A Lion Sleeps in the Heart of the Brave

Every day offers a chance

To step away from the past

Embrace a new self

There is a warrior waiting

To reveal the path

Soldier of fortune

Did I shine my light on your fear?

I was trying to show you the way

Confusing knowledge with madness

Compassionate care

Drag it into the woods and set it on fire

Inhale toxic fumes

Suffocation is a small sacrifice

Burn your voice

Stop the echo in my head

These are the ties that bind us

Destruction and creation

Your words slice through my skin

Embedded in my bones and calcified for life

Tell me to live in the moment

Not understanding it’s haunted

Term life

Maximum security

Hooray for civil participation

Incarcerated by regret


In watered down spirituality


Into awareness

Lost your dream

All I hear is a scream

A gift from God

What a cruel joke

Dread is strapped…

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Women and Horses-Rana Kelly

trembling skin.

come on to me,

slow slow slow,

and know.

wild-eyed and rolling, ready to bolt.

shattered, heaving sides.

shiver, shiver, shake

down your spine.

frozen, still ready to shake loose and hurt me

just in case.

because you know.

run my hand down quaking flanks,

speckled sweat, kiss your face, stroke your lips

storms and lightning in your eyes.

you know the sting and slash of whip-

boot heel, knee, fist.

whatever he had round at the time.

i feel it too, i felt it too.

sweet sweet girl.

with deep and shuttered eyes.

it’s the tight line of your spine when i reach for you,

and you lean and slide, reel and wheel, away.

gather up your strength little girl.

gather up your wind, show it to me.

silent now, lower your face to me.

lower your face to me.

breathe deep, don’t let him see you frighten,

don’t let him see your fear.

low low low, i blow on your skin,

touch the velvet under your eyes.

rim my finger on the seam of your ear.

shh shh shh. it’s all right.

lower your face to me.

ease down your eyes,

drift them down slowly.

lean to me, give me some weight.

i know the look of you-

coiled and strung

like hanging meat.

hooks and things-

until you break

until you break.

i know you.

what i was.

who knows us.

who knows what men can do

but women and horses.

Rana Kelly has been a poet since childhood, a writer since she was a teen. She published her debut novel, Until Her Darkness Goes, in 2015.  Her chapbook, Superstition, is forthcoming this summer.  You can read more of Rana’s writing at 2nd star to the Left, straight on ’til morning

Would anyone Notice?

John W. Leys

Darkness of His Dreams

Would anyone notice
If I just disappeared?

If my voice grew silent,
Words stopped flowing,
Notebooks unwritten,
Poems un-posted.

Facebook, Twitter un-updated,
No pictures, no quotes,
No retweets, likes, or replies.

Would anyone notice
If I just wasn’t here?

No non-committal nods
In the corridor at work.
No awkward small-talk
In the lunchroom.
No pretending interest or concern.

Would anyone notice
If I just disappeared?


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LAST CALL: Blood Into Ink Writing Prompt Challenge Deadline: July 31, 2017

There is still time to submit to Brave and Reckless’ Blood Into Ink Writing Prompt Challenge.


Writing Prompt- Blood Into Ink

  1. Using the writing prompt above, write a 100 to 800 word original, previously unpublished piece that integrates the writing prompt.  It can be poetry, prose, short fiction or even essay.  The prompt can be used as the title, you can use the phrase intact, or break it up however you want within the written piece.
  2. Pick out an image to go with your submission
  3. Write a brief biography
  4. Send the following to by midnight on Monday, July 31, 2017 (before 4 am EST on Tuesday, August 1st is fine):
    • Your original piece
    • suggested image
    • brief biography
    • link to where you post your writing (blog, Facebook page, Instagram, etc.)
  5. Submissions will be judged by me and at least one guest judge.  If you are interested in being a guest judge for this challenge, let me know.
  6. I will publish all submissions on Brave and Reckless as long as they are appropriate and you are welcome to reblog once they have been published on Brave and Reckless. They will also get a plug on Brave and Reckless‘ Twitter and Facebook pages. With the approval of the other Blood Into Ink curators, relevant submissions may also be published on Blood Into Ink.  All participants are strongly encouraged to reblog the winning submission to their own blog.

Please feel free reblog and post this challenge invitation on social media

This is a challenge near and dear to my heart.  I look forward to reading your submissions.

Warrior Women Anthem

warrior woman face up

(A collaborative celebration of Warrior Sisterhood between Aurora Phoenix and Kindra M. Austin)

Yes, I know my place—

And it’s not in the shadows of darkened corners,

Slumped over and bleeding, weeping.

It’s not in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant or otherwise.

It’s not in the hospital having bones reset, or split lips stitched.

Yes, I know my place—

Push me down, drag me out, Continue reading

A Room So Still and Quiet It Hurts: A Collaboration of Warriors


In memory of Chester Bennington and Chris Cornell and all that wrestle with the demon of depression and have walked too close to the edge of the abyss.

Christine Ray

In a room so still and silent

That it hurts

Stark white walls

Razor sharp edges

Etch my soul

Draw blood

That drips slowly


From my mouth


I am trapped

Like a fly in amber

Time stands still

The air is thick

Holds me motionless

In this prison cell

I feel vibration

A silent scream building

From my depths

Rachel Finch

Barricaded, her aura stifles

in the quiet.

Walls closing in, silence


Her mind internally

burning, blistering.

His voice a faint echo,

worlds away.

Rana Kelly

I tell them they’re lying,

The monsters that cling

To the lobes and whorls

Of my ears.

They laugh and go on.

I pull the covers up

To my chin and let them in again

Until the tears are spent

And still,

They never repent.

Get thee behind me,

But I always look back

Waiting on them to pounce.

Kindra M. Austin

In a room so still, I draw mental images.

Shovelfuls of dirt are tossed and splayed;

loose earth lands with a dead sound

upon my ridiculous casket.

The images play in a loop like

spliced film–a silent movie.

Sarah Doughty

These bones have grown
weak and weary, while the rest
of the world has gone
dark and gray. Over time,
they’ve become more
than I can handle.
More than I can live with.
And these burdens I carry
are mine alone. No one
deserves to hold them
on their shoulders.
Which is why I’ll take them
with me. After the music
stops playing.


Eric Syrdal

In a room so still

I hear echoes of a former life

I hear the twisting and creaking

Of this thread I hang from

Knotted and frayed it

Binds my heart

In pieces that have shattered

So many times they no longer

Fit together

And their edges are so razor sharp

They cut me to ribbons

To remember what I once was

Ward Clever

I scream

I lost myself

The echoes dont come back

Ragged and raw, my chords vibrate

Revealing nothing from my insides

My voice swallowed up by the crowd

My inner voice silenced

I have become the echoes

Aurora Phoenix

in the silence

my shame shrieks torment

a piercing the walls drill

into my brain

the ceiling salivates venom

it licks the stiffness

from my spine

the floor nauseates me

as it breathes

rank sour breath

of the unlovable, whose caries

grew unfettered in an unkissed mouth

I shrink, a knotted ball,

from the reverberating stench,

the putrefying death knell

inverted, I am a tunnel

from which no light escapes

there is only the abject crawling

of my soul, face down

in the sewage

of my failed spirit


I hate this fucking room…

I hate being consumed with my doom…

As I sit here, looking at my shattered reflection in the perfect mirror

All I am  forever reminded of,

Is what I almost was…

Why can I not seem to get back on track?

All that was an almost happy life has gone to pure shit..

Blinded by the bright light at the end of the dark tunnel…

I should follow it…

Even if it means I am dead forever, and I can’t come back…

Even if it makes me weak…

I am just tired of being strong…

Maybe even tired of holding on…

There has to be another side..

A place where I can freely roam,

A place where I don’t have to hide…

Reality is overwhelming…

This room is so silent…that it fucking hurts

my head is full of too much traumatic memories…

I am running out of do-over’s at this point…

I have done everything to release

The only time I hear that I am good enough…

Is after I please a nobody…so I am just a good fuck…

I don’t believe in me anymore… I am out of good luck…

I need to be free from life… from turmoil…

I need to be free from being me…

I hate being stuck…


Aakriti Kuntal (Warped Kites)

Long hands, circumcision of thought, 

Flailing flesh, fish sucking the rotten sea

The window breast is now red from approach 

We hang there, we do

the captivity of bleached air is like nothing else

the death sentence of genes

Godless children of a different race

Our hearts are split and our brains feverish

slowly descending, soaked head to toe

into songs that contain only air

I twist the lock, your twisted face, a warped kite

Floating across ceilings,

You have decided to spread

a smile wide as the day, light up the dim structure of your face

Like blow torches growing mad above the taste of ashes

You have decided to smile

this one last time

And the ceiling watches,

its silence repulsive 

And the walls judge,

their jabber exhausting

Men like to slaughter what they don’t understand 

Common cold doesn’t dictate cancer

And neither mood nor perspective is the predecessor of mental sickness

The floor watches,

stained in a lovely red

The only living thing now 

is you

and you, you bleed 

Upwards into a cerulean sky

Lois E. Linkens

i don’t belong here.

they told me

success held the key to happiness,

a golden road through cloudy skies,

a nightingale’s song in the dead of night –

so i don’t belong here.

i don’t fit in,

i stick out like a black sheep in a field of white,

a pebble strung on a thread of pearls.

oh, that piece would be so fetching

with pearls alone,

and i am sure the shepherd grows weary of the sight of me.


The anguish of aliveness

No one wins

Sterile, self-defeating

Shrouded in intense sensitivity

Silence, secrets, sadness, solitude

A welcomed stillness

Such sweet solace

The weight begins to lift

A final gift


There is a peace

In release

A freedom beyond

This relentless realm

A breakable bond

From devils and demons


Olde Punk

The melodies are

my legacy

I’ve won some battles

but I am losing the war

choose not to remember

my last act

but all of the victories

that came before

as a samurai chooses

death over dishonor

my sepuku is the solution

to stop the coming horror

the monster with my smile

I know that my absence

will fill a room so still

it hurts but better

still than to see the world

I love burn with my

dark needs

Nathan McCool

You know when I’m there, after all the blood,

after all my ghost begin to break up and

dissipate like early morning radio chatter,

after the loss

of every god damn thing I’ve ever loved,

I can tell you that I earned the cognizance

that this was never a room.

Rooms have an exit, but there is no re-entry

into what my life used to be.

It’s a black hole, and on the other side

there is a universe of all dead bodies.

So if I dissect myself,

if I show you all my organs that could never

have managed to hold this cancer,

if I do it here at the altar of all my great


I just want you to know I’ve reached the

event horizon.

But here I do not struggle, I strive. I still

yearn to be a good man. Wish that my

heart would become supermassive,

and strong enough to maybe release

one singular ray of light into all this space.

Set one lone kite free of the gravity.


If I fall through the hole and I’m never seen again,

I want you to remember I wasn’t a coward.

I was the thing that withstood longer than

all else.

Because nothing can be here if it still

has a world to belong to.

And if you don’t understand that, in a way

I hope you never do.

But if you never saw my light, if I gave in

before it could break through

I’m sorry.

It’s not because I didn’t try.

So live or die,

Be free or killed by this monster of my mind,

I did the very best that I could.