Baby Hope – Kristiana Reed

My Hope poem for Free Verse Revolution 💛



Baby has been in the incubator

for a few hours.

Her skin is beginning

to soften from blue

to pink

and her tiny fingers


Baby breathes unaided

but remains wired

into the box

made of plastic

so it doesn’t shatter

like I did

when they said:

‘She has a hole

in her heart.’

At first, I wondered

if I could fix it;

as I fixed my father’s

and her father’s

with love I was taught

to give

instead of want.

Her fierce kick

soon left me


I would love

Baby Hope


I would fill her heart,

not fix it;

with compassion

and kisses,

bedtime stories

and every star wishes,

short walks

and long naps,

visits to the hospital

and paddles along the beach,

peaches and pills,

and everything else

she will need to live.

Rather than count

her birthdays.

Rather than breathe

as she blinks

or feel…

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Kristiana Reed Reviews We Will Not Be Silenced

My review of We Will Not Be Silenced, available now 💛


We Will Not Be Silenced is a collection of poetry, prose, essays, and art which shares the lived experience of sexual harassment and sexual assault. It has been pieced together and pioneered by four incredible, courageous women who, in telling their truth, have a raised a chorus of ninety-one other writers and artists. Austin, Daquin, Finch, and Ray have undoubtedly created more than a piece of art. They have blown wind into the sails of change and made a stand which has already altered the lives of many.

We Will Not be Silenced, as the title suggests, paves the way for silence to be shattered. Shame and stigma in society have taught a lesson of ‘stay quiet because no one will believe you’, for too long. The stories in this collection, although difficult to read at times, teach new lessons. Lessons about hope.Lessons about how you are not alone…

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Ghost Car Motorcade – Nicholas Gagnier



i’m lead car in a haunted motorcade, bulletproof but life’s been dropping IEDs, road bomb reminiscence I still can’t help but see through rose-coloured glasses, as my time here occurs in flashes and bleeds, one dream into the other.


ghosts formed

a brotherhood,

and until I become

one of them

for good,

i’m driving limousines through backwater neighbourhoods at their behest, looking for beautiful places to wander and bless with eventual inevitabilities,

killing the meantime

painting villains like

the ones right in front of me

and building up the heroes

who would

topple them

if I was God in this universe,

and allowed no kind of church in

my name


I arrange my happy face

and struggle all day

to make that ghost

car motorcade seem

in transit

until I come home

and take advantage of momentum

in universes I meant it

be achieved

at the

end, I’m…

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Three of my poems were kindly featured by MAELSTROM. Thank you so much! This issue looks incredible and I highly recommend you sit and read it with a nice, warm drink ❤


The feminist issue of MAELSTROM ZINE is live, and can be viewed here:

As always, thank you to our amazing contributors:

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Kristiana Reed Interviews Kindra M. Austin, Candice Louisa Daquin, Rachel Finch, and Christine E. Ray About the Anthology ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’

It was such a pleasure to interview the editors behind We Will Not Be Silenced. The book is available now and you can support the GoFundMe page. Links at the end of the interview 💛


In the last few years, the stage on which women and men were always expected to prance and perform has changed. Windows are being installed in the wings. The heavy, velvet curtains are being pulled down and the ropes are being severed. The gauze on the lights is being torn or removed so they shine brighter and the ornamental ceiling has wide cracks in the stucco and tears in the paint. All that has been built around us for centuries – patriarchy, gender stereotypes, heterosexuality being the only sexuality, expectations of femininity, toxic masculinity and silence – is crumbling. It is crumbling because of people like the editors of We Will Not Be Silenced.

This anthology, which showcases powerful poetry, prose, essays and art, is the lived experience of sexual harassment and sexual assault. I was given the wonderful opportunity to interview the women who, in response to current…

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TWELVE REVIEW by Nicholas Gagnier

I’m so excited for this 💛


Let me speak plainly. Kindra M. Austin is not only my friend and an incredible writer, but my business partner at Blank Paper Press. If you are looking for a reflection of this book not steeped in bias, you may want to look elsewhere.

That does nothing to undermine my respect for Twelve, her newest release of poetry and prose. Nor does it mean I am incapable of critiquing it. As an anthology, it steers into its own darkness, and may not invite everyone quite like it spoke to me.

That said, Twelve is one of my favourite collections of the year, alongside Nicole Lyons’ Blossom and Bone and Austin’s novel, For You, Rowena. It ranks up there among one of the most heartrending collections I’ve ever read. This is because Twelve’s airtight narrative of bereavement gives you little breathing room against the barrage of Austin’s grief over the…

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To Carry a Knife – Kristiana Reed

Blood Into Ink

My daughter will learn

how to hone the blades

on the tip of her tongue;

and she will cut and sculpt

words which move the world

to tears and action.

She will use her mother’s weapons

to leave this world

a better place;

carrying a knife in her wit

and not her pocket,

wielding strength in

her kindness and ferocity,

not fighting for her life

and her right to exist.

She will be here to stay.

She will not be shushed

nor ushered away.

Kristiana Reed is an English teacher and a writer (in her free time and day dreams.) She is the author of the WordPress blog My Screaming Twenties and she writes about love, her struggle with mental health, survival and hope. She is currently in the middle of producing Between the Trees, her debut anthology, and writing her first novel.

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I adore this so much 💛

hijacked amygdala

We were standing on the old sea wall,
one Saturday night in August.
I was looking out across the grey
and thinking,
“You are not like me.”
I was impressed;
you impressed my 18 year old naiveté.
I liked your history, that you were older than me,
and the way you held me
and your money
and your energy
and the way you smashed the punch-bag
on that boxing arcade game
with such might that it nearly fell over.
New high score.
New adventure.
New boyfriend.
New life.
You were a good dancer
and you made me feel safe.
But there was a very real danger in you
and that appealed greatly.
I lied to my father;
told him I was with the girls,
but I was steeped in drunken debauchery
with you, by the sea.
(He caught me.
I never lied to him again.)
He was disappointed in me.

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