Tempered in thorns

They don’t want to believe we exist
Hostility is a dual-headed sword reflecting in sneer
Certain welcome, expectation ettiquette
Don’t share my space when you’re a different
Tempered in thorns
When did the blood get washed off the sidewalk?
Take your hands out of your pockets
Show me your tongue, your contents of none
Swallow a bullet for your refusal
Fallen fags
Fallen blacks
Fallen in cuffs
Fallen angels
A notion they can kill us
Accountability absent
Wounds of women
Birthing rape
Politicians say
We’ll punish you if you abort our violent play
Let sleeping dogs lie
Captivity in subscription morality
Trust bleeds through fingers
Honor sleeps at the wheel
Witness to slide-show
Where do children go?
To rid their minds of hate
Flickering on screens, pouring out of mouths, once fed by girls, singing soft hymns in fruit orchards before the slaughter

All written work sole copyright of Candice Daquin, 2016. info@thefeatheredsleep.com


No Matter How the Wind Howls

Carmen sat in a park off of Clarkson Street watching teenagers play baseball. She drank wine from a plastic carton and swayed in the wind. No one could play very well in wind like that. Sometimes it was calm for a little.

Carmen was wearing a yellow dress that touched the ground. Her light brown hair was everywhere.

Emma walked up behind Carmen and sat next to her, facing away from the game.

“Why don’t you watch?” asked Carmen.

“Aren’t you afraid to get caught drinking that?” asked Emma.

“What do you mean?” asked Carmen.

“Never mind,” said Emma. She breathed through her nose and closed her eyes. She was short and wore the same pair of jeans all the time.

“Have you seen Tara?” asked Carmen.

“No,” said Emma.

One of the kids hit the ball and the bat rang out clear in the wind.

Carmen cheered and laughed. She drank more wine and offered some to Emma.

Emma drank some wine and passed the carton back. She said, “I was going to work tonight.”

“Don’t work,” said Carmen. “Watch the game.”

“I hate sports,” said Emma.

“Then go away,” said Carmen. She drank more wine and then asked, “What happened yesterday with Candice?”

“What do you mean?” asked Emma.

“Oh,” said Carmen.

The pitcher caught a ground ball and threw it to the first basemen. The first basemen missed it and ran off to get the ball. The runner advanced to second.

Carmen clapped her hands and laughed.

Carmen’s laugh made Emma feel a little better because it was a pretty laugh. Not like Tara’s laugh, which was so loud and obnoxious. It was fine for Tara to laugh like that, though.

Emma said, “What about Candice?”

“I ran into her at the store and she was talking about something happened last night. I don’t know what. Who cares.” Carmen drank more wine. “Isn’t it so nice? Out here on the bench?”

“It’s cold, kind of,” said Emma.

Carmen looked at Emma and then looked back at the game.

Emma said, “I heard you were thinking of leaving town.”

“How could I leave?” asked Carmen. “When it’s so nice. Out here. On the bench.”

“I never cared for this park,” said Emma. “We should go to a different one some time.”

“Emma,” said Carmen, “turn around and watch the game. You’re making everyone uncomfortable, looking that way.”

Emma turned around and Carmen gave her more wine.

“Don’t worry,” said Carmen, putting her arm around Emma, “tonight you w0n’t work. We’ll go to Brooklyn and drink cheap beer. We’ll play pool with boys and maybe find Kelsey. She can take us upstate or something. You won’t be cold and whiny. I’ll bring you a thick cardigan that my mother used to wear.”

“Ok,” said Emma. “But can we not stay here? It’s cold and this game is boring.”

“Well,” said Carmen, looking down through the opening of the empty carton, “why not? I hate baseball anyway.”


If you like this, read this too. Fuck it, why not?


J2: Where I End and You Begin


Hey J,

I decided I would add a second letter to our collection of one. I have a lot to tell you. Like this … do you remember the new girl who started at our school? Moved from France. Paris. You would have been about fourteen, not long before the accident. She joined your class, sat in the row in front of you. Never fitted in.

You must remember.

Her face didn’t help her assimilation. Her eyes were wide apart, pushed to the side of her head like a Cubism portrait. I recall you once said that she could see around corners better than straight ahead. Those eyes man, a semi-vacant permanency to them. They looked right through you, even as she was telling you to fuck off after you called her “the Alien”.

You must remember. Nicole was her name.

Her nose was also something of a calamity. From her forehead it projected out then plummeted, ending in a ball of cartilage and a flare of nostrils. Her hair was long, lank and greasy. She had acne over her forehead and nose. Her cheeks were round and ruddy. Her chin was weak.

You must remember. You fancied the pants off her.

You thought of little else during your formative masturbatory years. Many a soiled tissue found its way into the sewage system thanks to immature fantasies of Nicole. You wanted her to be your girlfriend. That is why you would humiliate her on the school bus as we made our way home each day. Seeking her attention in the limited way you knew how.

You must remember. I do. I recall her lips were perfect, even then.

I hope you will be pleased to know that as she grew older, the way she occupied her face improved. She became quite the looker you had anticipated, you might even say she was beautiful. Others caught on to the potential that you had seen in her. In your honour I fought many a boy, defending her honour, and your memory.

This you wouldn’t know. She came to have many admirers – including me.

If you had been alive today, you would be calling her your sister-in-law. Jealous? Good. Can’t wait to tell you about our kids.

yours, A.


Where I End and You Begin – Radiohead


The Girl with the Wild Hair


The stray came back,
gliding in,
without so much as
a scratch
at the door –

she came back carrying
on her tongue
and eyes
capable of seeing only
her reflection;

she came back
with dirtied flesh
and matted hair;
slinking into bed with
playful nips
and cuddles
soaked in cold sweat;

she came back
with a brand new coat
and a ring
around her finger.

I removed those
before her clothes.

(art by Egon Schiele)