c estate of Reuben Woolley

“I have been seeing such increasing evidence of abuse recently that I felt it was time to do something. I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms, colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of the NHS, the rape culture are just the examples that come to mind at the moment. It is not a site for rants which, if they are well written are welcome here [i.e. Facebook]. My idea for this group is for discussion about abuse and what we can do about it. There is room here, of course for poetry. I just felt it was time for me to get off my arse and try to do something.” Reuben Woolley, publisher of the webzine I Am Not A Silent Poet, A magazine for poetry and artwork protesting against abuse in any of its forms



Reuben Woolley died last week and so many of us are feeling the loss of this man who shared our ideals, wrote poems of protest and resistance, and published “quality poems of protest” on his webzine site as well as poetry and information on his Facebook discussion page. His most recent book. This Hall of Tortures, was published in April 2019.  He recently sent me a copy for review. I was waiting until he got out of the hospital to send my interview questions.

“I am not a silent poet looks for poems about abuse in any of its forms: colour, gender, disability, the dismantlement of the care services, the privatisation of health services, the rape culture, FGM, our girls in Nigeria are just some of the examples that come to mind at the moment. It is not a site for rants.” 

Reuben was laid to rest on Monday and his daughter writes, “Although he was not a religious man, we decided to do brief ceremony at the Iglesia de los Milagros in Ágreda. In the same place where he and my mother got married 40 years ago, we came today to cry his death and celebrate his life.

“Remembering all our roadtrips around the UK listening to the Rolling Stones’ album “Let it Bleed” , I thought that playing for him “You can’t always get what you want” one last time would be a good way to remember him. Personally, I think he would have got a huge kick out of knowing that he caused a Rolling Stones’ song to be played in this quaint Spanish cemetery. Cheers dad.”

requiescat in extremis

the dark denizens
come forward
in flux
& what i have is
the hole in the picture the
red balloon & a child
follow me this
again
& one time only

here
there is weather a
hindrance & my chair i
sit too much listening
to pure crazy jazz
in this brain my
dangerous habitat

extinguish me now say
a pointless gesture ever & down
load this my stupid requiem

© Reuben Woolley, September 13, 2019

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

In the spirit of I am not a silent poet and in honor of Reuben, please share a protest poem or two – any topic but NO RANTS, per Reuben’s rules.  Comments on and memories of Reuben are welcome also if you’d like and will be published along with your poem/s next Tuesday.

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, December 9 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

About / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications: Five by Jamie Dedes on The World Literature Blog,  Jamie Dedes, Versifier of Truth, Womawords Literary Press, November 19, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

27 Comments

  1. It never happened

    Patterns across her body
    a lonely way to live
    scattered thoughts inside her mind
    this can’t be the end     Can it?
    His touch once kind and gentle
    strikes fear into her now
    waiting for the next chance
    to tell him stop or no
    will he listen
    will he notice
    when she freezes up beneath him
    another cut, another attempt
    never a release

    Escape so far away
    she’s too weak to carry on
    in her mind she’s built a cave.
    the only place she can speak
    her voice is slowly fading
    thoughts of rope around her neck
    or a stomach full of pills
    but the belt snaps
    or she throws up
    never a release

    Knives and razors like sweet fingers
    dance, across her skin  
    but the blood seeps out
    the bandages aren’t there
    and she drifts into  bliss
    and the belt doesn’t  snap
    and the pills stay down
    and she drifts into bliss
    and he listens to her words
    and he notices she’s frozen
    and she drifts into bliss
    and it never happened

    her thoughts just run wild again
    her lips just take a drag
    her mind just falls away again
    her lungs inhale the smoke
    her eyes just close
    her mind slowly correcting it
    her thoughts alter again
    she looks in the mirror
    marks and patterns decorate her skin
    she looks in her eyes
    sees the pain behind
    sees them glisten as she cries
    with a smile decorated with lies
    she tells herself
    and it never happened
    and it never happened
    and it never happened

    Hollie Swann
    2019

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Jamie – I’m so saddened to hear about Rueben’s passing. His site uplifted voices that needed to be heard. Here is my submission, hopefully it is on target to honor him.

    “Aftermath of Silence”
    I turned away, jaw clenched,
    Breath held, yet still seeing
    The crushed spirit within her
    Earth brown eyes that had
    Pleaded for me to do
    The thing I feared the
    Most – to speak up for her
    And tell him to leave
    Her the fuck alone

    Liked by 2 people

  3. protest tor

    first protest was against confinement
    and the mama-to-be felt and saw
    the ridge of fetusfoot
    bugsbunnying across her swollen kidslammer
    soon after the child was released via scalpel and hoist
    ave caesar
    vivendi te salutamus

    there were of course the infantile
    screamings for food and attention
    disqualified because ignominy
    from true protest
    which was to come
    long before bar mitzvah:
    a roughneck boy sat behind him
    a kid with a reputation
    that preveded this first day
    of the seventh grade
    and the teacher offered a word game:
    “how many words can be formed
    from the word RESOURCE? who’s got one?”
    class members exclaimed
    “our!” “sore!” “curse!”
    then the bad-rep kid said “sour!” and the teacher…GLARED.
    he lit into the kid,
    though the kid had given
    a PERFECTLY LEGITIMATE ANSWER.
    “i’m going to be watching you, Mister. i’ve HEARD about you.”
    bad vibes filled the room,
    but then
    the kid sitting in front of him said,
    distinctly and loudly,
    “sir, there was nothing wrong with his answer! why
    are you giving him a hard time?!”

    and what do you think happened, Boys and Girls?
    we can guess,
    but we will never know, because
    that stirring protest and defense above
    was never delivered; the boy
    thought it but did not say it.
    and that cowardly failure
    to stand up and be counted
    has haunted his days for fifty-three years.

    so this is a protest of Cowardice, which is rife nowadays.
    the boy can be forgiven: he was twelve.
    voting adults must be more courageous.

    must face ugly truths.

    must stand up to be counted.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You might think
    conversation is futile
    that telling the truth
    is stressful
    so you choose
    to remain mute
    and everything
    in your midst
    and in your life
    has fractured
    silence is
    after all
    deafening
    and isn’t
    it interesting
    that Jesus
    came to
    set the captives
    free by making
    the mute speak
    the deaf hear
    and the blind see.
    See
    How many people
    In your midst
    Have suffered abuse
    You might be one of them
    I might be one of them
    Your mother, brother,
    Sister, father, neighbor
    Stranger, friend
    When will the silence end?
    Only then, will stress fractured
    Relationships begin to mend.
    – June G Paul

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Respected Jamie Ji

    Behind Bolted Doors

    Lift the latch and
    you will find cracks
    in the door, scarred
    traces of hot tempered
    rackets-
    sad sorrowful echoes of
    screams slaps and strikes
    in the tender dwellings of
    famished femininity-
    whose chest is crammed
    with refrains of ugly curses
    profane, drafted with hatred
    mundane-
    beauty’s blend for care
    created for eternal company
    stays abused spared not
    why?
    who will cut the strings
    of human bondage
    lacerant tortured
    Suffering Silent Cry!
    What was ancient
    ignorant and abolished
    made eloquent and sacred
    Open the door and you will find
    famished femininity current
    in countless fetters
    slowly visibly tabescent-
    Why-

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Climate Change

    you’ve stolen my dreams living without limits but I can
    find solace gazing at clouds and

    I can watch Half-Animal Half-Girl Set In A Japanese Restaurant
    in which the camera follows the activities of a masked creature
    half-girl half-animal in which the camera pans to a window
    through which the sky is seen to be indigo in Fukushima, 2011.
    I can watch Dog Barking in which a woman gets out of her car
    and makes eye contact with a dog which barks. I can watch a woman
    sitting on top of a hippo manically reading newspapers and occasionally
    blowing a whistle. I can watch Men Hack Off Sharks’ Fins For Shark-Fin
    Soup. I can watch Tigers Singing Plaintively About Colonialism
    and I can watch Jungle Book where Baloo speaks Bengali and Mowgli
    speaks Spanish. I can watch People Becoming Creatures which isn’t anything
    like Kafka’s nightmare. I can watch Loverfinch in which a finch teaches
    an ornithologist a beautiful song. I can watch Aquarium, swap lungs for gills
    and enter another world. I can stand next to a beach tree and scratch
    and make a work of art from the marks and call it Where a Brown Bear
    Stood Recently Clawing a Tree. I can watch Polar Bears Stranded On
    a Small Volume of Ice. I can travel back three million years into the past,
    press my bare feet into the fossilised footprints of The Laetoli Bipeds
    and walk along my ancestors’ path, 54 steps into the future.

    you’ve stolen my dreams living without limits but I can
    find solace gazing at clouds and I can

    invite you to listen to the purr of a cheetah the song of a blue
    whale the song of a nightingale the rustle of leaves starlings
    imitating ring tones and the buzz of a million
    honey bees

    Hi Jamie. I’ve lost the italics in some of the lines!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gratitude and love from LA thanks for the opportunity ❤

    "recusants you and i"

    night drive slow speed
    body tired windows bleed
    city light a million times
    soul sucker dynamite
    blare the sin out from below
    steel cold brick you sunk me
    my fingers crooked now
    with the countdown of this town
    but don’t underestimate
    the heart mine least of all
    look me in the silence of that eye
    i dare you to deny
    that after you’ve torn
    us both down
    spit on our ancient right
    that a tree of force will not emerge
    from where my human blood’s been shed
    from where my love everlasting powerful
    and pure will for all of time
    triumph over you
    and our perversions

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your Little Soldier
    by Kelly L Miller
    Copyright © 2014 by Kelly L Miller

    Even though you chose to let him back in
    Remember
    I’ll always be there
    If just to stand in front of you
    To block his hit
    Just as I’d always do
    Even though I get so upset
    Over thinking
    Trying to figure out why you accept him
    Remember
    I’ll always be there, if just to stand up for you
    When he calls you ugly names
    Even though I tell myself I told you so
    Knowing
    There’s no way he could ever change
    Remember
    I’ll always share your painful tears when I hear the tremble in your voice
    Right before you begin to cry
    Even though my pride tries to tell me I don’t care anymore
    Constantly
    And that it’s your problem, not mine, whatever he may say or do to you
    Remember
    I’ll always be there to allow the way I care to override my stubbornness
    If just to try my very best to protect you when the situation becomes too violent
    Dangerous
    I’ll always be there, if just to help you pack your bags and run with you
    Even though I know every time you’ll run backwards
    Remember
    I’ll always be there, if just to go back with you to make sure you’ll be ok
    I’ll always be there for you
    Why?
    Because I love you with not only all my heart, but with all I am
    Sincerely
    If you’re happy, even under the most depressing circumstances
    Remember
    I’ll always be there, if just to imitate your forgiveness
    Why?
    Because I’m your little soldier
    I always have been and always will be
    I’ll always fight for you, because no one will take you away from me

    Liked by 2 people

  9. She Died Of a Broken Heart
    by Kelly L Miller
    From my poetry book, The Riddle and the Dedication
    Copyright © 2014 by Kelly L Miller

    As her health began to fail
    You didn’t notice, you didn’t care
    Your sharp cruel words cut deep into her chest
    Yet you said to lift her up, you did your best
    Giving the wound no attention
    You made it worse with jealousy’s incision
    From her body the blood of hope drained
    While you kept disappointing her, she strained in pain
    While she lay helplessly on the ground
    You failed to assist her, you weren’t around
    Her life slipped away and you took no note
    When all she needed was you, love’s antidote
    As the rescuers rolled her away on a stretcher
    The detective shook his head and said
    “She died of a broken heart. God bless her.”

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Poems I had written about child abuse – both my own experience and children and adults I worked with – was met with rejection and silence. I had the clear understanding that there was a taboo on the subject amongst Editors and Publishers – particualrly in terms of male abuse experience – Reuben saw things differently shared my view and was understanding and encouraging. At a time when I felt most despondent he published a poem of mine that had been difficult to write let alone send to a publisher. I will be forever grateful to Reuben.

    The examination of time and its modes.

    We are the explorers
    of time
    in which
    our watchfulness
    reveals
    an awareness
    of life’s turning wheel.
    We the silent sentinels
    examine time
    embracing
    the glue that alloys
    that anneals and binds
    the eternal tick
    hum and thrum
    of the Atomic
    oblivious to the inhalation
    and exhalation of breath
    we breathe
    a measurement of time.
    And dream itself
    three thirty
    in the darkness
    a stop time
    in slow time
    when nightmares wake
    and temperatures drop
    a degree or two
    and old people’s
    grip on time
    is loosed,
    loosened
    they leave
    and are left.
    Goodbye.
    Slow time.
    Stop time.
    Time to wake
    time to go
    slow time
    stop time.
    One day I found
    myself wearing
    two watches
    I was unaware when
    I’d strapped them on
    there is a third
    too delicate to be worn
    the gold watch
    given to an old man
    on finishing.
    Stop time.

    The first watch
    measures
    now time
    fast time.
    The second
    measures
    get it got it
    measures
    slow time
    stop time
    looking at it
    may make
    you decide
    it’s broken
    stopped working
    but it works
    measuring
    very slow time
    stop time
    another time
    known only to us
    known only to you
    Postponed Time
    Since the Disaster
    slow time stop time
    known to those
    whose alarm
    wakes them
    stops them
    from healing
    stops our sleep
    brings it to a grinding
    Halt! Halt! Halt!
    with a scream
    a shout
    a cry for help.
    Let me go.
    Let me go.
    A cry. A cry
    to start time.
    and so the saying goes
    there is a time
    and place
    for everything
    But which time
    is not specified.
    Time heals.
    Time will tell.
    What goes around
    comes around
    and on and on it goes
    the vagaries
    of our understanding
    of time abounds.
    Times up!
    There is no more time.
    I have no time for you.
    I have no more time for you.
    I couldn’t give him
    the time of day.
    Did you keep time
    for me?
    Where did you keep it?
    Was it on your
    person?
    On your body?
    Pocket?
    A locket perhaps?
    Locked up
    somewhere.
    Time to get away.
    How did it get away.
    Did you lose it?
    Did you give it away?
    I have no time
    for you.
    Slow time.
    Fast time
    reaches
    and seeps away
    while we were
    not looking
    We, I didn’t look.
    Carelessly
    it seems
    we
    lose track
    of time.
    The sands
    of time
    are running out.
    Running again
    Sand.
    Don’t get me
    started.
    Oh well.
    Sand
    running slow
    sand running fast.
    sand running
    to a stop.
    Sand stopped running.
    Sand is running
    out where.
    Enough is enough.
    Time to go.

    Time redefined

    And now?
    Am I marooned here?
    You told me to go
    Go go go go go
    when you decided
    that it was done
    that you were done
    with me.
    But I have been left here
    somehow
    then now
    now then
    time stands still
    for some things.
    Trapped in this silence
    now and then
    a fracturing of time.
    Fractured?
    Torn?
    Shredded?
    Ripped?
    Sheered?
    I struggle
    for words.
    It’s not true
    that time heals
    it simply
    that pain lessens.
    I am like a bell
    that has not chimed true
    for so long
    but I am not silent
    only in quietness
    will you hear
    the deep vibration
    of my calm.
    I can’t make
    up for lost time
    making up
    for lost time
    What time?
    Who’s time?
    A clock
    Clocka
    Clagan
    Or Clocc.
    A silent
    instrument
    missing a bell
    is called
    a Time piece.
    I clock you
    You you you you
    You. And you!
    I watch you you
    you and you.
    and you.
    I was five
    I didn’t know.
    Hunt hunt hunt
    Hunt the twat
    Hunt hunt hunt
    Hunt the cunt
    Hunt hunt
    Hunt hunt
    Catch him
    Tie the twat up
    Tie the cunt up
    Tie him hold him
    Tie him hold him
    Shut the cunt up.
    I knew you
    You you you
    And you.
    I didn’t know you.
    I was five
    I didn’t know
    Hunt him
    Catch him
    Hunt hunt
    Hunt hunt
    Catch him
    Tie the cunt up
    Tie him him him
    Shut the twat up
    I see you now
    I know you now
    I do not name you
    That decision
    Is my domain
    Talking talking
    Suddenly aware
    Of you you you
    You. And You.
    Standing there
    Watching watching
    How long had you
    Been watching?
    In silence.
    Stalking me.
    The snare
    Tying my hands
    With twine
    It was a game
    But the rope
    Bit tight
    Cut into my wrists
    And you stopped
    My crying
    With your fists
    You you you
    You. And you.
    Hitting my head
    Hitting my arms
    Hitting my legs
    I was five
    I didn’t know.
    Strip him strip him
    Spread his legs wide
    Tie him down
    Then came the knives.
    Cut his dick off
    Cut his dick off
    Do you want
    To know the rest.
    Do you really need
    To know
    Every last
    Detail of what
    Was done
    Done to me
    When I was a child.
    I was only five.
    I didn’t know them
    I don’t know you.
    I refuse to be
    Defined by you
    By what you, you, you,
    You. And you
    Did to me.
    I am the man
    The man I am
    But it doesn’t
    Define me.
    You will not
    Define me.
    My anger
    About what you did
    You you you
    You. And you.
    Does not define
    Me and my life
    It is you see
    Only a small
    Part of what I call me
    A small part
    Of who I am
    Now.
    This is my time
    My space
    And I decide.

    Time

    I hear your laughter still
    I was five
    I was a child
    I knew you
    I did not know you
    I hear your laughter still
    I was five
    You will not go.
    As incoherent
    As the rattle
    Of an empty plate
    The image of a bell
    Of an empty tea cup
    Turned upside down
    Chimes intertwine
    Merging for reasons
    That are maybe sublime
    In their incoherence
    A bell chimes
    Making time
    An upturned cup
    Signs no more
    I am empty
    I am full.
    01/06/15.

    Liked by 3 people

        1. Good for Reuben for publishing this celfypridd – and bravo to you for the courage you’ve shown in writing it. You’ve taken one of the most difficult, intimate topics and laid yourself open; that can’t have been easy. Thank you for sharing it with us.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. REFLECTIONS ON GOVERNMENT

    From simple language much may be inferred;
    America’s lust for pleasure and commotion
    Like Britain’s anal culture, I’ve a notion,
    Reveals itself within the very word
    Used when our nations’ rulers have concurred.
    Whilst here the House is said to “pass a motion”
    The other side of the Atlantic Ocean
    “An act of congress” is the term preferred.
    But though such speculation may be fun
    The world goes on as it has always done;
    It’s true: “A rose by any other name
    Would smell as sweet” and so we must conclude
    That whether we get shat on or get screwed
    The end result is pretty much the same.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. It is almost two years to the day that Reuben posted Berlin 1933, my first published poem.
    Yes, his website was a place for protest against injustices but protest is another way of expressing love and concern for fellow-citizens and to affirm “our better angels”.
    And wouldn’t the world be a much better place if the great majority of on-line posts expressed love and tolerance, rather than their odious opposites.
    Here in the UK we are in the middle of a general election and I fear that the party which has made so many more people poorer may be re-elected.
    I attach a poem which tries to go the heart of that.

    IN THE GULAG

    A crippled man, eight floors up, the lift
    broken again. A woman, bed-bound,
    her harassed carers late once more while she
    hazes in a dream of rotting fruit.

    Homeless citizens fly-tipped
    to alien towns or camped
    beneath the underpass; others
    filling night-time doorways.

    Third child, non-child!
    Third child, non-child!
    Should have thought of that
    before….!
    Just join the food-bank queue.

    Better like this, no need
    for wire or watchtowers,
    the rabid press as guard-dogs
    of the dark and scattered places,
    our gulag of wilful degradation.

    Liked by 4 people

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