Grey, Alicen

When Humans Had Wings is the solo project of Alicen Grey, a Jupiter-voiced musician-magician chronicling her in-progress self-liberation process with melodies and metaphors. Weaving the soul-stirring intensity of alternative rock with the whimsical surrealism of a storybook, her "alt-whimsy" music reminds us of the time when we flew without fear — the time also known as "now." 

On This Page

Run Rabbit Run!

My album is officially out! It's called RUN RABBIT RUN! 


All of the streaming links, plus an embeddable Bandcamp playlist, are on the front page of my music site.


While the album itself is not explicitly about my religious trauma (except, in a way, the song The Madness of the Saints), my journey back to singing is deeply entrenched in a history of exploitation by my cultic childhood church. I was interviewed about that experience on Post-Woke Podcast, and I also blogged about it here.


The poetry below is from Alicen's book Wolves and Other Nightmares


This story doesn’t start with a beginning,

a nice “once upon a time”

or a “in a land far, far away.”

This story starts

when I was 16.

This story starts

right here in my head

which isn’t really my head anymore

—but we’ll get to that.


This story starts

with a death

that looked like a birth

so no one would ask

any questions.


Grey-tinted skin and deteriorating frame

made me the perfect target

for your calculating, selenite


My self-destructive tendencies

rolled out the red carpet

for you to stifle my thoughts

in the guise of caring.


You were like the stories I’d written

you were like the daydreams I spun

out of my hair,

except you were real

and talking to me.


We danced like we were bowing down

to each other,

spoke for hours like we were


The more you gave me, the less I had

until my world was a translucent sheet of glass,

shimmering, halfway-reflecting,

a window to your world, but fragile.

Crystallized air.


People like you should come with a warning label.

One that reads, “Worship at your own risk.”


I met a dangerous man today;

he did not tell me his name.

Most creatures would run at the sound of his steps

but I chose to become his prey.


His voice is the chill of snowfall

making icicles out of my screams.

His smile is the broken mirror I blame

for 7 years of bad dreams.


I think that the moon balances in his palm

for he forms and alters the tides.

He pulls at the water in me, in me

and makes me like drowning alive.


I have tasted the dust that composes his bones,

I have flown on the winds of his breath,

I have seen with the light he takes from the sun

and it showed me he scavenges death.


This dangerous man is seducing me

into a choking embrace,

but I am content getting hurt, as long

as the hypnotist tells me I'm safe.

let there be darkness

It must acknowledge its spiritual origins.


the damaged beliefs

and jagged fault line of fangs

claws at my shoulder

lips at my ear


It must succumb to demolition

as a flower curls to frost.


under your weight

your masked and shrouded form


It must relinquish its face,

its reflection,

to allow yours to unfold and take throne.


gaping hole, echoes ricocheting along

tattered walls, screams, apologies, confessions, shame.


It must expose its deepest crevices

to the wandering eyes

of the leader.


It must obey.

my mind went away yesterday



My mind went away yesterday,

and it’s nowhere to be found.

I could tell you I feel


but if I’m numb

how do I know

what I’m feeling?


I could tell you this is like

a desert with no sand,

a void ocean.

But those words have weight

and there is no substance here.

There is no “here.”


I can’t even say I’m alone because

alone means

being by one’s self

but there is no being,

there is no one,

and there is no self.



God, are you still there?





I had a dream last night:


My soul was suspended in a vast stretch of deep pink galaxy: Behemoth planets hummed from down in their bellies. Stars shimmered and shone like frozen diamonds. I, body, viewed from a distance as my soul basked in their mighty presence.


A voice pierced the scene, urgent, concerned, “Why won’t you come back?”

The voice was coming from Earth.


My soul replied,

“Because I just…

I just want to go home, okay?”

where i belong


not in the soft forgiving arms of the willow tree,

not in the healing sands of time,

not in the redeeming river,

not in the gentle unfurling of petals opening up to receive light,

not in the ebb and flow of the ocean,

not in the sway of the candle flame,

not in the breaths I take between words, and not in the words themselves,

not in the paranoia of the waking world,

not in the liquid black silk of night that billows down like a curtain to hide me away,

not in the shining celestial bodies that invite mine to come out of hiding,

not in the dreams that devastate,

not in the dreams that bring you back to me,

not in the opening of eyes that means it wasn’t real,

not in the monotonous way life continues,

not in the questions, not in the answers,

not in the fact that I don’t pray anymore,

not in the uncertain steps I call dancing,

not in the shadow that mocks my every move,

not in the scars that adorn my outer layers,

not in the scars that adorn my inner layers,

not in the fading after-image of what came before me

not in what is to come,

not in my shell, not in my reflection, not in my clothes, not in my house, not on my street, not in my head, not in my chest, not in my hands, not in your arms, not in mine,

so where?


to a ring of anonymous faces

at a meeting I found out about

on the Internet

during one of my desperate information hunts

for people like me

so I wouldn’t feel alone anymore,

I made a confession


but this ring of anonymous faces

did not laugh

they did not shrug

or doubt me

or get annoyed

or change the subject

or call me stupid and wrong and overdramatic


instead, the ring of anonymous faces


solemnly, kindly,

as if to say,

“We understand.”


and just like that,

the ring of anonymous faces

became a circle of friends



perfumed with the

contents of your



entitled to

horrors of your



privileged to

bow and chant your



anointing that

looks more like a



abandoned but

couldn't leave your



pinnacle of

all I'd ever



secret prayer

under my breath be-



with every fear you

etched into my



words connect but

hollow, wither,



framework fucked and

girl lost trust with-



countless times the

fish just couldn’t



if only she could

give it to the



gaping wounds that

nobody can



tombstone where a

memory should




yet nostalgic,



tell me, is this

what they meant by