Tag Archives: survivor

Little Red

Does the prettification of our oldest stories ever frustrate you? This is not an example of that, this Little Red is making her own choices. That is not to say being awake and fully conscious makes life easy.

Little Red                                                 Terry Blackhawk

Imagine her not hooded or coy.

No inadvertent blush

to stamp her victim forever.

But let us take her

as she was in the story

having chosen the path of needles

over the path of pins.

Not a child, no father ahead

or mother behind

to frame her journey with admonition

or reward. None of this

prettification, simpering

rose petal baskets or little feet,

but a child-woman on the verge

of learning her own utility,

how to resist, be strong.

Needles, not pins.

Wit will be her weapon,

and flesh—so when she lies

naked next to the wolf, even there

bawdiness will save her

and she will tell him

she needs to dump a load.

How can he argue with the body’s truth?

What to do but wait and say go?

Imagine the darkness, the orchard

outside Grandmother’s cabin

fruit trees clouding above her

as she slips free of his bonds,

escapes into the apple-cool night,

and leaves him lying there, slathering,

stupid and confused, pulling

the rope he tied her to finding it limp

in his hands.

Melissa Quits School

Melissa understands that no one really has her back and that she ultimately has to make her own decisions. She starts here by stating her truths and strengthening her voice. She already has a place where feels free. I think she’s a survivor.

Melissa Quits School                                                             Lucile Burt


I’m not going down into that cave anymore,

that room under everything

where they stick us freaks

surrounded by storage rooms

and one hundred years of dust

caking little windows near the ceiling.


We’re buried under the weight

of all those rooms above us,

regular rooms with regular kids,

buried where we won’t be a bad influence.


Mrs. Miller says I’ll be sorry,

but I don’t care. I can’t think

down there. It’s hard to breathe


If school’s so great for my future,

what’s Mrs. Miller doing buried here

like some sad dead bird

teaching freaks

and smelling like booze every morning?


I may be stupid, but I know this:

outside there’ll be light and air

and I won’t feel like I’m dying.

Outside, someone will pay when I work,

give me a coffee break when I can smoke.

No one will say “where’s your pass?”

Sandy and Tina won’t dance away from me,

sidestepping like I’m poison ivy,

and boys won’t try to pry me open.

Steve won’t be hanging on me,

wanting me

to take a couple of hits before class,

wanting me

to cut class to make love,

even though it’s really screwing

and he calls it “making love”

so I’ll do it and he can brag later.


I may be stupid, but I know this:

even just a little light and air

can save your life.

That shark Steve thinks he owns me,

but I know this:

when we cruise in his car

so he can show off his Chevy and me

him looking out the window all the time,

going nowhere, just cruising,

I’m there ’cause we’re moving.

I’m there alone with Tori Amos,

singing her sad true songs,

leaning my head back,

watching the streetlights come and go,

each flash lighting my face

for a minute in the dark.