Monday, 28 February 2011

This is the end - beautiful February Femme Fatale, A.J. Humpage

February Femmes Fatales - 
February 28th

So, here we are. This is the end - as the beautiful Mr Morrison sang - and continues to do. The final February Femmes Fatales showcase piece.

I chose this carefully, and yes it's poetry rather than fiction. But Arbeit Macht Frei by A.J. Humpage is remarkable. I confess I've bigged Ally up throughout this showcase, but it's not without warrant. All contributors to, and readers of my weekly Friday Prediction will know how capable she is of scaring the human hell out of us. She sees the horror in mankind, and throws it in our faces - deal with it.

Arbeit Macht Frei upsets and distresses, confuses and hurts. It is a brilliant work that forces us to address inequality. Please do read it. And thank you, Ally for contributing this disturbing, and so well crafted poem.

Arbeit Macht Frei By A J Humpage

Hopeless voices

Entangled branches

Deep wine coloured leaves

Cold breath dancing

In frozen streams.

Slung back rifles, relaxed

And the satisfied stench

Of smiles etched cold

In ribbons of smoke

Stark against the haze.

Hoisted skirts, akimbo legs

Semen stains to soil the skin

Bare breasts like trophies

Chilled to the touch

And wretched in death.

Eyes wide open

But blood still warm

Captured by the camera

Dignity stolen

By the men of war.

Star of David sewn on the arm

But the smile is gone

Clouds fill with spite

The fires burn bright

Day and night.

Their ghostly faces

Shine; frozen in fright

Stilled, fooled hearts

Peace in death

At a price. 

Bio: A J Humpage has stories published in many anthologies like 6 Sentences, Pill Hill Press, Static Movement and many e-zines. She also writes articles and dispenses writing advice at She has completed her first novel and some of her stories and poetry can be found at


  1. A gorgeous close to a month of extraordinary, chilling prose. Thank you so much, Lily. Wonderful writers and stories you have showcased.

  2. AJ - that is truly, truly horrifying. As Lily points out, you excel at finding humanity's most shameful atrocities and shining cold harsh light on them, so there is nowhere to look but at the ugly. You have real talent.

    Lily - thank you so much for sharing the work of all these wonderful women with us. 28 days of stories is an amazing feat. This is something to be very proud of.

  3. Wow, what an end to a fabulous month. Superb and well written, as always AJ! This is a great poem to go out on.

    Lily, thank you so much for organising all of this. A fantastic idea that distracted us from the doldrums of winter. So many good writers here. Might there be some men of May showcased? Looking forward to more of your creativity! Will be watching this space.

  4. A sombre finish to this amazing showcase but a poignant reminder that writers have the ability and privilege to present the world with not just froth and bubble but also the hard-hitting issues of life - thus inviting debate and (hopefully) the progress of a more civilised society. AJ presents us with just such an opportunity in this fitting final FFF.

  5. The end already? Noooo.

    A stunning piece to finish with, Lily. It has been a wonderous 28 days full of astounding talent and I feel honoured to have even been considered worthy. Thank you to all the Femmes Fatales!

  6. brilliantly heartbreaking poem on which to end the month. AJ, this is beautiful in a cold sort of way.
    Lily, what am I going to do without FFFs to check on each day? Right... go back to checking on Friday Prediction entries instead ...
    but when you're ready, let's do it all over again, yes?

  7. Thank you for the comments.

    Three cheers for Lily for taking the time and effort and dedication to showcase a great group of female writers. A successful and enjoyable month for all concerned, I think.

  8. Beautiful and terrible about man´s darkest depths. A magnificent ending to a magnificent month!


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.