Sunday, March 31, 2019


Portrait of Chelsea Manning by Sarah Allen Reed

Saturday, March 30, 2019


Dear Men

don’t ever tell a woman she should look
other than how she already looks
she’ll spend a lifetime trying

do remind a woman
she is desirable, even on
her worst days

don’t ever tell a woman she needs
to lose weight—she is beautiful
regardless of the size she wears

do remind her, often,
that she is more than her body
she’ll forget.

don’t tell a woman she is responsible
for the attention
a man gives her;

do tell her she is
free to wear
what she wants

don’t tell a woman
you love her for her body
it’ll fade.

do tell her you love her for her mind
and her million invisible brilliances
this will last forever.

--Rachel Toalson

Friday, March 29, 2019


The Men are Surprised

 “There are no words in the English language/I could scream to drown you out” – Phoebe Bridgers

The men are surprised
and sad
they are unsure what to do
with the information
they are reading

how someone they love
could do so bad,
how someone whose art they appreciate
could sink his teeth
into the women who made the mistake of
being near him.

How he could dangle the promise of fame
and music making before young girls
full of talent
and then pull it away
and break them
and leave them

Leave them so they never want to make art again.

The good men are surprised
and angry
so very angry for being fooled.
They are also angry because they don’t know what to do now.
Will they still be good men
if they listen to the music of a bad man?
What does it say about them?

But the women nod.
We know better than to trust
that the men who make art
that sings the songs that live in our hearts.

We know better.
The good men are surprised
and they want to know
How do the women know not to trust?
How do they know that the beloved artists is bad?
What did he do or say to make it so clear?

And the women smile and
think about intuition
the way we have learned
like wolves
when to run
and the women
because the men that make art
that live in our hearts
are also
and always


--Ally Malinenko

Thursday, March 28, 2019


Hansel and Gretel 2019

These maggots will learn
new tricks
because they were created inside
a tube filled up
with sugar and spice
or at least that's what they were told.
Everything nice like Pinky and Blueboy,
sitting by the piano,
wondering how to play
the keys when they don't have fingers.

Vienna Finger Cookies might be
turned into witch fingers
loaded with dough. Vienna sausages
might get turned on,
bloat and then join small children
across the cross-walk.
A needle pulling thread through the back

of children's heads is hoping
to replace brain waves

with tiny new fingers for the maggots.

Will the cookie or the sausage win
the piano solo prize?

Both. It's a duet.
The prize results in being able to choose
as many new fingers as you would like
from all the caged up children.

--Juliet Cook and j/j hastain

Wednesday, March 27, 2019


Dear Mansplainer

I do not need you
to explain everything
until the magic
of the world
fizzles out.

I do not need you
to point out the things
I already know—
but can’t possibly know,
because I’m a woman.

I do not need you
to tell me, in so many words
(but mostly tone),
all the ways you are
superior to me.

A woman has no need of mansplaining.

--Rachel Toalson

Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Save Herself

It was a story I heard,
how women
throughout history
who were unable to create their art
started to rearrange the furniture
in their homes.

It made me laugh at first,
what a strange thing to do,
to move a couch or an end table.
To pull the heavy weight of the television set
across the room.

To shift the angle
and the ease
and the viewpoint
over and over again
because you cannot put your heart into this world.

I think of my mother.
I’m sure you are now thinking of yours

and wondering if there is some truth to this claim.
Some sad kernel that goes beyond
the anonymity of women’s work
the anonymity of women’s art

something that speaks to a larger
more feral pain
a witchy sort of anger
something she does when the men are not around
so they come home to this change
that she alone invoked
and conjured up

like a spell,

a house that is a prison
a domesticity that is a trap
women’s work as shackles

so instead we have
a woman rearranging her space
in order to rearrange her mind
in order to
save herself.

--Ally Malinenko

Monday, March 25, 2019



Let's draw a picture of
just you and me
wait! there's mommy so she makes three
combs my hair with reckless
this blur has just come
and slipped it's
hands in
this is not the blur
it's not the blur
can't focus my eyes
too many thoughts collide
this isn't the blur that I saw last time
not the same blur
not the same one at all.

Feel it pushing past my teeth
rolls like dice
lands with a clink
snake-eyed blur staring up at me, this
shallow, worker-smith's heat
he says
aren't you awful shy, my love,
so here is what I think
it's not they or them
or you or I
shoved, as children,
into the temperance fire
my dark-haired darling,
we are meant to
have these trials.
Of course, I say,
of course.
I wait for someone to
pull me up from
out of this

--Cristina Kennington

Sunday, March 24, 2019


Go Fund Me?

I am definitely on board
with the idea
of giving all dignitaries kittens to
hold while they discuss
the most serious matters of our time

would the soft fur and mews
lighten the room
with laughter and sweet souls?

or would they put the kittens
on the ground
to run amuck

as they
--Heidi Blakeslee

Saturday, March 23, 2019


But Definitely Not a Finish

They took away
the swimsuit competition
in a beauty pageant,
and guess who’s

It’s a way to admire
a well built body, they say,
unaware that the way most
beauty pageant women
get their well built body
is through some combination
of surgery, starvation,
bingeing and purging,
excessive exercise.
Despite opinions to the contrary,
most women don’t come standard
with the Perfect Body
According to Societal Expectations.

How will we really know they’re
worthy of the Miss America title?
Well, maybe we judge her on her mind,
rather than her body.

That’s a start.

--Rachel Toalson

Friday, March 22, 2019


A Woman Should Teach Her Daughter How to Navigate This World

Smile and laugh
seek out and call to joy
but only smile when you mean it
Don’t let them make a decoration out of you.
Don’t smile when they tell you to.

You will be told often and not kindly.

Walk with a key between your fingers.
Spine straight.
Keep the music off in your headphones.
Never alone at night.
Be aware of who is behind you
and who is coming towards you.

Be aware of everything.

Wear clothes you like
that make you feel good,
love your body because it is strong and beautiful
and will carry you through this life
but know others will comment
and judge

There is nothing you can do about this.

Others will touch you without asking.
Sometimes playfully
and they will expect you to smile and
enjoy the attention.
Sometimes they will touch you violently.
You need to protect yourself from both.
Use your words to stand up for yourself
unless it could get dangerous.

There is no way to tell if or when it could get dangerous.

Read, learn and be curious.
See as much of the world as you can.
Don’t hold back your opinion.
Speak with confidence in your beautiful mind
You have a voice and you should use it.
They will call you “shrill” when they don’t like it and “good girl” when they do.

Both will make you feel terrible.

Sometimes you will be the only woman in the room.
Sometimes this will not matter.
Most times it will.
You are just as smart as the rest of the people in that room.
Your opinion and thoughts count just as much.
Regardless not everyone will see it this way.

They will imply often and loudly that you do not belong.

Not all women will be your friend.
Many will cozy up to men for protection,
leaning in to the patriarchy.
Regardless, we mustn’t abandon those women.
Learn everything you can about the patriarchy.
It is slippery and dangerous and multisided,
a some point it will crawl inside someone you love and use their voice
to say things that you will never forget.
Understand it can only be dismantled from the inside.

Understand that you will never be on the inside.

If you forget everything else,
remember this:
When you ask yourself
at night
Am I good enough?

Regardless of what the world tells you
The answer
will always be


--Ally Malinenko