Cross-posted from: Helen Blogs

Behind smile is sometimes a heart that cries
There is often a body that is so exhausted
a mind that is in need of rest,
and a life in need of healing

Behind the smile is a person

Behind the face is someone in need of love
Someone in need of friendship
A life needing to be restored
And wandering if and how it will ever happen

Behind the face is a person

Behind the laugh is someone so unsure
Of how people will think,
And trying hard to be the smile,
The face, and the laugh

Behind the laugh is a person

Behind the smile, behind the face, behind the laugh is
A person who can dream
A person who can hope
A person who can learn to live again.


Helen Blogs This is reasonably new having blogged under the pseudonym of ‘fragmentz’ for 5 years (which is now defunct) I write about things including my own experiences of being a survivor of child hood abuse, and rape as an adult. I’m passionate about seeing an end to violence against women and am on a journey of learning more and more about feminism as each day goes by.  I also write about God and my faith. Twitter @helen_a13

Relationships by @carregonnen

Cross-posted from: Carregonnen
Originally published: 20.05.15

Relationships are important – friendships, family, lovers, acquaintances. They are complex things these relationships. Good and fulfilling if they work heartbreaking and damaging when they don’t. We can learn from them, grow within them, say hello to new ones and goodbye to old ones and try and repair the damage from ones that leave us for whatever reason. We are attached to our relationships sometimes with strong ropes sometimes with fragile threads that need care and attention often. When they work they can be joyful and life-giving. When they end the pain and sadness can be almost unbearable. But we somehow go on, making new ones nourishing the ones we have and living without the ones that have ended.
Read more Relationships by @carregonnen

Girl and Woman @Carregonnen

cross-posted from Carregonnen

orig. pub, 18.2.15

I wrote this poem five years ago. I have tried to edit it, to improve the language, to make it better but I can’t. I don’t know how else to say this in a more ‘good poetry’ way – so I have left it because at the moment it says what I want it to say. My mental health problems have been severe over my life and I have made some very poor behaviour and relationship choices. Like many other women, I think about what my life would have been like if I had not had a violent abusive father. If I had grown up with few problems and had fulfilled whatever potential I had. If I hadn’t been such a damaged teenager and had been able to stay on at school and go to University like my brothers eventually did. If I hadn’t been so desperate to get married and have children but had been able to wait till I was really ready. If I had been a mother who was not driven by anger and despair and fear but one who was able to give her children a more stable childhood without screaming rages that made them fearful of me and my responses and reactions. I have said before that the guilt I feel about the way I was as a young mother will stay with me forever – no matter how much insight into and understanding of the reasons why I was the way I was. I cannot do any more to fix this although I still try. I no longer have rages, they ended many years ago when I realised why I was so angry. Now I have fear and this immobilises me and creates feelings of despair and pointlessness. But I am still here and I have a good life and I do enjoy many parts of it – friends family lots of interests. There’s bits of me I quite like and many bits I do not like and actively scrutinise and judge far more harshly than anyone else could!

I am a girl
I am eleven years old
soon I will sit my Eleven Plus examination
and I will go to Grammar School
to not go to Grammar School
would be ‘unthinkable’ says my Father
My Mother is beautiful
I have a handsome Father
so he says.
I have two brothers
they are both younger than me
and I love them both

I am a woman
I am sixty three years old
I have three children and nine grandchildren
now I have only one brother and I love him
I have good friends
I have a job a house and a car
I enjoy most of my life
sometimes I go a bit crazy
then I take pills
this has been happening on and off
most of my life
I have friends who understand me
I have children who don’t
This is not their fault
This is my fault
But it is His fault in the first place
If I try to imagine a different girl who is eleven
If I try to imagine a different life
then I can’t imagine a different sixty three year old woman
I have no idea what she would be like
at least I know who I am
this sixty three year old woman
I know her crazy as she is
I am glad I have the children I have
I am glad I have the friends I have
But the life I have is difficult to live

February 2009


Carregonnen: I do life writing in poetry and prose about child abuse and mental health – politically I am a radical feminist. [@Carregonnen]

Spent by @CatEleven


It started with the golden
With the bubbles cut with acid
With the burn and the bite
With the sickly sweet
The confused fumblings
The morning rumblings
A barely there faze
And a mustard heat haze

Then the golden turned
The silver replaced
The liquid alloy
Hitting every surface
Down to the fingernails
Down to the quick
The whole lemon
Stuck in a throat

Oozing citric
From pores made to breathe
Clogged with a hurt
That dulls
With the shot
Through the chest
And the pints of pain
Dousing a raging fire

The self medication
Of the liar
Telling tales to oneself
In the long old nights
And the endless mornings
The lining failing
The skin falling away
The reasons repeated

As a mantra
The lie you repeat
In the hope of belief
The partner you have to leave
The child you must abandon
I’m your pill and your poison
Your start and your end
A bottomless well to nowhere

Put out my fire
With a run through the bitter
A biting wind to clear
The fear
Kick at the dying embers
With a love for the now
For the open and solemn
For the real and sincere

A Little Lifeboat

There you are
A current pulling at your strings
The depths a-whirling
Coming up from the deep
You’re flotsam and jetsam
A half day in
A half day out
And every night
You ebb further away
I’ll hoist my sail
I’ll turn my hull North
And I’ll row and row
I’ll scale the waves
That beat us down
That tempt the fear
That spin us wayward
Until we’re blinded by spray
My little lifeboat
Will carry two
Your seat is safe
Throwing ropes
Throwing stones
Throwing caution
To a wind full of salt
And time, in time
Hold on, I have you

One Woman’s Thoughts: I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas. [@CatEleven]

Dropping in with a Poem

(Cross-posted from Positive and Promise)

I’m still contemplating how to best utilize the blog space as a freelancer, so stayed tuned for updates on that. In the meantime, please accept a poetic offering from your resident eccentric.

The Inspiration: Lately the Democratic National Convention has been spamming Paul’s inbox with all manner of histrionic emails. Despite our bleeding hearts, we’ve both gotten a kick out of this and, last night, decided to write a poem entirely comprised of statements and phrases from these messages. Also, our apartment is bloody hot, and sanity is tenuous at the end of the day.

And so, without further ado, the fruits of our labor:

Now, I’m Emailing You Again

Dick Durbin emailed you.

Nancy Pelosi emailed you.

Now I’m emailing you again.

We keep emailing.

This is so contrived, and we can hardly believe it.

We need your help to fight back.

We’re nearly out of time.

To be blunt about it:

If we fall behind now,

We might as well throw in the towel.

We keep emailing.

I wanted to personally share the news

…this kid will be pretty darn happy.

But look, we’re not there yet.

We keep emailing.

Hey, just wanted to make sure you saw Senator Durbin’s email?

We keep emailing.

I come right out and say it:

I’m a Democrat.

I don’t want to be one of those candidates


Hides their party.

We keep emailing.

If you care about health care reform, you need to be part of this.

Boehner’s gonna to be FURIOUS!

We keep emailing.

I wanted to personally share the news:

All hope is lost.

The Denounced by @CatEleven

(Cross-posted from One Woman’s Thoughts)

Sat in a pod
Or at a desk
A sofa
A lawn
Lying in bed
You scan with your code
And your algorithms of shame

Eyeballing for the sleights
The choice keywords
Juicy tidbits to wave under
The noses of your allies
The allegiances formed
Through shared experiences

And you frighten
Condemn and denounce
These keyboard “aggressors”
You are known to us
You scream
From a page backlit
And we are watching you

Looking at your language
Looking for your hate
Avoid these scum
You warn
While actively searching them out
These women
With voices

These questioning
Inquisitive women
These thinking
Reducing them to sound bites

Privileged and hated
For expressing opinions
For naming their oppression
For questioning
For speaking


One Woman’s Thoughts: I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas. [@CatEleven]

Stages by @croxus

(Cross-posted from Girl Shaped Guitar)

Oh something wonderful has broken.
Like the first morning in May, like a teenage girl’s heart over and over again.
It’s the chains of guilt I didn’t know I was carrying,
miles and miles wrapped around my heart and mouth.
Wrapped around the ways I twisted my mouth while saying sorry,
wrapped around my tongue while I gave in to demands that weren’t his to make.
Gone are the endless explanations, justifications and normalisations of situations out of my control.
And here is the anger I’ve not let out for so long.
It’s like a living thing under my skin, a snake that hisses through my mouth.
It’s a small child and a giant, stomping it’s feet in defiant destruction.
The city was quiet for so long and it’s silence is broken by a shouting, screaming voice proclaiming it’s not fair.
And here is the silence after,
the heavy limbs and shaky breaths.
Oh something wonderful has broken and it wasn’t me this time.

Girl Shaped Guitar:  I write poetry often about love and recovery, but also other things. My twitter handle is @croxus

A Boudicca Of Women by @CatEleven

(Cross posted with permission from One Woman’s Thoughts)

A Boudicca Of Women

They met on a cold December night
The young and younger and old

Thoughts and the intricacies
Of words
Tucked behind ears
At the backs of heads
Waiting to escape
On tips of tongues
Tumbling forth
Fuelled by a punch
A sock knocker offer

Tears and love
Lives shared
Pains laid bare
Safe disclosures
Burning bright
As fireworks on the wind
Heard and seen
Admired for their ferocity
The beauty in a truth told

And an abandonment of fear
Left behind somewhere
On the M1
For the long-distance
Lorry drivers to spot
Sat cowering in its corner
Of the hard shoulder

Leaving only strength
A meeting of minds
The new collective;
A Boudicca Of Women
Changing the world
One joyous honest challenge at a time


One Woman’s Thoughts: I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas. [@CatEleven]


Joy by @CatEleven

(Cross-Posted with permission from One Woman’s Thoughts)

Joy was the wet and slippery, the heat that took me by surprise, the purple question-mark laid on my elastain sack of a belly

Joy was the eyes enquiring after only seconds outside me, searching me out through the scrunched up screams-the calm in recognition after the trauma

Joy was the fluid spouting forth from my body unbidden when you cried, sustaining you

Joy was the nestling in the crook of my arm, your smell on me, your trust, your skin, like kid leather too big for your frame-a suit yet to fill

Joy was your growth, ounce on ounce, measured by weight not height

Joy was walking by the sea with the cold spray in my eyes, the ice on the ground but you swaddled against my chest inside my coat beat to beat

Joy was waking with you staring into my eyes

Joy is seeing you grow into a boy full of delight and wonder at your world

Joy will be seeing you grow into the man. My son, always the tiny one and at once forever larger than my heart can contend


One Woman’s Thoughts: I am a feminist and this is my blog; a collection of perspectives, poetry and ideas. [@CatEleven]