December 19, 2014

Advent Day 19 * ROBIN F. BROX!


I remember what I was wearing
I remember those green cords and green shirt and no bra
I remember kissing him
I remember being pushed up the stairs
I remember resisting
I remember him pulling off my clothes
I remember him leaving my socks on
I remember being pushed onto my parents' bed
I remember the party downstairs
I remember getting drunk on Boone's Country Farm and vodka so cheap no wonder I don't know its name
I remember my brother asleep across the hall
I remember my rapist on top of me
I remember him inside of me
I remember it didn't hurt
I remember my body moving but not feeling
I remember feeling paralyzed
I remember feeling not paralyzed but anesthetized
I remember his sweat dripping on my cool forehead
I remember that drip splash so vividly, the indelible mark of a certain failure
I remember him rolling me over
I remember him saying, “I just want to look at you”
I remember asking him, “Are you done yet?”
I remember he said no
I remember pulling my clothes on fast
I remember going for a walk
I remember how my tits felt running across Main Street afterward
I remember saying, “It was nothing it was just sex it was nothing”
I remember discovering what he'd written in my yearbook that night
I remember feeling sick to my stomach
I remember forgetting
I remember smoking
I remember smoking when sad, smoking when angry, smoking when disgusted, smoking the same cigarettes as him when I felt masochistic; yeah, I remember Marlboro Reds
I remember it all coming back to me months later
I remember it was autumn, getting ready for the fall play
I remember standing in the shop backstage by the rows of stinking paints and it all came back to me
I remember my friend Melissa asking, “What's wrong?”
I remember saying, “It wasn't just sex, it wasn't nothing—I was raped”
I remember her saying, “I knew it. I knew it as soon as you came down the stairs”
I remember the realization
I remember checking out I Never Called It Rape from the public library
I remember finally talking about it
I remember the woman on the phone from the kids' helpline I called in the middle of the night telling me I wasn't raped because I didn't say the word “no”
I remember writing my college admissions essay about it
I remember getting into every school I applied to
I remember having flashbacks
I remember having sexual dysfunctions
I remember ceasing to masturbate because I thought that was why it didn't hurt
I remember feeling hate, rage, fear
I remember feeling alone
I remember seeing him, or guys who looked like him freaking me out
I remember seeing him out, and first I felt scared and then I felt angry, like how dare he come to my coffee shop
I remember my boyfriend at the time saying Hi to him that night
I remember feeling pissed off and betrayed
I remember feeling pleased when he left, thinking good, you'd better leave
I remember learning that many of my friends were raped, too
I remember stories in the dorms
I remember stories at bars
I remember stories at parties
I remember stories eerily like mine
I remember stories told for a crowd and those told in secrecy to me and those only hinted at
I remember talking about it
I remember nightmares
I remember writing about it
I remember blaming myself
I remember stopping
I remember Take Back The Night 
I remember stories late at night over the phone
I remember making people laugh one year at Take Back The Night 
I remember that it felt good
I remember finally being able to tell my family
I remember that first horrible counselor
I remember the next counselor and the one after that
I remember being too scared to leave my room
I remember the shrink who wanted me to find God and go to rehab
I remember the next doctor
I remember not liking him
I remember talking to my therapist over the phone every week
I remember being unable to orgasm
I remember being unable to eat
I remember relationships disintegrating around me
I remember subsisting on hot cocoa and orange juice
I remember doing nothing but sitting smoking watching TV
I remember losing jobs
I remember moving too much
I remember my cat being one of the few good things in my life
I remember dropping out of therapy
I remember the ringing in my ears
I remember getting my personality back
I remember feeling better
I remember lying in bed
I remember making myself go through the motions
I remember having to call for counseling again and not getting anywhere
I remember giving up on the idea
I remember I'm getting better
I remember how hard it is
I remember having more flashbacks, even years later
I remember the rage, the anger creeping back in of late, now that I'm supposed to be “over it”
I remember feeling like reading this would be stupid or meaningless like public humiliation like dissection for a crowd
I remember feeling conflicted about continuing to share
I remember thinking, “Fuck you, of course you don't want to hear it, but did you ever think that I don't want to live it?”
I remember Gloria Anzaldúa's words: “A woman who writes has power. And a woman with power is feared.”

ROBIN F. BROX is the author of Sure Thing (Blazevox, 2011) and Of Fracture (Xerox Sutra Editions, 2012), a homophonic translation of Bruce Andrews's Factura co-authored by mIEKAL aND. The founder and curator of Saucebox Book Arts, a feminist micropress and occasional performance series, Brox's most recent projects include collaborations with Nava Fader, the Tumblr and Facebook presence of Sex+Positive Self Love, and a forthcoming collection of poems and photography, Pomegranates.

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.


Molly Kiefer Sutton

                                    The order of marine mammals that include dolphins,
                                    porpoises, and whales.

I believe I epitomize


at my acupuncture appointment today.  My               sciatic nerve

            is furious, bleating out small shards of pain.

The doctor said, You must be one of those women who get as big as a garage.”
            It’s an interesting image:  baby-as-car,
                                                            humming until winter-warm.

But I prefer W H A L E,

            as it forgives my all-over         enormity, allows me
to feel a bit peaceful,              imagining myself as enclosed in water too.

That word:  obese.                    A hook to hang me on. 
(Obeisance) (Obedient) (Obliging)

The doctor does what he does,

                        moving his work-chapped hands along my bare back,
            stopping to punch me with his little contraption.

It isn’t enough that he left me bee stung,                               so many needles,
            but I’d pressed my stomach and breasts into any space left for my lungs

and here goes the table with its                      lift       and fall                        lift       and      fall.

Molly Sutton Kiefer is the author of the hybrid essay Nestuary (Ricochet Editions, 2014) and the poetry chapbooks The Recent History of Middle Sand Lake (Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press, 2010) and City of Bears (dancing girl press, 2013). Her work has appeared in The Collagist, Harpur Palate, Women’s Studies Quarterly, WomenArts Quarterly, Berkeley Poetry Review, Southampton Review, and Permafrost, among others.  She is a founding editor of Tinderbox Poetry Journal, is a member of the Caldera Poetry Collective, reviews for PANK and The Rumpus, and runs Balancing the Tide:  Motherhood and the Arts | An Interview Project.  More can be found at

December 18, 2014


Ordeal by Water
All the quiet Jackies don
shaggy sweaters and gather
stones, press their palms
in their pockets, roll the rocks around.
The weight feels right, pulls
their shoulders down. They speak in
undertones long after the taste
of trashcan punch and cum
dissipates. Thigh welts start  
to yellow still murky memories
of blows rise. All the muffled
Jackies climb
into the dunking chair.
They do not fight
or float. Their bodies seek
bottom currents. All the secret
Jackies know fault lines lie
in the sea bed. They give
themselves to the undertow.
Ordeal by Water was associated with the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries: an accused who sank was considered innocent, while floating indicated witchcraft. From Wikipedia,

JANEEN PERGRIN RASTALL lives in Gordon, MI, population 2. She is the author of the chapbook, In The Yellowed House (dancing girl press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in several publications including: Border Crossing, Dunes Review, Atticus Review, Midwestern Gothic and Heron Tree.

Curatorial note: The following poems are a response to a call for poetry about rape culture for the annual Delirious Advent Feature; the call is in turn an immediate response to the Rolling Stone story “A Rape on Campus” about rape culture at the University of Virginia. However, they are also part of a larger conversation about rape in poetry communities. Curated by Jessica Smith and Susana Gardner.


First Signs of Hunger
Caldera Poetry Collective

Try not to imagine it     a shark in the deep
                                         of chlorine aftersmocks     little nubbly toe-nips
a flirtation     a terror    I slip     furrow my way

rather a lake     rather anything
                             to put my suited body underneath    cloven

I find myself becoming the spoon     self-propelled machine
                       when I wanted a wave    
I host a mass for mouths     cherish these unconscious activities    
                                                                               vital     dire
each breath     apart from huffing     awaits my stroke
                            with arm      with out   beating back   meniscus lip
sudden as the heart     sudden as the body says no longer    
         apniatic : balletic         

eyelet of water     let me be     who you are     let me douse       
                                           the rubble in my olympic     wetness
nothing branches inward but red     radial pain     lumps
                under skin offer the same

my sweat slicked off     a shiver     the shark too     her teeth too          
                                            my neck stiffened with consequence

The Caldera Poetry Collective comprises Colleen Coyne, Meryl DePasquale, Opal McCarthy, and Molly Sutton Kiefer. Individually, their poems have appeared in numerous journals, including alice blue review, Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Drunken Boat, Handsome Journal, Hayden's Ferry Review, La Petite Zine, Tarpaulin Sky Literary Journal, The Collagist, The Pinch, Southampton Review, and Women's Studies Quarterly. Members of the group have published lyric essay and poetry collections with Astounding Beauty Ruffian Press, dancing girl press, eohippus labs press, and Ricochet Editions. The Caldera Poetry Collective has been writing collaboratively since 2010; more at