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For a minute or more, I was dead as you,

as you were technically dead

before the end was absolute—

before your brain conceded.

For a minute or more, my world was edged in blossoming dark,

engrossing, on the cusp of consent.

Blackbirds congregated, chattered ‘round my head, and

they called dibs on my vital organs—

heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs.

One expressed explicit interest in

my spleen—

keen student of human anatomy,

morbid corvid.

Then a cardinal came with your breath on its wings,

and I breathed.

I just breathed.

I breathe still…

 

© Kindra M. Austin

image: Houston Audubon

 

 

 

I listen to Radiohead

when I contemplate killing you—

I want to smash your glass and

get at the inside of your meaning.

Shells tell different truths—

look at me.

See,

I’m right and tight

with my plastic teeth,

and painted eyes that never blink.

We mislead, you and me.

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© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Gifer)

 

 

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Hi.

I’m Kindra—alcoholic.

It’s been thirsty seconds since my last drink, and

thirty nine years since my last confession.

I turn forty in December.

I’ve kissed a few girls,

dropped acid

once,

finger fucked myself eleventy hundred times, and

committed adultery with an Englishman

who won’t leave me alone—

my pussy is lined with gold.

I smoke pot with my dad,

who abhors alcohol.

 

Hi.

I’m Kindra.

My mother was an alcoholic.

I don’t know how many times she’d

finger fucked herself, or how many joints

she’d smoked while riding shot-gun with my dad.

I don’t know if she’d ever dropped acid, or how many times

she might’ve wished she could confess to a god who’d

forsaken her.

All I know is that her life isn’t my problem—

I don’t have to make amends on her behalf.

 

My name is Kindra, and I battle against alcoholism.

I understand why I use, and I’m determined to

crush the crutches.

 

I’m determined to live for me.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: The Piano Bar)

 

 

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I buried myself by the seaside ‘neath a sky

patchwork grey and sobbing. Never in life had

I been so severely revered for my truths.

Posthumous respect is a backhanded compliment that

bleeds into my grave, cold and unimportant.

Ain’t nothing much that matters to a corpse.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Pinterest)

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Come on down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

The last time I saw you is

unsatisfactory in hindsight.

Retrospection is a bitch dressed in my skin—

I’ve become leprous.

I may not pray to God, but I do

talk to Jesus. My words

fall on dead ears.

Christ will not come to me.

And if only for a quick minute, you will not

come down from there.

*

Your mother keeps on ringing me.

I don’t answer.

Does my cruelty hurt you terribly?

Some things I just can’t do to honor you.

To answer is to satisfy Jehovah, and I do not

wish to please Him. He’d used her willing hands to

ruin you. I’ve decided that

forgiving trespasses does not heal me.

Leave the forgiving to God.

Some things are simply

unforgivable

by the human heart.

*

You were both meaner and kinder than me.

I float about the in-between,

neither better nor worser.

Mother, how could you have

ever thought yourself

lesser than me?

You were my teacher—

the one who’d showed up

drunk every day,

but a teacher nonetheless.

And I wish you’d come down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

*

Come on down from there,

if only for a quick minute.

The last time I saw you is

unsatisfactory in hindsight.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: Rick Richards)

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Thinking about it now, I’m not the least bit

sorry for the hateful shit I’d said to you

eleventy years ago, when I was a kid

and you fucking knew better.

I rescind my apologies.

Not that my sorries ever meant a good

goddamn to you, anyway—

they were ever only as true as your own,

anyway.

Insincerity: a common factor.

 

No, that’s not true…the truth is complex.

 

I wish I hadn’t apologized so much for defending myself

against you.

And I wish you hadn’t rolled over so easily whenever

I called you out. I wish you’d properly raged against

the reasons you were the way you were. Sure,

you’d spoken of the ghosts that breathed inside of you—

warned me of them—but never did you

exorcise them. Never did you make them scream in terror.

 

Not that your armor went unused. You’d fought your best all your life…

 

I am greater than you had ever hoped to be. I’ve welded your chainmail

to my own, and I am running into battle with your heart sewn into my banner.

Mother mine, I know your truths; yours are mine, and I will defend them,

always.

 

I will make your ghosts and mine scream in terror.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

23

The day was grey-blue, echo of your eyes;

sky filled up with promise of rain,

and we waited for beloved petrichor.

Lemon yellow and speckled black,

a noble friend

clasped

your flaxen strands and flexed its wings.

What dreams did she bring, my darling?

Do you know how often

I dream of the daylight that dances

upon your face?

Formed inside my body, you are

living art,

gusting love from

honest lungs—

you speak your truths.

Honor your heart always, baby girl,

and you’ll always be rewarded with

self-respect.

Live kindly,

and the butterflies

will flock to you,

forever.

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Dust with hearts pumping, and

lungs screaming

love and hate and sex and violence.

Dust with stomachs aching—

too much

designer caramel latte, and blood in the streets.

Dust with mouths vomiting rhetoric.

Dust with ears hearing

but never listening.

 

© Kindra M. Austin

(image: The Babylon Bee)

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Just another day
just another town
bullet perforated backpacks
spilling loose-leaf lined paper, textbooks
onto blood stained sidewalks
helicopters hovering
to give us the birds eye view
I tried to avert my eyes
out of respect for the dead
the injured
but I could not look away
Christine Ray

Even though I should
Because I am ashamed
At the bullets that rain
At the bullet point pain
Etched in their faces, rivulets in their eyes
They were just children, stolen from their time
Not forgotten in these lines
But to their parents and loved ones
It’s a void they’ll never fill, and it shouldn’t
Lives shredded and ruined
17 times we’ve gotten the chance to do better
and for the 18th, we blew it
Just like those children who looked at their killer

Their killer is not Nikolas

The Killer is you
Devereaux Frazier

Seventeen blossoms
seventeen blinks of an eye
seventeen bullets in the body of spring
and those left behind
food to flashback phobias
memory outbursts
numbing
Spring won’t be coming
in a town far away
in a country across the sea
right next to me
Basilike Pappa

Running
Running for class president
Running for the Varsity Football Team
Running to get in line for a movie they can’t wait to see
Running to embrace someone they love
Running and laughing with siblings or friends
Running to get to the dance floor before their favorite song ends
Running for exercise
Running for fun
They should never be running from the thunder of a gun
We’re destroying our future for profit and gain
While they run for their lives
And we’re left with questions and pain
Eric Syrdal

Look away, little bird.
The sky has adjourned, rejecting your flight path
well into wrath.
hell hath no fury like the anger turned apathy, semi-automatic rhapsody that plays on
the overhead speaker that once freed us
from maths.

It doesn’t add up, the physics, social studies, introduction to business, life and
death 101.

Nothing could prepare us for the words we don’t have.
Nicholas Gagnier

Lives swung into darkness
and voices numbed
Eyes losing hope
and
Blood on the hands, soul
screams and tears everywhere

Deafening silence of the death
and roaring sound of the violence
life stripped of its happiness
and tears losing the feeling

Yet again, My heart is hopeful
Lips in unison with the prayers
Trying to calm my self down
Thinking It won’t happen again

But deep down inside
I know we all are living in denial.
Megha Sood

Spare me your
thoughts and prayers.
Spare me your
people-kill-people babble.
Seventeen more names
added to a statistic
that will never be used.
So, by all means,
let’s keep sending
millions of dollars a year
to powerful people
in exchange for turning
a blind eye.
Proving over and over again
that dollars mean more
than lives.
Sarah Doughty

Seventeen more reasons we grieve.
Seventeen more reasons we’re
broken as a nation.
Seventeen more reasons we must
rise up
a giant against apathy, and
negligence—
willful ignorance.
Destroy the dissidence.
End the agenda of greed.

Our freedoms are not free—
seventeen more innocent souls sacrificed.
Kindra M. Austin

True horror has unfolded,
We watch on glowing screens of disbelief.
With the voices of innocents ringing in our ears,
Fingers swipe it all away.
As others moved on with their day,
I could not look away.

Grief, pain, disbelief,
All right there, before our eyes.
Yet one headline replaces the next,
That gut wrenching sadness suddenly replaced.
As the topic changes to something else,
I could not look away.

Where is our humanity,
I ask as society moves on from this butchered elephant in the room.
Can’t we just stop and think,
Acknowledge the death, the suffering, the wrongness.
Another day will come and go, setting on our community,
We cannot look away.

Doomed to repeat this dreadful fate,
We need to choose to change.
Insanity is as insanity always does,
As we continue to place ammunition with malignant intent.
What can I do, the individual, the lone soul, this:
I will not look away.
Michael Erickson

We
Only
Have ourselves
To blame for this
Again and again
An unsolved tragedy
We must hold ourselves to task
For every death. Every child
Like spent shells fallen to the ground
Souls adrift to haunt those who do not act –
Who do not act again and again and again
I cannot look away again, again, again
Again
Again
Again
Again
Again, again, again, again, I cannot look away, not again.
Stephen Fuller

I cannot look away
From the train wreck shit show
This country has become,
Where cash in a senator’s pocket
Outweighs the blood of our children,
Where losing your ‘right’ to own an assault rifle
Is more an abomination
Than Children being murdered in school
Than human beings dying at a concert in Vegas
Than parents burying their babies.
The blood on your hands will not wash away.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where kids call presidents out on their bullshit.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they won’t let hypocrites hide.
I’m with you in Parkland!
Where they call BS on the lies.

I’m with you in Parkland!
John W. Leys

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