Black Girls are Angry too & Politically Invisible (BLW Contributor)




Why you gonna take me seriously if I don’t show you that I’m in charge of myself? That I’m no joke. You ain’t gonna respect me until you know that what I say is for real. —Samantha, a 14-year-old girl

There ain’t nothing more convincing than a good punch. —Lakeesha, a 16-year-old girl

This girl tried to really mess me up once. She brought three other girls with her. I knew I was gonna get it, so I cracked her on the side of her face with this can that was on the ground. They thought I was so crazy they just picked up their friend and left me alone. —Victoria, a 15-year-old girl

Fighting is about image. It’s about showing you’re no punk. I know I don’t rule the world, but I can feel like I do, make you think I do. Fighting is independence. I beat someone up…

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Such a Shame! by Agatha & Mary (BLW Contributor)



Oh Mary dear, I’m so glad you’re here.

Why Agatha, what’s happened?  You’re quite worked up.  I’ll ring for Ethel and she can fetch you some camomile tea.

Oh bless you dear.  It’s just I’m feeling a little anxious today.

Oh you mean about Theresa May being our new Prime Minister?

Good grief no dear, I’m not fussed about someone who sounds like a shampoo brand being PM.  No dear, this is much more serious.

I think I’d better sit down then Agatha!  (pause)  Now, do tell me what you are talking about.  Ethel should be here with tea soon.

Well Mary, I seem to be experiencing something unpleasant.

Is it that new underwear you bought the other day?

No dear, I think I feel ashamed!

Oh, that is nasty. But whatever do you have to feel ashamed about?

Well, Mary, you know I normally don’t give a monkeys about what people think?  Well, I did hear from an old friend that people have been talking about me, and it makes me feel quite tremulous.

That’s not like you at all Agatha.  Such a stout heart, you have, so what were people saying?

Well, you know those new clever friends of Fluff Fortescue, our old neighbour in Wiltshire, well they came to tea on Wednesday – I hadn’t invited them but Fluff was insistent that we would all get on like a house on fire.  Anyway, they seemed perfectly charming, and I was poised to add them to my Christmas list when Fluff called.  She told me that they had been sniggering in the car on the way back to Salisbury about the state of my house.

What’s wrong with your house, dear?

Well, I thought everything was tip top, Ethel had done some light dusting that morning and the brass door knocker had been polished by Jones the gardener, so I was totally shocked to hear that they felt it was not up to scratch!  Something about cobwebs in the architrave and grubby skirtings.  Well, I needed a long sit down and a stiff gin when Fluff revealed their concerns, I can tell you!

How dreadful.

I know.  I’m normally immune Mary dear, but since then I’ve been flitting about the house, damp cloth in one hand, magnifying glass in the other, it’s all been quite distressing.  I feel (pauses and takes a deep breath) dirty!

Well, Agatha, I think you can just stop fretting.  These people have probably got some chip on their shoulder about your status, or something.  I’m certain it’s all down to jealousy.  You are not dirty, well, certainly not since we took that trip to Turkey and had a mud bath. It was amazing where the mud seemed to end up!  Put it right out of your mind.  Here’s Ethel with your tea.  Or would you like something stronger?

No, this is lovely.  And maybe you’re right dear, they did look a little envious when I showed them my collection of silver spoons.

That’s right, chin up dear one.  Anyway, you don’t have the monopoly on shame.  Do you remember when I had the grandchildren to stay over the summer, a few years back?  Well, I felt a little itchy after they left, went to have my shampoo and set and – would you believe it – dear Claude, who was combing me out, found a hair louse!  More than one!  I can tell you,  I blushed right up to my roots, high-tailed it out of there.  I was still wearing the protective cape.  I think I alarmed a few people who were walking past.  They must have thought I was some sort of elderly superhero as I dashed along, cape flowing. But I just needed to be far away from Claude and his tutting!

Oh yes – I do remember Mary.  I think I laughed about that for a week.  Sorry dear!  

Forgiven, dear heart.  But, these feelings of shame we have, they are about something a little deeper, are they not?

What do you mean?

I mean, shame is something so many people feel.  And women feel it in complex ways.  Did you see that terrific American lady on TED?  

Mary dear I am totally confused, and, if I say so, I think you may have lost the plot a bit here.  Teddy Roosevelt died years ago.  I don’t see how you could possibly be talking to him, unless you had a seance with that fantastically bonkers woman that Mrs Herbert introduced us to?

Agatha honestly!  I do worry about you sometimes.  No dear, a TED talk is a talk that you listen to and watch on the internet.  This one was by Brené Brown.  She talks about vulnerability and how shame is the precursor to vulnerability and that it impacts on so many aspects of women’s lives and even men’s.

Oh, I see.  Well I agree that society nowadays seems to control people through making them feel ashamed.  Women are told to Do It All, Do It Perfectly and Never Let Them See You Sweat!  It seems we have, particularly for young women and mothers, a set of unattainable expectations which put them in a strait jacket.

And men too, apparently.  But theirs is apparently Not To Be Perceived As Weak.

Oh yes, dear, it’s very confusing for the young people nowadays.  Do you think it goes back to the Catholic dogma of Original Sin?

Oh, certainly, yes Agatha, the Count was led to believe that we are born with it –  it’s had quite an impact on him and I can’t say we haven’t faced a few demons because of it.  Of course the Catholic church is not the only religion with a monopoly on shame.  Others drive the most dreadful behaviour, making families conform to certain rules about marriage, heaping shame on those who step outside those rules.

Yes, and even small feeling of shame can have huge repercussions.  I mean, young girls starving themselves to look like models.  They seem to feel they are simply not good enough as they are.

Yes, and it comes up in lots of other ways Agatha dear.  It can be shame about keeping the house clean and tidy, to shame about not being a valuable and worthy individual – or even shame because you feel you have no right to exist.  In whatever form, the symptoms of shame manifest themselves according to the individuals demons.

Do you think I feel shame from eating too many tea cakes dear?  You seem to know a lot about it, so do be blunt.

Agatha don’t be ridiculous!  (Pause) You always do have a tendency to be melodramatic! Eating too many tea cakes is merely a guilty pleasure.  Guilt is very much a different thing; it is more about feeling bad about something you have done.  Shame is deeper, its about feeling bad about who you are. 

So then Mary dear, what can be done about it all?

We have to empathise dear.  Don’t you remember when your Archie graduated and met Stephen Fry?  Didn’t you tell me that Mr Fry talked about being kind to each other, that kindness was the most important thing.  Well that’s what we must be, we must question everything that we do – from parenting and the norms we offer our children, to what our expectations of people are, and to challenge some of these ridiculous expectations that the media gives us to conform to body shape, jobs, the state of our homes, perfect hair, that sort of thing.  

That doesn’t sound like it can be done in an afternoon dear?

Absolutely not Agatha, but kindness may lead to people show some vulnerability, even if it is about not being able to cope with the traumas of the day.  So if we ask for help, and are listened to with empathy and support, this can instigate change and I think that’s a good thing isn’t it?

Of course it is Mary.  Another tea cake?

Ooh I can’t resist – these are that lovely silver fox, Paul Hollywood’s recipe aren’t they?

Yes Mary – don’t forget, lashings of butter!

Check out other great articles from Agatha & Mary

House of Anansi Press Champagne Breakfast by Toronto Film Files (BLW Contributor)


Toronto Film Files

Two of my favourite things in life are books and mimosas.  House of Anansi Press gave me both.

On June 8th I made the trek from the East-end to Lansdowne for House of Anansi Press’ Champagne Breakfast!  The breakfast was in celebration of House of Anansi’s move to the up-and-coming cultural hub that is Lansdowne, and a wave of exciting new releases on their publishing horizon.

A red brick wall bears a black picture in a white frame. The black picture shows a white statue with the words: IF I CLOSE MY EYES I COULD GET LOST IN THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS..." Art in Lansdowne (watch this ‘hood, it’s gonna be an arts/culture hub in a few years)

After taking two buses, the subway, and a walk through a construction zone wherein I started to think I was horribly lost, I stumbled upon Henderson craft brewery (I was so surprised that there was a Toronto craft brewery I hadn’t heard of before) and…finally!…House of Anansi Press at the front of the adjoining building complex!

When I walked in to the bright, industrial-chic space featuring walls lined…

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When the World Breaks Your Heart by 4unansweredprayers (BLW Contributor)



Every day, when you want to smile the world will tell you no. It will advise you to watch the news. How can you be happy when there is so much sorrow in the world? Are you so heartless? Taking a selfie while so many are dying of hunger? Haven’t you heard of those who died from the recent attacks scattered all over the world?

Everyday life gives you a reason not to be happy. It will remind you of dreams not met. It will tell you that you are not moving fast enough. It will show you people who started the race with you but are now far ahead of you. It will sneer at you, do they have two heads that they do better than you?

Everyday Quote Everyday society will call you a fool. They will look at you brace the storm of your life and judge you. They…

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Step into the Light by MLK (Peace in France)


The Past and the Present by Magpie (BLW Contributor)


My past and my present are entirely different. When I was a kid, I’m very naughty, and I even remember the time that I hate eating. As the time passes, I understand how life is used to be. My mother before is angry at me when I’m not eating and when I’m not studying or if I’m not healthy. I’m slightly thin before. When I was a baby, I’m very healthy, but now, I’m thin and always get easily sick. She even hit me with the belt of my father or if there’s no belt to hit me, then a long stick. I’m such a crybaby when I was a kid. As I grew up, I said to myself that I should become healthy, I should eat healthy foods, I should study hard and I should be good from now on.

When I was in third grade (I’ll be in fourth grade soon), I suffered from dengue…

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Cat’s Tongue by Ryan Fu



I stand across from you

in our tiny studio apartment

letting the silence fill up the space

as I wonder what happened to us.

We used to be inseparable,

but now we’re ghost, haunting each other

waiting on faith like Jack and Rose

onboard the Titanic.

I wonder if one our cats could talk,

what they would say?

They probably would say what we were

too scared to say.

That this is over.

There’s no going back.

You can’t put a Band Aid

in a gaping hole. 

So, I stand across from you

in our tiny studio apartment.

Between us an ocean of unhappiness

waiting for a life raft.




Buy it on


Crime Log by Cassie’s Stories (BLW Contributor)


Cassie's Stories

“Ugh, my head!” I winced, clutching my pounding head and glancing around at my surroundings.
I was in my hotel room, a cheap hotel in Las Vegas. Far away from the dazzling lights, colors and energy of the Strip, it was the only one we’d been able to afford. Still, we didn’t mind it. The important thing was that the six of us were together for Stacey’s hen weekend. We were so excited to be on the holiday of our lives, far away from our peaceful, quaint little English village, just a short bus ride away from all the shows, casinos, bars and parties we had previously only dreamed of.
I was, however, unsure of what Jessica and myself were doing back in our hotel room. I was still wearing last night’s dress, laying on my bed, with a stinking headache.
“I’m never drinking again!” I murmured, as I slowly…

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The Truth Hurts – We take everything for Granted



The Struggle is Over by GracieLo (BLW Contributor)



breeze&rosesFeet, legs, body, me —
Criss-crossed, wrapped in the aged green grass
Under the warm, familiar shade
Of the old oak tree.

Roots, stalk, petals, leaves —
A bud I know from ages ago
Bloomed one day — with my hand, but not my say;
A rose on its own enjoys the breeze.

Wind, hail, the clouds did fade.
Yet, within the reaches of my haven,
A disconcertingly hollow exchange
Makes me miss the sound of rain.

Hate, love, passion, pain —
I wondered how long the calm could remain,
Examined the flower for signs of thirst,
Wondered at how the plant did sustain.

Words ring emptily
Across the field and through my head,
And to my rootless body’s bones, which
Grasp the blossom shakily.

Anxious fingers gently thread
Through the foliage-filled facade
That puts up no vicious, thorny fight,
To my wary, growing dread.

Now hearing every dry word…

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