Victoria Phillips

Victoria PhillipsWe here at the Windward Review are proud to debut our next Author's Spotlight, showcasing the powerful work of writer and contributor Victoria Phillips! Writing out of East Texas, Victoria is a force of nature in the state's literary community, featured at a variety of events and having her work published in a variety of magazines and journals, including The Windward Review.

Her work champions the inner strength, the soul of spoken-word style poetry, and the intimacy of human relationships; all while challenging our traditionally-held views on writing, opting to spread her deeply personal work as forms of release and political activism. Make no mistake, Victoria's work is profound and rooted in an extraordinarily-crafted real, and each piece is convincing of her deep understanding and mastery of the craft.


You are lost to me,
aren't you,
You do not see me standing here
painted and posed
in my prettiest dress

Straining to catch your
to remind me WHY I live here
in this hell-hole
with you,
Why I stripped my voice of all inflection
gathered your words into my mouth
and hungrily swallowed your will.

You stare back
eyes unclear
pupils dilated in the rush.
I strain to recall their real color
or how the tiny lines around them
would crinkle when you'd smile,
But it has been
so long
since you smiled
at me.

You know,
I wish it were a woman,
At least then I might feel I could try!

I could arch my back
and swing my hips
and touch you with soothing hands.

But this?
this powdered
polluted unreality
that you pull inside yourself...
So passionate!
so passionate
about everything else.
Is it because I am a constant?
I've always been there and always will be
No buzz whirl zip zing
snort huff pay puff
I am like the coffee grounds you spilled by the sink
used up and annoying

And SMACK! CRACK! You’re losing weight again
Your pale skin stretches sickly
over bones that poke my hand
Spiteful, mocking, sharp, little bones
for they are always with you
while I may only touch you
at last
you sleep.

I've finished cleaning now
Finished stepping over the bodies
of your newest coke-fiend friends
emaciated and drooling
on the shit-stained floor
That I must clean
and scrub
and scour
to keep some semblance of sane.

The rent's not paid
the door's been kicked in
and the cops are waiting down the street.

But I stand here cooking
(knowing you won't eat)
I stand here cooking
(flour-water biscuits, no money for meat)
I stand here cooking
because it's all I can do

Because I'm addicted to loving
I'm a junkie too.


Tell me again that I owe you.
You must have overlooked my payments
in the seeping box beneath your bed:
my left arm, gnarled and smashed,
that will never again be a dancer's arm, arcing through gentle air.
It will never lift a crying child to calm.

I have learned to discern the different daily pains
indicating permanent nerve death--
indicating further uselessness.
I taught classes in a cast that year
before you decided my career, too, would be much better
along with every need for which you’d make me
swear and grovel
to prove no impropriety
as you crafted betrayal into tiny knots
that still fester under my skin.
(The box is rather filled with blood, but you never seemed to mind that.)

See, also, my dead dog,
killed for my disobedience--
the audacity to march with women in Washington when you said I should not.
My sign said, “Hatred broke my arm. Please don’t let it break my country.”
It did anyway, so check carefully,
my faith is tucked between my dog's front paws.
It was always small, but so was he.
Did he cry like I did when you hurt him?

My childless belly,
my ruined face,
my ability to discern the voice of God,
my errant heart that was always strong
until it learned from you
how it feels to be dangled and swung by ankles,
afraid my head would hit the walls
right before it did.
Your hand around my throat, squeezing,
and I will never not know now
what is to see love grown rancid
as I am wrenched and thrown
down the crumbling hall.

So tell me again that I owe you,
as I learn to dance
faceless, armless, childless, and faithless;
lifting my shaking fist
in full and open revolt!
Tell me, again,
as you hold this box of blood
and I walk away on bones
that somehow still sing holy.