Friday, August 7, 2015

2 minutes. Go!

Hey, writer-type folks. AND PEOPLE WHO JUST WANT TO PLAY BUT DON'T IDENTIFY AS 'WRITERS' - all are welcome here! Every Friday, we do a fun free-write. For fun. And Freedom!

Write whatever you want in the 'comments' section on this blog post. Play as many times as you like. #breaktheblog! You have two minutes (give or take a few seconds ... no pressure!). Have fun. The more people who play, the more fun it is. So, tell a friend. Then send 'em here to read your 'two' and encourage them to play.

You, with the shy smile - yeah, you - I don't buy it, just so you know. Shy smiles are bullshit. Don't mean nothing. You could have a gun under your shirt. You could be one of those people who thinks that the mothership is coming. You could be an investment banker. Makes my blood run cold. So, save it. Hell, it could be the shadow of a stroke.

It works on a lot of people, I know. And you may think I'm an ass - I might be one - but I know a snake in the grass when I see one. 

I'm not suggesting you stop. That's not my place. I'm just hipping you to the time you're wasting. Because all I'm gonna do is keep checking that my wallet is still in my pocket and my back's to the wall. I got a knife that opens like a jail-cell door.

Ain't no shy smiles getting the jump on me, real or not.

Thanks for stopping by! Gonna be a busy day, but, rest assured, I'll be reading everything and commenting as I have time, so check back. Post your pieces on your blogs, telephone poles, passing pedestrians, etc. if you's a fun web o' writing.



  1. Good advice... never trust the quiet, shy ones... still water's run deep... and your words flow like water, cold and hot, and well joined. You got it.

    1. I agree with Leland. This is a great piece. I can just imagine the scene being played out here with the way you worded this. Love it!!!!

    2. Commenting here to say I literally don't have the time to comment on every piece this week, but I've read every one and as usual have enjoyed them all.

  2. “Look,” said the old man to the youngster. He pointed to the sky ahead. “A rainbow.”
    “An interesting prism effect by millions, maybe billions of raindrops. Theoretically, each rainbow is a circle, but we can’t see it. The center of the circle is where the shadow of the viewer’s head is.”
    “Science,” said the old man. “It explains how, but it does not explain why.”
    The young one did not answer.
    “It is left to the philosophers, writers, painters, and poets to find the why. Sometimes the spiritual types, too.” The old man inhaled, breathing in the colors of the arc.
    “So tell me, old man, what do you know of rainbows?”
    “I know that when I was a child, they were magic. When I was your age, they were a study in physics. In my darkest hours, they were promises and hopes and dreams. When I saw the pure white light of day, I know that the colors were hiding in plain sight, ready to be rediscovered and appreciated in their separateness and again in their unity.” The old man smiled.
    “All that from light and raindrops?”
    “And I know this: Rainbows are never enough. But sometimes they are.”
    Old eyes closed, young eyes opened, and the colors grew brighter, bolder, and Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, found a new home.

    1. This is awesome. Love the fable tone, and the science vs. art. Now I want it to rain even more than before.

    2. Thank you sir! and we'll keep on doing a rain dance for you... Angelo's getting pretty good at it!

  3. There's a place where even sadness dies. Sadness, that vampiric immortal. Think. What kind of a world would make sorrow so inextinguishable while joy is a fleeting bluebird on a cartoon shoulder?

    We watched the plane as it approached, flying far too low, its angle all wrong, toward the lights of the city. It seemed to be listing, like something in deep waters. Natalie was crying. This hushed, cool April night, we were all recalling a blue-sky September morning long ago. Tyrone was moaning, "No, no, no, no …" into the scattered firefly darkness, while we waited for the detonation.

    Who closes their fucking gas station? Running almost empty, I pulled off the interstate on some lonely exit (gas but no food and definitely no lodging) somewhere north of Canyonville, and the only building I could see was dark and deserted. There my engine coughed twice and died. I considered theft, but how do you unlock a gas pump? That one's beyond me. Likely as not I'd blow my baffled soul to kingdom come. By the faintest glow in the sky I knew there had to be some kind of burg to the east, so I grabbed the jerrycan and headed that way on foot, figuring there had to be another gas station, if only for the locals.

    Which was when I was set upon. They came from all directions, from pastures and alpine meadows, from slugtrail creeks and glowering forests, broken barns and stagnant ponds, silhouettes suggestive of things with elongated skulls so massive and weighty they hung lower than their broad, pustular chests, impossible gator jaws slack with dripping rows of rotted shark teeth, reeking of things long buried and festering, long-derelict mucus throats rattling wetly. Hungry and misbegotten as outcasts in a pestilence.

    I awake to my iTunes playing in a loop, and in between Nikki Minaj and Stars of the Lid, the same groundhog chorus begins each morning while I feel my lifeblood drip from three bullet wounds and cool and find sluggish channels over this thrift store chair that's become a part of me, getting sticky with it, fusing me to a nightmare place I never thought I'd be, ever dreamed I'd be glued helpless. Hurts like a thousand fire ants too. Burns like a hundred motherfuckers. Oh. Let this pass.

    Unmoored, discarded, enfeebled. Forsaken as the house whose dry gerontic bones creak around me, forgotten in the hills, without hope of rescue. Only one visitor expected now, as yet too distant to hear his slow, crafty shuffle.

    Oh, and look, we see a free girl. An American girl. Perhaps her name is Natalie too. No, Naomi. Wait, no: Norma. Eagle dreams and square shoulders, cutoff blue jean jacket and a black mini skirt. Concocting secret thrills while unshoeing a gelding's hoof. Tracing the outer edges of R&B urges, caressing moist kelp frills and ketamine truths.

    Hugging barefoot shapes.

    Hurry now, I'm most assuredly ready.

    But that place, the one where desolation goes to die? Where all aches are soothed? It exists. It does. Some of us have seen it. Only, no one is allowed to reveal its location, for fear the rest will down tools, quit living. Quit striving. A bluebird on your shoulder is fine for a short while. Pleasant and cute, no doubt. But a lifetime of its incessant twittering is a whole new holy type of hell. Smiling cheerleaders will drive you to atrocities. Skies without clouds eventually become banal. There's a hell of a fine reason we're not cartoons.

    1. Man, I love this piece. So many angles. Love the smiling cheerleaders, and: "caressing moist kelp frills and ketamine truths" - the language throughout is beautiful. I love this piece the way it is, but part of me wants it to explode. I want to see where the shrapnel falls. R&B

    2. Only a brilliant writer would dare to pair "vampiric immortal" and bluebirds in the same work, and have it do the right thing... this is awesome, and sad, and dark, and rich, and beautifully haunting. Thank you for sharing it. PS: Gerontic is one of my favorite adjectives.

    3. Thanks, fellas. Leland, I only just discovered gerontic, and it's an awesome word.

      Oh, and Dan, notice I managed to slide an R&B in there, like a boss! ;)

  4. Lights shone off in the distance. Police sirens blared down the street. I could see my breath as I breathed in and out on my jog through the neighborhood.

    It was a cold and cloudy morning in the heart of Boston. It looked like it was going to snow again. Icicles were forming above me on the railings of the balconies of the buildings I was jogging past. My body was warm from my jog but if I stopped at all, I could drop my temperature over 30 degrees in less than a minute. So I kept jogging back towards my apartment so I could get freshened up with a nice hot shower before heading into work.

    Off to my right down the alley I was passing, I saw two guys beating on a younger male in a fashion that told me the victim wasn't going to be coming out of it alive unless I stopped it.

    So I turned into the alley and approached the gentlemen with ease and caution. Noticing one of them was carrying a loaded .38 in his belt. The men saw me and shouted in their thick Bostonian accents to get the hell outta here mate. This ain't none of your damn business.

    I looked to the young man lying on the cold and frozen ground barely hangin' on to his life and said to the two knuckleheads, "It is my business... mate."

    The man to my left immediately took a swing at me trying to catch me off guard. But to his surprise, I was quicker than he most likely anticipate and I blocked his punch grabbing ahold of his wrist and snapping it in two. Then I threw a knee kick up towards his jaw as he was doubled over in pain, shattering his jaw and dropping him to the ground.

    His buddy looked at me in horror as his compadre fell in under a minute. He looked around seeing if he could escape unharmed but there was nowhere for him to go. So he took a swing at me. I dodged the swing allowing him to fall past me on the slippery ground. He got up thinking he would be able to get me this time but to his dismay, I had him down to the ground in less than ten seconds.

    As he slowly got up from the ground, he grabbed his buddy and said, "Let's get the hell outta her man. This guy is crazy."

    After they left, I turned my attention to the young man lying on the ground and told him that he'll be alright and that I 'll get him to a hospital......

    1. Real life superheroes! Gotta love em. :)

    2. amen to that... they don't have to wear capes!

  5. “Where would we be without fairy dust?”
    That’s what Bubbles used to say, and Lord knows, she left a trail of it wherever she went. Glitter had to be half of what she weighed, and we’re not talking ounces.
    Bubbles LaRue. It will likely not surprise you that she was a drag queen of some repute. Empress of the Rocky Mountain Imperial Court for one glorious year, her best, she always said. I always imagined the glitter factories of Asia working overtime that year.
    I followed her that year, not as a subject, but as a curiosity. I grew up on a farm and I’d never seen anything like her. Anything. Each Saturday, in less than half an hour, I witnessed a pretty, middle-aged man transform to the spitting image of Bette Midler. He, in non-transformed mode, was Jerry, and he said when he dressed like the Divine Miss M, he would be the Divine Miss B, but whether for “Bubbles” or “Bitch” he never clarified.
    Third person gendered pronouns were confusing that year. Eventually, I almost stopped using them in favor of Bubble’s compromise, the overuse of “one.” I felt almost British, or at least pretentious, as I spouted, “One doesn’t wish to be late,” and “One lives to serve.” It was a year of Masterpiece Theatre, I suppose.
    Eventually, though, the reign of Empress Bubbles drew near its close. She’d done hundreds of benefits for AIDS charities, for AA, for Al-Anon, and for homeless veterans and orphans. I’d helped her count the money, the ones, the fives, the twenties, the occasional hundred. I wondered what the bank tellers thought of the money with glitter, or if they noticed, or if they cared.
    The last night, Bubbles was at her best. The sound system failed mid song, and she changed from lip syncing Miss Garland’s “Over The Rainbow” to singing it acapella and I know it’s sacrilege to say it, but I believe Bubbles’ rendition would have brought Miss Garland to tears. In a good way. The red silk hanky she held in her hand, dabbing lightly at the glow (horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies glow, she always said), flowed like blood through the air when she waved it.
    Not a dry eye in the house when Bubbles left the stage by the back door. Always know how to make a grand entrance, she said, and a grander exit.
    They must have been waiting for her in the alley. They stabbed her and stole her jewelry, yards and yards of faux gems. The only difference between us and other animals, she often told me, was our ability to accessorize.
    When we laid her to rest, in a pearlescent coffin, she was, much to the scandal of her Minnesotan family, in full drag. Tammy Fay Baker herself was never responsible for so much running mascara. The priest said he’d never seen so many beautiful women at a funeral before. Each of us sprinkled a handful of glitter into the grave before the traditional fists of dirt.
    Even now, if you go to Forest Hill cemetery, section C, when the wind blows, fairy dust sparkles in the sun. And I’d like to believe Miss Bubbles LaRue sparkles in the sun, too. When it rains, I swear I can hear her singing a duet with Miss Garland, somewhere, over the rainbow.

    1. This is a really impressive piece. To make the reader care so much about a character that the end hurts. And I love the repetition of the glitter. Really effective and the handful into the grave - perfect.

      AND a shout out to Tammy Faye!

  6. I ain't trying to throw shade on no one in particular, but...

    Posturing and writing aren't the same thing. Sometimes, they go together. Kerouac had his down-home stud construct down. He could also write.

    How can you tell people to avoid cliches when you are one? How can you expect people to care about anything you write when your soul, laid bare on the page, is less interesting than the coupons in the PennySaver?

    I'm not trying to come off as some kind of elitist jerk, but, damn ... seriously? There are only so many scenes you can write about the gardener's six-pack and the beads of sweat on his glistening shoulders.

    Write about something real. You might have to masturbate first to get those abs out of your mind, but the world will thank you.

    1. LOL... perfect. and yeah, Kerouac did that. And the world WILL thank you. You'll be sending this to Fifty shades types?

  7. Some pills taste good and some taste bad, but they all work quicker if you chew 'em. And you'd be surprised. Some taste minty. Some taste like stale PEZ. Don't get me wrong - some will burn the shit out of the underside of your tongue. Some have an aftertaste that never seems to go away.

    Anyway, I don't roll that way, but here's something you need to remember. The tricky thing about pills is that it's real easy to forget how many you've taken. Worse than drinking. And there will always be a sly bump stuck in your molars that is going to drop right when you start thinking, "Damn, was it 3 or 6?"

    Don't believe me? Ask a paramedic.

    1. it's truth... and the tactile descriptions in this take me back to a younger, darker time in my life... thanks for that, and for showing me I've made it through alive.

    2. It's still true, even out of the younger, darker time of life. Swallow fast or you will find out how true.

  8. You dance through the refuse, refuse to inhale, hold your breath until it turns stale. What an inconvenience.

    You look down on the people who look up to you, it's gonna be dropping - that other shoe.

    That's the house where I used to stay, now it's a place where tourists play.

    Things always change, and sometimes for the better, sometimes they unravel like your grandmother's sweater.

    I have pictures, I have proof. I've thrown rocks at busses from that roof.

    Sentimentality is a waste of time, but, motherfucker, you own something that never was mine.

    And I want it back all the same.

    1. The contradictions and contrasts in this are great, but it's the rhythms and the rhymes that make it that awesome MaderRap(tm)

  9. This sort of thing doesn’t happen around here, and so all the neighbors gathered to watch the spectacle. The most exciting part of it all — the raid on the house next door and arrest of the husband, a quiet man who worked for Homeland Security — had wrapped up before we were allowed to set foot outside, but the aftermath still held ample interest.

    Two agents, both female, comforted the couple’s children as a trio of suits kept their mother sequestered from them. Meanwhile, a steady stream of electronic gear from the house was loaded into waiting vans.

    "Hey, that’s the old router I gave him a coupla months ago! I sure hope he wasn’t using it to send intel to ISIS or Al Qaeda."

    "Nah, I heard it was China he was spying for."

    "Maybe it’s corporate espionage."

    "No, there’s no way they’d send so many people for that. It has to be something to do with national security."

    Eventually, we all disbursed to our own homes.

    "Can you imagine, a spy living right next door to us? I’m uneasy."

    "No need to be nervous. They’ve caught their man."

    "You know what I mean. This is no joking matter!"

    "No, it isn’t, my love. But we’ve lived here for seventeen years and no one has suspected anything yet, have they?"

    "Nyet, ne do sikh por..."

    1. ohhhh... NICE twist at the end! I like it!

    2. Sweet! I love the pace of the story and then that clincher. Super tight. Really like this one.

  10. “We’ll have a bake sale,” she said, almost every time she heard of a tragedy. It would have been sad, maybe even pathetic, if anyone else had said it, but Sadie knew how to do a bake sale. The one she did for the Smiths, when they accidentally set fire to their grandma by putting sparklers in her hair for the Fourth of July celebrations, raised more than $10,000.
    The secret, she said, was making enough cupcakes and selling them individually. And the secret to a good cupcake, she said, was to include both vanilla and almond flavoring. Honey, it’s like crack, they keep coming back for more, and instead of dropping the prices as the day goes on, you raise them. The most she’d ever charged for a cupcake was a hundred dollars, and that was because she told everyone she lost her engagement ring in the batter and she’d kiss whoever found it in one of the cupcakes.
    Sadie knew how to kiss. I told her she ought to think about selling kisses instead of cupcakes. Less prep time, less clean up. She just laughed and said she wasn’t going to kiss the mouths of the people of Desperation, Texas, because she was pretty sure she knew where those mouths had been.
    As far as I know, I was the only one in Desperation who knew Sadie’s real secret. She’d told me, one night over gin that she’d put just a dash of almond flavoring in. She’d been a madam. At a whorehouse. In Nevada, where it was legal. And not just any whorehouse, but a specialized one. I can still see her sipping the gin, her pinky extended just so, and then leaning in to whisper, “We were all trannies.”
    I was a rube. I had no idea what that meant, so I tried looking conspiratorial without understanding. She knew. “Transsexuals. Transvestites. Boys dressed like girls.”
    My face burned red. “Oh!”
    And then she laughed. Cackled, really. “And now you know. And nobody else in this one-horse town does.”
    Our hangovers the next morning were ferocious, and we never spoke of it again. Part of me believed the whole thing was a gin-induced nightmare of my adolescent brain’s dark imaginings, but whenever she cackled, I knew it was true.
    When lightning struck the spire of the Catholic church in town, Sadie was the first to offer to help. “Let’s have a bake sale!” And for the very first time, I noticed Sadie had an Adam’s apple. I figured God Himself would laugh, so I did, too. And Sadie winked at me, with spectacularly long eyelashes.

    1. This is such an awesome piece. I love it. Such great detail, and you nailed the tone dead.

  11. What's in a name?
    At my local pub, I know very few by their real name. Most everyone has a nickname that just sort of stuck, and their given ones long forgotten. When I go to the pub on my shenanigan Tuesdays, I find the same old regular crowd. At the end of the bar is Balls, who turns out to be some sort of second cousin of mine, or some shit. Two chairs down is Fuckhead Ed with his old lady Ing. Next to them is Father Harris, who is not a priest, but bares the last name of the former catholic priest in town from many years past---no relation. I find it ironic that he generally sits next to God. Next to him is Philthy, who's usually accompanied by Dirty. A friend of mine that I catch a lift home with goes by the moniker Crazy Legs. And me? Well...
    So there I was, about two years ago, shooting pool and sporting my favorite hat--the one with three or four feathers sticking out of it---when all of a sudden, from out of no where, this fella bursts through the door like he owned the joint and started bullshitting with Fuckhead, right in the midst of our game. He introduced himself to several others then turned to me and said, "So what do they call you, besides Chicken Plucker?" That was it. The entire bar---myself included---roared with laughter, and it stuck. I can't walk down the aisle at the grocery store without someone yelling. "Hey, Chicken Plucker!"
    You never get to choose your own nickname, that would be cheating. When you get a really funny one, it's something to be appreciated, and revered. That's when you know you've been accepted into the fray, and all is right with the world.

    1. This is a great piece. Full of truth. Awesome storytelling, brother.

    2. It's fun, and it's true, and I will never again see your posts on facebook without thinking "Chicken Plucker"... well done!

  12. "It's a dangerous trek Jonathon. Why do you have to go?"

    "Because it's my duty to go, Lupita. I signed a contract with my government. If I don't leave now, they'll come looking for me and they'll still take me away from you darlin'," I said to her as I caressed her soft brown skinned face. "But don't worry my love, I will be back before you even notice I was gone."

    With her soft brown eyes looking toward the dust covered floor, she softly spoke these words to me, "I love you Jonathon, I will always be praying for your safe return to me."

    "And I will be making every opportunity I can to get back to you my darlin'. Nobody can keep us from each other." I said as I turned her face towards mine to look into her eyes one more time.

    I leaned in to give her a deep and long soft kiss before I stepped out the door and into the war zone she lived in. My unit was stationed in Spain helping fight against terrorist rebels who have been setting off bombs throughout the countryside. They've already killed over ten thousand innocent people. The Spanish government had asked for the help of the U.S. and British militaries to help fight off these rebels.

    When I had arrived with my unit, we were stationed to protect the small village where Lupita lived. It was how I met her. She had been working the small farmers market with her mother and sister when I saw her beautiful shimmering glow out of the corner of my eye.

    She had been shy at first when I approached her and barely spoke any English. SO as a treat when I wasn't on duty and she could sneak away from her family, I would teach her English while we would make love.

    Just as I started reminiscing on the time we have spent together, an explosion ripped through the countryside and I felt the room me and my beloved were in shake and parts of the walls start to collapse around us.

    I grabbed Lupita and ran out of the building and into the street where I saw fire burning throughout the village and my unit taking fire a few blocks from where I was at. I turned quickly to my beloved Lupita and told her to return to her family and get to a safe place as I returned to join my unit and fight off the rebels who were pouring into the village...

    That would be the last time I would ever get to see and hold my darlin' Lupita. It would be the last time me and her would get to make love.

    She was killed in a blast from a car bomb as she ran to find her family. And on that day, I singlehandedly killed over 100 rebels in my rage over losing my beloved.

    1. This is a story that could become so many things. Tragic.

  13. The Dog That Didn't Bark

    She pulled at her nose with her eyes narrowed, thinking deeply. “You're a married man walking another's dog,” she said, her words as crisp and measured as the thoughts being assembled behind her brow. “And the other person is most probably your mistress.”

    The man nodded back, encouragingly.

    Cheryl gasped, reaching out sympathetically. “But you've lost it,” she said. “And most probably within the last few minutes. I'd guess that it's a small dog. Most likely a pug. And...” she fully opened her eyes and then studied the man slowly and at length, making him feel as though he'd just undergone a full-body MRI scan. “I'd say that your dog is black.”

    The stranger gawped at her, his weight falling back onto his heels. “Why, that's amazing,” he said, his shoulders sagging backward. “How could you have known?”

    The woman smiled without conviction, raising one of her begloved hands. “It's quite elementary,” she said, taking hold of her first finger. “Firstly, your ring finger has no ring. But it does have a pale band where the ring would be.”

    The man nodded once, raising his hand toward his face to confirm what he knew was true. “Okay,” he said, shrugging. “But what about the rest? However could you have guessed that?”

    “Miss Locke never guesses.” I said, stepping out from behind the bush with the stranger's dog squirming excitedly in my arms. “And I've never known her be anything but right. Not once.”

    1. Oh, I like this one. Really cool way to keep us guessing. I feel like I say this about every piece you write, but I want more. :)

    2. I want more, too! and I want to know who *I* is! and why s/he has the dog!

    3. I'm never gonna run short of stories and themes to write and develop upon, am I? *smiles*

  14. Hitting the wall

    It’s the truth
    He says
    She says
    When the truth
    Is anything but
    In a winding whirl
    Of sound
    Hitting the wall

    I like the echo
    The curve
    The wisp in the chain
    This manic dry
    A laugh of old
    Rejecting the new
    In a rebound
    Waiting to recoil
    To spring and load

    I see the sound
    Feel it
    Wrapping it around
    Stepping inside
    Stepping out
    Where you shout
    Futile words
    Against the door
    I closed behind me.

    1. Deadly. The cadence is so good. Beautiful language and an bang of an ending.

    2. Thank you! I'm not feeling greatly inspired, so thanks for the good words :)

    3. and such visuals... the spring and load and coil and all of it, could apply to a lock or a gun or a clock... and it's good!

  15. This sea

    It sweeps over
    This sea
    Drowning everything
    It sees
    The motion
    The being
    The feeling
    In the in between
    Secreting inside
    This skin

    Patience defies
    It all
    Gasping to be free
    To be itself
    In the moon tide
    Restless in transit
    Enlightened, fading
    And rising again

    The potion
    Of the wisest man
    Seeks to dispel
    This almost knowing
    Wishing for clarity
    While walking
    In grey
    In signs still blurred
    In lines in twists

    Scurrying forth
    Beneath this sea
    Washing all over
    The hands beneath
    We dance in circles
    Sing in rhyme
    Travel in the mind
    To find our own kind
    In the waters
    Secreting our soul.

    1. You stick the landing every time. I love "in lines in twists" - really grabbed me. Another awesome piece, Vickie.

    2. Thank you! One about endings and one about beginnings :)

    3. I like this even more after the second and third reading.... sometimes I have to wait for evening to fully appreciate poetry, and I like this...thank you.


    The river slides by. On it this prayer of mine travels, balanced in the dazzle of this day’s chores where it adds anchored steel to my spirits. It’s my prayer that helps me steer the course unafraid of high surface waves or icebergs that conceal the perilous brunt of themselves too far beneath the eye to fret.

    The river slides by. This land-ahoy prayer shouts from the decks of my voyage to all of nature and the supernatural, an admission that I am a sailor who can brave the undertow of this life because God is at the helm. My prayer takes on the expanse of sky and sea. It protects me against pirates who vow to toss me overboard, then steal my rich cargo of faith. I sprinkle the waters with entreaties and thanksgivings that keep me afloat.

    I trust the river.

    1. Ah, this is beautiful, Sal. You make an agnostic want to go to pray. Just lovely.

    2. it is,indeed, a beautiful prayer... incarnational and incantational... thanks for sharing.

  17. It's one of those things you just have to say, screw it, I'm gonna do it. Sitting around mumbling excuses don't do nothing. Talking don't mean shit. You do it or you don't. I don't care either way, but I don't aim to hear your jawin'. Christ almighty son, this ain't the Alamo.

    Come on now. The sun is gonna roast us. I can smell the cornbread cooking boy, just decide. Hell, the hatchet's sharp and heavy and it's the one doing the work. You just gotta guide it while it falls. Or don't. My Daddy never gave me no options. I'm not gonna do that to you. But decide, will ya? We'll be out here all night.

    I mentioned the corn bread, right?

    1. ahhh... this is another look at the story you posted last week, I think, but without a gun... and I really really like the cornbread vs. implied blood image... good stuff.

  18. Luanne was a bit surprised to find that she liked media attention. The movement she helped found was starting to make waves, and she found herself in the position of a de facto spokeswoman. She was even on the cover of Time magazine: her kinky hair buzzed short again, unsmiling, with the tagline “Ratchet Revolution”. The interview, conducted by journalist Nick Caruso, went something like this:

    Nick: “Ms. Rodgers, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.”

    Luanne: “Naw, thank you. Ain’t no such thing as bad publicity, baby, so you can call me by my name.”

    N: “Well, alright, Luanne. Aren’t you worried about bad press turning public opinion against you?”

    L: “Folks will believe what they want. No matter how you wanna spin it, some folks won’t be down. They’ll see my lesbian-lookin’ black ass mean mugging on the cover, read what I got to say, and be like ‘fuck that bitch’. But some will get it, that’s what makes it worthwhile to me, the opportunity to reach out to this huge mainstream audience and explain to them what’s going on.”

    N: “Certainly. So, how did you first get involved with this, er, organization?”

    L: “Just tryina survive, man. My pops was a junkie, died when I was about ten with a needle in his arm. He was a veteran, came home with some deep scars, couldn’t maintain. My moms dropped a couple years later, stroke, worked herself to death. Me and [my younger brother] Ray lived with grandma for a while, until [my older brother] Jacob could come back from Chicago, then we squatted in West Oakland. He tried to get a real job, but nobody wanted to hire a 21 year old black dude who went to high school in Hunters Point and dropped out of Northwestern. So at first we was just doing petty crimes, so we could eat, but over the years we realized that we don’t have to knuckle under, and maybe risking becoming yet another police homicide statistic was worth escaping our shitty situation. We got to hangin’ with other kids who’d been fucked by the system, and were sick of living in fear. We got more ambitious than just tryina live through the week, started fuckin’ up the program in a serious way.”

    N: “And, just to be clear, what do you mean by ‘the program’?”

    L: “The status quo. I’m sorry if I come off snappy, here. But for those of y’all who’ve been living under a rock, or have just been cishet [cisgendered and heterosexual], white, affluent, and self-involved, the United States is a deeply inequitable society. As a culture, we pay all this bullshit lip service to equality and freedom and so on, but we’ve made a billion dollar industry out of locking people up. If you want the American Dream of socioeconomic mobility, you better be white, and preferably a man, or the cards are stacked against you. “

    N: “Absolutely. What exactly is the end goal, the ‘mission accomplished’ of your organization?”

    L: “Dramatic reform, if not replacement, of the US government, by whatever means necessary. This country is, in practice, run by, and for the benefit of, rich white men, and that isn’t how it’s supposed to be. Areas of reform we particularly emphasize include campaign finance, criminal justice, and social welfare. Nobody needs a billion goddamned dollars when kids like me gotta steal and sell they asses to eat.”

    N: “I see. Speaking of, did you happen to see Mustapha ben Sharif’s open letter to you?”

    L: “(laughs) Hahah, yeah. I wish a muthafucka would pop that shit to my face, or my man’s. He don’t give a fuck, he’d sodomize Mustapha with an Uzi for disrespecting me. He wanna talk about my personal life because he’s mad that sisters like me don’t wanna fuck with his punk ass. Ol’ ashy-dick Hotep nigga really should read some Wikipedia articles about intersectionality and black feminism before he tries to step to me. I usually don’t use the dreaded ‘n’ word, just because I think it’s uncouth, but really, he can eat a dick. I’ll fuck with a down-ass white boy way before I’ll fuck with a black dude who throws my ass under the bus ‘cuz he thinks it’s all about him and his beef with whitey.”

  19. N: “I take it that’s a reflection of your organization’s policy of racial unity?”
    L: “Absolutely. We don’t tolerate white folks who think they automatically get to call the shots, but we also don’t tolerate people of color who aren’t willing to cooperate with whites. It’s like these divisive-ass Louis Farrakhan types never heard of the Southern Strategy. The powers that be, the politicians and corporate executives who hold the real power, they LOVE racial strife. They love it when they can play us against each other. That’s why, as an activist, I place a huge emphasis on reaching out to working-class white people and trying to educate them, get them to understand that, superficial cultural differences aside, they have more social, political, and economic interests in common with people of color than the rich cracker assholes they’ve been electing since forever.”
    N: “[chuckles] Sorry, I am just greatly amused by your word choices. Aren’t you worried about losing potential converts by being so, er, colorful?”
    L: “Naw, fuck ‘em. For one thing, this isn’t a fuckin’ religion, I ain’t tryina convert anybody. And for another, fuck respectability. That’s just a code word for conforming to the way our oppressors think we oughta be. Do I look like Auntie Jemima up in this piece? The fuck outta here with that. I may cuss a lot, but I’m an autodidact who gives lessons to muthafuckas with master’s degrees.”

  20. Fear. The crushing weight of an avalanche on your chest, shortness of breath, heart hammering into your ribs, blood pounding in your temples. All because of a few little words.

    "No longer under physician care."

    I felt it slide over me like a velvet glove. The glove just keeps getting tighter. My ears are ringing, my head spinning, just like a lack of oxygen from being under all those rocks.

    No more help with the blood pressure, the diabetes, the various other things they say are wrong with me, that they say I need constant care for, that I need to be aware of and take care of.

    I make myself fill my lungs to capacity in an old exercise. Things spin worse, the weight on my chest continues to build.

    Is this what it really means to be an American?

    1. Wow. This is powerful, and all too true for too many.... well written and well described. Thank you.

  21. Powerful and intoxicating was her voice as I listened to her sing on stage. The way her sound carried throughout the room made me quiver with excitement.

    This was my life right here. Every night I got to watch her sing on stage for the entire bar. Most nights I would be drunk off my arse but nevertheless, her voice still got through to me and made me shake in my boots.

    During the day out on the ranch, all I could think about was her. Her voice. The sounds she made while she sang. The noises she would make every night behind closed doors as we made love to each other. But most of all, the way she felt in my rough, coarse hands as I would caress her soft, lightskinned body each night.

    That's what I loved about workin' on the ranch and being able to see my beloved every night after the work was done.


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