Once there was a little girl made of paper, with a hollow space in the middle that ate the world and never had enough. The space howled and whined and ate and ate, not just food, but love, and kindness, and pain, and anger, and courage, and all the things that make up a little girl, or even a big girl, until all that was left was what other people saw and said and stuck on. Then one day, the little girl had enough. She held on to her last story, holding until her fingers were on fire, until her tears melted in the fire, until her anger turned back to ice, and the last story came to be a strong, solid shell around the hole. The hole whined and snarled, but no matter how hungry it felt, how empty, the girl knew that it would never be filled. So she built her shell with the food, instead. She took the kindness, and the courage, and the words and words and words that everyone threw at her, and she used her pretty eyes to make them as pretty as she could, and pasted them into bright places and patterns on her hard, strong paper shell. Sometimes the hollow was stronger, and a few pieces were lost, but she always managed to find new ones, sometimes even better ones. And maybe she lived happily ever after, in her own way, and maybe she didn’t, but either way, she had a new name, and it would keep her safe. She was no longer the paper girl…she was the Paper Mache Girl!
frightened flower in the dark,
silent, cold, and trembling,
feeling every bite and bark,
each angry word, dissembling.
the glare of disapproval, shame,
searing unprotected skin,
a creature formed of guilt and pain,
that burns and burrows deep within.
fragile flower, tender child,
know the world is bright, and wide,
come out, come out, to gardens, wild,
and taste the sunlight deep inside!
Little girl lost, I fell through a hole,
my sanity serving to pay the toll,
my name they took to serve as well,
and all that’s left is an empty shell.
They call me “girl” and stroke my hair,
they strip my soul and body bare,
they feed me lies and pretty words,
and filter past in nightmare herds,
the faces blurring in my head,
mourners for the not-quite-dead.
my casket is as soft as silk,
my skin they keep as white as milk,
they brush my hair and whisper lies,
they turn their heads, avoid my eyes,
they pose the body carefully,
the pieces that are left of me
perform throughout the endless night,
and then lie still at mornings light,
a battered doll with broken strings,
a bird with torn and shackled wings.
crazy is as crazy does, sanity is immensely strained,
turns and twists of clever thought and pointed bits of pain
a straw-maze of impulse, instinct, and ugly gator-mind
tail-mind, the bit they left in when the model was redesigned
the bit that says do this, do that, hurry-hurry-quick
touch this, run from that, feel-feel-feel, it’s a trick!
hurting mind, frightened mind, shuffled dark and deep inside
curled around the tiny self, with nowhere left to hide
the missing why, the awful who, the stabbing pain of what
sliced away, the where and when, with many a jagged cut
acid pain of complicit how, engraved forever on the soul
world seen through filtered lenses, from the bottom of the hole
what did i do, what did i say,
what can i fix to make it ok?
i want to do better, i swear that i’ll try,
i won’t act too crazy, i won’t tell a lie,
i’ll do all my homework, every last bit,
so there’s no need to yell, and no need to hit,
i’m sorry i’m clumsy and lazy and loud,
i’m sorry i’m naughty and evil and proud,
i won’t think i’m smart, and i won’t act too dumb,
whenever you call me I’ll be sure to come,
i won’t get too dirty, i’ll wash my own clothes,
i’ll take my own bath and wipe my own nose,
i’ll wash all the dishes, and make you some tea,
i promise i love you…please, mommy, love me!
“I think it’s because I’m clumsy
I try not to talk too loud
Maybe it’s because I’m crazy
I try not to act too proud
They only hit until you cry
After that you don’t ask why
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
You just don’t argue anymore
Yes I think I’m okay
I walked into the door again
Well, if you ask that’s what I’ll say
And it’s not your business anyway
I guess I’d like to be alone
With nothing broken, nothing thrown”
My Name is Luca, by Suzanne Vega
This is my best try at making concrete a project that was born a month ago as a vague wish/plan with no real knowledge, and turn it into a living breathing book that will hopefully be a force in raising awarenes of the prevalence of abuse, and give the silent ones a voice that they seldom have.
Bones of Ash, Heart of Glass will be a free e-book aimed at people currently unaware/uneducated about abuse.
Many books have been published aimed at directly reaching the abused, survivors and those still hurting. Our target audience with “Bones” is those who may be aware of the problem, peripherally, but don’t know how to recognize it or to help. I want to write a page or two of signs of abuse, and resources for those willing to help, or at least reporting it. I also want to make it clear that it is a book for adults. The graphic images, portrayal of violence, and possible angry language, while necessary to show the true horror of abuse, is not appropriate for children.
I am making it a free e-book because I feel that it maximises the possibility for distribution and thus helps in fulfilling our goal of spreading awareness. Also, an e-book is considerably less stress than a published paper book, no worries about dealing with a publisher, cost, distribution, etc.
I will be making a separate post with the exact submission guidelines as they are firmed up, but for now: any and all types of submission are welcomed. poetry, prose, picture, photo, etc. length of piece is one of the things I need to firm up. since it’s an e-book there’s less limit…but in order to keep the readers attention, they shouldn’t be novel-length 😉 as stated above, graphic images and language, uncomfortable/triggering situations, and depictions of violence will be included. we need to show the true horror of abuse, not the sanitized version the television or a published book can. on the other hand, a story that is all violence or graphic imagery with no feel for the facts of what is actually happening, will be carefully considered, but may not be accepted.
Hopefully this helps clear up the confusion I inadvertently caused. I have a tendency to assume people can read my mind. It’s a bad habit that working with all of you is helping me break! I really want this book to work, and will be putting as much of myself as I can into it…and all I ask of you is your visions/imagination. *hugs*
She pulls her sleeves below her wrists
to hide the marks of angry fists,
and checks her face for signs of age,
puts makeup over signs of rage.
Her eyes are sad, her face is bright,
as she walks, smiling, to meet the night.
He meets her at the bottom stair,
the guests…his guests…already there.
An eyebrow raised, he takes her hand,
painfully, so she’ll understand.
His eyes meet hers with hate so real,
she shivers at the ice she feels.
She pastes a smile on, lady of the manor,
her expression proud as any banner.
The guests all see the beauty there,
holding hands upon the stair,
they cannot see the room inside,
where her dead heart must run and hide.
They cannot see the silent eyes,
the graveyard where her lost hope lies.
Alright, I am now officially hopping off my arse and getting to serious work on our book. To recap, here’s the story so far…
On Kyotzeta’s one month birthday, I wrote that I had an as yet vague idea to publish some sort of collection or book to raise awareness of all kinds of abuse and try to give a voice to the silent ones as I’ve tried to do with my words for so long. I asked for contributions (non-monetary) to the book, in any form preferred…prose, poetry, photo, picture, etc. However, at the time, I had no idea what it would take to publish such a book, or even whether it should be free or have a minimal cost with all money donated to a charity…
Over the weeks since then, I’ve (slowly) researched and thought about it, and so far these are my conclusions. Since this is to be -our- book, if anyone has any comments, complaints, suggestions or just plain ideas, please please please feel free to comment below!
So what we have so far:
The book will be (tentatively) titled Bones of Ash, Heart of Glass, and will take the form of a free e-book that anyone can download. (Not sure about format, going to try to go for the publishing software/site that has the most choices and yet still allows free books) I’m -considering- setting up some sort of donation site as well, but that will be separate from the book if possible. (*sighs* Why is it so -complicated- to do something good??)
Of course, all submissions will be properly attributed, and submitters will have the option of writing a short descriptional blurb for an “Authors” page. On the other hand, all submissions -must- be your own intellectual property, or something you have permission to use in this fashion. I know this hardly needs said… 🙂
Submissions should be sent to my email, email@example.com, with “book submission’ in the title. I want to try to have this done by fall, if possible, hopefully coinciding with the new school year…so the sooner you get me your submissions the better…on the other hand, don’t rush. Hopefully once I start collecting and organizing my stuff I’ll have a better idea of what kind of timeline we’re looking at…
Hrrmm…I think that’s all I have for now, except to say Thank You for considering this project, I think we’re going to do wonderful things toward the ultimate goal…raising awareness of every facet of abuse, giving a voice to all the silent ones and hope to the hopeless. *hugs*
KC & Co.
Anansi the Poet has made an interesting offer that I wanted to make people aware of, as it’s an awesome way to contribute to one of our/my pet causes, Abuse Awareness. I’ll let him (via my shaky c&p skillz) speak for himself. Take it away, Aunt Nancy!
“For every comment (one per person per poem) I receive on posts this week (including yesterday’s), I will donate a dollar to the New York Center For Children.
They are an amazing organization right in my neighborhood and I urge you all to contribute as well (if you can manage, of course). Either way, you should check them out. And while I’m at it, support SummerSolstice if you can as well.
She is bravely working to become an Abuse Awareness facilitator, educating those who work with children about warning signs and support programs.”
Awesome, right? Get on over there and help him spend all his money, people! 😉
KC & Co.
Where are the words to reveal what I hold,
the stone that sits on my heart?
No, not on my heart, but on my entire…soul?
On my mind, on my every last part.
There are no words to scrape off the web,
the cocoon built so strong long ago,
to show you the shame, to open the box,
to think that another should know.
I cannot think past the weight of the stone,
I fight and I bite and I hate,
but all that there is is the pain and the rage,
and help is too little, too late.
Too late for the one, who so long ago,
was caught in anothers sick game,
buried beneath the muck and the grime,
till no one remembers her name.
Too many new names have hidden her now,
created from hate and despair,
facets of what was a shining bright jewel,
now fractured beyond all repair.
Squabbling all in the depths of the mind,
spiraling out from the stone,
protecting and hurting and living and dying,
ensuring we’re never alone.
Talking around it can only disclose
that a void in the middle remains,
but for all that it’s worth, I give you this sight,
though it’s tattered and covered with stains.
This one was hard. It is very personal and isn’t very good, but I couldn’t stand to look at it too long so it stays as it is for now. It was written partly in response to a prompt about Nightmares…and partly because it needed to get out. I may yet feel inspired to put the prose version…the complete version…up, but not for a while yet.
blistered feet on lonely road,
mornings defiance fades with the heat,
the confident step with which she strode
replaced with a slower, faltering beat.
determination and childish pride
force her, limping, up the road
dreaming of air-conditioned ride
and respite from her heavy load.
dusty pickup, man inside,
caution makes her stop and think
to run or stay and take the ride
his weight provides the missing link
his bulbous size and her sleek form
make the decision practical
should he seem beyond the norm
she’ll run from him with movements tactical.
so into the cab go grateful feet
a smile for his reward
perched carefully on edge of seat
pretending to be slightly bored
a story slips from brain to tongue
a husband, and a runaway,
though surely he knows she is too young
he nods and listens anyway
asking questions quite unfit
for newmade “friends” of any age
but as she thinks she asked for it
she babbles on as if onstage
her destination made clear
he offers refreshment for the trip
promise of sugar stills her fear
and in his eyes the shadows rip
pop and pastry in her lap
they head once more toward the road
a hunter who waits to close the trap
he sighs, as if with heavy load.
he works “right here” in wooded plots
future happy family homes
the marked out “streets” are lined with lots
and at each end, a houses bones.
he must sign out from his work
and with him she cannot be found
so will she wait here in the murk
till he, with quickness, comes back round?
fear and guilt shake out a yes,
while denial has its say,
she sits inside the half-built mess
and hears the truck go on its way
she wanders to the open door
gazing out into the eve
at endless street and woods and more
that wait for her if she should leave
mind wraps heart in muffling song
the greyness coats her sight
body eats from habit strong
and dusk deepens to night
at last the pickups headlights beam
like screams they light the street
her limbs are lead or so they seem
and trash lies at her feet
he seems surprised to see her there
but quickly his smile returns
he brushes one hand through her hair
and behind his eyes he burns
do me a favor, please, he mumbles
his hand upon her shoulder
standing she moves without a stumble
the grey cocoon grows colder
what happens next she’ll never tell
the darkness hides it from her
only the awakening and the smell
the rest is a shivery blur
I’m sorry, he cries, I always am,
but I can’t seem to help it
I’ll make it up to you, I always do
and I’ll never do it again!
The words are lost in heartbeats roar
she pulls her ruined armor on
she thinks at least he’ll do no more
but his cruelty is still not gone
a worn out twenty dollar bill
is stuffed into her hand
the shame flares hard enough to kill
but he doesn’t understand
shuffling back to the cab of the truck
curling into herself
she struggles to feel, but breathes only muck
the world way up high, on a shelf.
Silent bedroom, the great divide,
though they still sleep side-by-side,
though he still turns and holds her tight,
claiming her all through the night,
murmuring dreams into her ear,
while she lays paralyzed by fear.
Silent kitchen, spotless clean,
glittering with an icy sheen,
gleaming light on spotless floor,
sharpness hidden in a drawer,
she hears them waiting, rustling,
she knows too well their deadly sting.
Silent parlor, dust free, still,
ceramic birds voice soundless trill,
cushions rise in lonely splendor,
old carpet lies in soft surrender,
witnesses to many an hour
of pain washed clean by sorrows shower.
Silent hallway, sunlit door,
colored beams on patterned floor,
front door, pathway to sunshine and life,
now hated gateway to anger and strife,
sound of door slamming brings sadness and fright,
his shadow looms large, erasing the light.
Silent woman, mask intact,
child inside by terror wracked,
head cast down to hide the eyes,
in hope that he won’t realize,
and seeing, take, and taking, kill,
so she remains, silent and still.
curly heads and shining faces
frightened eyes behind the walls
little targets, little weapons,
back and forth like ping-pong balls
angry voices, violent actions
little faces blind with pain
staring out of curtained windows
flowers turning toward the rain