthy of continued existence

that I deserve to walk this earth

breathe the oxygen

as if I am the one who must continue to do penance

for other’s sins


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


Unleash the Dragon

I was reminded today that there are those

who read the label “Survivor”

and instead only see

only hear


Who will deem me “damaged”

incapable of a “normal” life

There are days

I struggle

There are nights

I bleed

the wolves howl at my door

and I am sure that I can be hard to love

but it is an insult

a mistake

to tell me that I will only ever be my brokenness

when it is my steel

my grit

my ridiculous stubbornness and pride

that has carried me so far

I am a survivor

Forged in the fires of hell

I am a survivor

Tempered in the oceans of tears

I am a survivor

Who emerged a dragon

And I am fierce


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

Anatomy of a Flashback

I come back to myself this morning

find that I am staring at the wallpaper

unconsciously tracing geometric patterns with my fingertip

over and over

I am not the strong blue lines that intersect

I am the empty white spaces in the center of the hexagons

I am the void

The memory is an old one

I am 16? 17? 18?

deeply asleep in my bedroom, my sanctuary

someone is touching me

caressing my body

kissing my mouth

I cannot open my eyes

I cannot move at all

I fight against the sleep that is holding me in a vice grip


trying to rouse myself

as I am being touched without my consent

Turns out that it is my girlfriend trying to wake me up from a deep sleep

not wanting to shake me violently

She has already tried calling my name

shaking my shoulder

In a moment of Sleeping Beauty romanticism

she has decided to wake me with a kiss

not realizing how it would panic me

trigger me

because I rarely speak of such things

As I reclined yesterday full of needles

this memory returns in all its technical glory

The sensations on my skin

my mouth

my helplessness

my panic

at being unable to shake off sleep

unable to set boundaries

unable to stop this invasion of my body

I remind myself over and over again

That I am safe now

I am safe

As I calm my breathing, and fight or flight receeds

a knowledge with remarkable clarity

a knowledge with a crystal clear ring of truth rises up from the pensieve of memory

I suddenly understand why I was so upset with my girlfriend that long ago day

A truth my psyche had been blocking unfolds

This was not the first time that this had happened to me

This was not the first invasion staged while I slept


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved


Pins and Needles

Thunder has been rumbling for the last few weeks under my skin

hair standing up on the back of my neck

my arms

a storm has been brewing

I am edgy, uncomfortable

reality keeps twisting into a Dali landscape

I keep ending up in the lost and found bin



unable to account for all my minutes

all my hours

They say that our brains are remarkable at protecting us from trauma

from what we are not ready to consciously face

My brain and I are having a difference of opinion on just how ready I am for sensoroma film clips to come bubbling up to my surface right now

I remember. . .

keeps echoing in my head

I don’t know that I really wanted to remember anymore than I already do

I hope to find humor yet about it happening during the middle of an acupuncture treatment

apparently reception is pretty good on the Flashback Channel with needles penetrating my skin

maybe next time I’ll skip the silver foil blanket. . .


© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved

The Untreasure Box

It sits on the edge

of my peripheral vision

I try not to look at it

pretend it’s not there

She gives it a name

The Box

Asks if it is alright if we simply acknowledge

that The Box is in the room with us

I am hot and cold

a little queasy

rendered speechless

What would Miss Manners say?!

It feels like a breach of etiquette

to mention The Box

But really

this is why I am here

This has always been

why I am here

I try to look at the box

really see it

before my eyes slide gratefully away

I register

that The Box is bulging

The Box is breathing



© 2017 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All rights Reserved