from Black Boots and Rain Puddles

Written Images by Laura Seabaugh


A gust of wind swept through the clearing, stirring dust and fog from the earth. Kantile squeezed her claws around her perch as it swayed beneath her. Barren branches rattled and creatures of night fled from the disturbance in the air. In Kantile’s experience, the forest only reacted when dragons flew overhead, but this magic wasn’t like dragon magic. Dragon magic had the honesty of nature and physics, and life often responded with excitement. This magic caused the trees to shiver in revulsion.

The wind blowing into the clearing defied nature, and stunk like sorcery. Clouds of dust converged to form a figure cloaked in gray like those who’d been waiting for her. The forest settled as the figure started toward the coven on pointed boots.


Centuries ago, when the southern realm was a real kingdom, it mattered who came and went through the foothills. The kingdom of that age was peaceful, and the king was strong and righteous. Kantile had known him in his youth, but she’d only heard the stories of how he’d taken a mysterious woman from an unknown land as his bride. He must not have known the turmoil he’d invited into his homeland.

Now the city lay in ruin, and all the land of the kingdom was flat and gray. With the king’s death, his queen became the leader of the entire southern region. The people of the kingdom, who had blindly adored their queen, were soon smothered by her tyranny. Too late, they discovered that they’d all been deceived by a dragon. The dragon queen demanded taxes that the city couldn’t afford, and when they didn’t pay, her agents destroyed everything. More dragons flew in from the north and carved a dividing ridge out of the mountains, separating her domain from the rest of the world and sealing her subjects in with their fate.

Some of the people escaped, but those who didn’t lost their minds or otherwise vanished. Those who survived became dwarfed, mute, and savage. Over time, their eyes outgrew their faces, and they sprouted wings that looked like tree branches. They became a race called the Shadefaerie, and adapted to living in the ruins as scavengers. The kingdom wasted away in the shadow of a new capital called Isnile, where dragons treated humans like slaves. The queen ordered her lair to be built entirely of obsidian—a fortress to rise above all others. Kantile shuddered at the thought of the place, but from what Dren had told her, it wasn’t even there anymore.


As the door settled back into its frame, the trunk rattled against the wall and one of the bottles, which had already been off-set by the carelessness of someone tossing a bag of silver at it, tipped over the edge of the trunk and fell. Then, wondering what had caused such a clatter on a day when it wasn’t raining in the city of Vet Uman, and recognizing the musical ting of coins, Kantile opened her eyes.

Of course it was a bag of silver. The sound of a bag of silver wasn’t the same as the sound of a bag of copper or gold. Silver had a ring to it. Copper sounded flat, and gold was soft and sweet to hear. Kantile turned her head and squinted at the trunk across the room, blinking at the blurry haze before her eyes. The trunk was a shadow against the wall. The displaced bottle rocked back and forth on its side on the floor, and a drop of amber liquid dripped from its mouth with each tilt. Every drip, drip, drip cut through the city sounds, tapping the wooden floor like an impatient foot.

When I Think of You

A Poem by Mary Ellen Ziegler

When I think of you
all I can think of are the first lines of poems
Listen to the lunch bell ring
Dilly Dilly

Visitors welcome
The rain was everything – quenching our thirst
We were laughing monkeys – with nothing better to do
We have no choice but to carry on

Should I die mysteriously
Let it be here – that you remember me
Is anyone taking the train?
Here’s what you do

In case of emergency
call Ashley the Bee Keeper
Don’t forget to breathe – Hello
Like portrait painting, reserved parking, cadmium red.

Laws and Man

”There are two types of laws: there are just laws and there are unjust laws… What is the difference between the two? … An unjust law is a man-made code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

“The ultimate test of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge and moments of controversy.”

–Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Audio Filtering

A Poem by April Salzano

is not the same as stimming
or echolalic speech, though each
involves repetition
of repetition
and repeats. Filters.
Both an attempt to understand
and an offering of understanding,
its own process to process
information, the sound
of words of words of words,
and the words of sounds.

*echolalia is the seemingly meaningless repetition of another’s words rather than functional communication

*stimming is self-stimulatory behavior common in autistic children (ie, rocking, hand-flapping, etc.)

Rising for Women Everywhere: V-Day

As activists in 128 countries escalate their efforts and plan local One Billion Rising For Justice 2014 events, our core team continues to create path breaking resources, tool kits, & short films; connect networks; and use social media to activate and engage the dialogue of justice.

Peru is Rising for the hundreds of thousands of indigenous women who were sterilized during the Fujimori regime and for the tens of thousands of women who were raped during the armed conflict and have never received justice.
Farm workers in the US and Mexico are Rising for immigration reform, farm worker, women’s rights and an end to sexual harassment in the workplace.
South Africa is Rising to end ‘corrective rape’ against lesbians.
Guatemala is Rising in support of laws to protect women and to highlight indigenous women and their vision of justice.
Bangladesh is Rising to lobby political parties to bring legislation to protect women.
Los Angeles is Rising to promote rape awareness and sexual assault in the military, engaging courts, local police and sheriff departments.
Haiti is Rising to bring a State of Female Justice to Haiti as defined by Haitian survivors and women’s groups.
The Philippines is Rising against militarization, corporate greed, mining, economic injustice and labor exploitation, and the plundering done by a corrupt government that severely impacts women and girls.
Mexico City, Atlanta, Miami and San Francisco are Rising to Stop Sex Trafficking.
College students in the US are Rising to stop sexual assault on campuses and to hold administrations accountable to properly prevent or adequately respond to the needs of college survivors.

Your participation on 14 February means everything to us!

With gratitude,

V-Day core – Eve, Susan, Cecile, Christine, Monique, Purva, Shael, Tony, Kate, Amy, Laura, Carl, Joliz, Noelle, & Kristina

The Prison Bra

A Short Piece of Nonfiction by Mary Ellen Ziegler

Michael B said my LIFE is a “Performance Piece.” He wanted to know if I’m ready to do it on stage – but I don’t want to be like Harry Chapin’s, “Mr. Tanner,” so I tell him about the guards not letting me in to see my brother in prison because I wasn’t wearing a bra. Cross my heart!

I drove down from Chicago with mom just for a visit that day. Five hours! I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and denim vest. They patted Mom down and she went through to the waiting room, but after patting me down they said, “You’ll have to go put on a bra. It’s a new rule for all women.” We didn’t bring a change of clothes. I said I didn’t have a bra with me and there’s only an hour left for visiting and we drove all this way. Too bad, they tell me, go down the road a piece to the dollar store and get one.

When I get to the parking lot, I meet a pregnant woman talking to a tow truck driver. She had left her lights on and needed a jump. I ran up to her car and asked her if she had enough money for the jump start and could I please buy her bra for $10. I thumbed through my wallet and realized I only had $20. I offered her the money for her bra, she smiled as she unhooked it, slid it out her sleeve, and put it in my hands! I thanked her and ran back into the building swinging it over my head yelling, “I got one.”

When I met mom in the waiting room, the mild mannered, shy woman was pacing the floor asking to speak to the warden. She wanted to ask him if the men were required to wear “cups and saucers” or “jock straps” cuz it must be mighty seductive with all those men walking around there just hanging loose. She’s determined to go back and make a fortune opening a bra shop out front for all the women who don’t know the rules yet – or don’t care.

But I got in and I was able to visit my brother.