|We Will Not Turn Away
The poets of this collection have donated their works, and stand together to make an unforgettable statement
that abuse in our communities and homes will not be accepted in silence. To honor their gift of words, a
regular donation is made to CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), to help support their programs as a safe
haven for survivors of abusive environments. Please use the link below to visit CASA's website, and learn
more about their activities.
by Lisa M. Bradley
Tar snakes plug cracks in the highway
rippling like manic vipers under our tires
Strewn along the broken shoulder of the road
the tattered carcasses of worn-out rubber
tickle our wheels with frayed fingers of desperation
Far out, over fields of mesquite and cacti
hawks circle a pre-feast with the patience,
the weary vigilance, of those dead themselves
And you keep looking at me with those rattlesnake eyes.
Driving, once flying, is now a slow-motion race
against an impassive blue sky
and a throttling blanket or heat
The furnace breath streaming past my window
keens with the steadiness of a seashell
screaming of loneliness, death, and waste,
screaming of despair, destruction, and hell
And though the sun sears darkness across my sight,
I still can't escape your rattlesnake eyes.
copyright Lisa M. Bradley
|Making the Sacrifices
by Ann K. Schwader
women do & she does
the cheek she turns
your handprint branded
in purple and crimson paisley
rites of God & whiskey
the lies she weaves
like meek gospel whenever
most anyone questions her pain
that spreading stain
shaming her soul
the wine she spills
to a wild bitch moon
imagining your blood
copyright Ann K. Schwader
painting copyright Malcolm Deeley
by Venus Jones
The cross, the sword, and the plane are all shaped the same.
Disconnected lines are a reflection of his circumcised pain.
On a chain that's wrapped around his neck, he bears a cross
It's missing the nurturing loop; the cord has been cut
Here lies a newborn with eyes frozen from too much estrogen loss.
Some flags stay at half-mast in The Divided States
where infants suffer from symptoms of a killer flu.
During the last election debate, stats regarding blacks and HIV were given.
The financial response in 2002 was more shocking than the verbal
which was, "Who knew?"
Little to nothing was done or said
about blue eyed children lying dead in all those bright and dark hallways.
Never really listened to Marvin's song.
Never really cared about what's going on
with brown eyed girls or boys in the hood,
"Anyways! Gangs bring down the grimy ghettos."
A mother with three jobs bangs her head on the wall in search of green relief.
Her gifted son lived with countless threats,
before a cop's bullet gave him peace.
We travel to the Middle West and find
sour milk spilled on a pink prom dress.
Black letters on yellow tape are blowing in the wind,
Like the crusaders we charge in to a schoolyard full of white chalk lines.
Lil' Joe's being tucked under
his last sheet on Plantation Drive for the last time.
Can you imagine
a news team around sixteen year old Keisha's body on MLK?
Can you see the last flash from the camera that confirms it's too late to pray?
What's done in the dark will show up on the shore on his trip to the lake.
Every sixty seconds a woman feels the heavy weight of rape.
Is it a symbol of death or is it a crime that I still want the blind to see?
If only the strong survive, what happens to me and three million meek?
What happens to the poor and homeless children of the wealthiest's weak?
Some quote the Book of Revelations and speak of doomsday.
Soon and very soon we are going to see the King, that's what they say.
But first the meek will inherit what's left of the earth.
If that's so, when will the crooked and the straight piper begin to pay?
The woman with the outstretched arm is slowly sinking into quicksand.
The king of the world isn't hungry but he's biting Mother Earth's hand.
His brother's grumbling belly gives him no sense of gratitude or relief.
The king drops some crumbs so he won't question the cause of his grief.
He grants death before life, seeking judgment more than heaven's grace.
The cross and the sword he wears protects and scars his smirking face.
copyright Venus Jones
We thank the contributors of these works, and ask that readers respect their copyrights. Do not print or
distribute any of this poetry or art without permission.
Ann K. Schwader lives and writes in Colorado. She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of
America, Horror Writers Association, and Science Fiction Poetry Association. Her poems have
appeared in Strange Horizons, Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Dark Wisdom, Mythic Delirium, and
elsewhere. Learn more at www.geocities.com/HPL4ever/
Originally from South Texas, Lisa Bradley often pens dark poetry and prose rooted in that near-desert setting. Her work has
appeared in ChiZine, Brutarian Quarterly, Escape Pod, Mythic Delirium, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, and elsewhere.
She is also a freelance copyeditor who has edited books on biostatistics, music, sub-Saharan Africa, female
septuagenarians, and William Morris.
Venus Jones is a model, actress and poet. She has opened for Def Poetry Jam on Broadway,
and is a three-time Tampa Bay area slam winner. Her poetry has been published in the UK's
X magazine, featured at the Salvador Dali Museum, The Improv, and many venues, conferences,
schools and festivals across the country. She is the author of the inspiring poetry collection
"She Rose". To view more of her works, please visit her website at venusjones.com.