His Skin

Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash

‘Handsome’ does not conjure the strength succulent enough
to uncover the sun underneath his skin.
Shame on those who sexualize him.
Who sees his body as cheap and public.
Who does he think he is, being darker than a brown paper bag?
Sometimes they notice him
like the moon against the pitch-black sky
and still, he is only handsome for a dark-skinned guy.

They do not know that he is the color of the gods.
I will describe him the intensity of ebony
a precious rarity.
How’d he get so lucky?
Who bathed him in sunlight?
This black hardwood-colored flesh.
Delicately bronzed.
He is black keys on a piano.
Play a song for me.
Whisper truth through lips thick and sensual
remarkably soft and pliable.
This espresso-colored body.
Dangerous when diluted.
Potent when raw.
They do not know any better.
How do you greet someone so breathtakingly gorgeous?

It will take them a minute to get used to the truth.
That not even the bite of winter can dare diminish
his light.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 15 – The Women with Blue Eyes

Note: If you are new to this series and have not already read the first few chapters, please do so. For this part, you want to go back to chapter three and eight for context.


Chapter 15: “The Door”

One Year Ago

Not being able to move your arms and legs is one of the worst feelings in the world. 

Janiyah squirmed. She also could not speak. Big Sam had tied her arms and legs and put duct tape over her mouth. What’s worse than being tied up like an animal? Knowing your little brother and sister is in the other room, completely oblivious to what’s going on outside of cartoons. 

“What’s my little mama gonna do now?”

Her fat ass leaned against the wall, smoking a blunt. Big Sam was a woman, her name short for Samantha, and she was one of the biggest drug Queenpins in Chicago. Her name is what made her so good because everyone assumed she was a man. Sam had men under her, though, taking orders and moving weight. She didn’t have to do anything but give orders. When Janiyah met Tabitha, she had no idea she was Big Sam’s cousin. They became close friends, and both got trapped. Janiyah’s body trembled to think of the things they used to do, what people did for money, what people did for love.

She ignored Sam’s questions; her eyes were darting around the room. She looked at the driver—that piece of shit. Adam had a big crush on her, and maybe she could give him a chance, or so she thought. After finding out about Big Sam, she planned her escape with Mike and Kayla. He was supposed to take them to the bus station. Instead, he brought them here, right back to Big Sam. Of course, he was working for her. She should have known. 

“Come on Niyah,” Sam continued, “you had to know I knew you would try and escape me. The good thing though, is that Ronnie ain’t that smart.”

Janiyah cringed at the mention of her little brother’s name, gritting her teeth against the tape’s stickiness. He was so naïve about Sam.

“He is starting to ask questions, though,” she took a puff of the blunt and blew out the smoke, “I wonder why?”

Big Sam winked, and her brown eyes flashed a glacial blue and then went back to brown. Janiyah frowned. It had happened in a matter of seconds. If she were not looking directly at the woman, she would have missed it. What was that? Did her eyes change? Janiyah shook her head as a chill ran down her spine. She couldn’t have seen what she thought she saw. 

They were in an undisclosed location, but it looked to Janiyah to be a warehouse with a room in the back. Spacious and roomy, the cold-storage area was large and tin-roofed with concrete floors. Windowless, no one could see the inside of the building. In the middle of the space sat one table with several boxes on top. It was where they did their dirty work, she was sure.

Big Sam put the blunt out on the bottom of her shoe, and then extended her arms to receive a box from one of her men. She took out a knife and cut the package open, pausing to glance at Janiyah.

“I’m sure you will keep your mouth shut about what you see here.”

Janiyah raised a brow. That was a weird statement. Drugs. Of course it was drugs. What was so secret about that?

Sam nodded to a man in the distance. He had been standing next to the closed door that housed Mike and Kayla since they got there. Hands folded in front of him, the man had not said a word. He nodded back at Sam and knocked against the door with his knuckles. “Ey,” he shouted, “bring ’em out.”

The door creaked open, and Janiyah rocked the chair so furiously that it tipped over, causing her to crash onto the floor, her face hitting the concrete first, her nose and mouth bleeding underneath the tape and sliding down her chin. Janiyah screamed from the pain to her jaw, her eyes bulging out of her head at what she was seeing. It was her baby sister Kayla, blindfolded with a gun to her head. The man walked the girl closer to Janiyah. Big Sam smirked.

“As I said, I’m sure you’ll keep your mouth shut about what you see.”

Big Sam walked over to Janiyah and ripped the tape from her mouth, specks of blood flew off with it. Sam cringed and wiped the droplets that landed on her hand off on her jeans. Janiyah screamed from the pain.

“Please,” she cried, “please don’t hurt her.”

“It was just a matter of time before you told Ronnie about our little investment.”

At the mention of Ronnie’s name, a sound is heard near the door. 

Ronnie emerges from the shadows, points a gun at Big Sam, she smiles, and Janiyah screams.

“Ronnie, no!”

***

Present Day

That’s not really what happened next, but it always ended this way, missing all the other stuff that happened in-between. The same scene played itself on a loop in her mind.

It was the same nightmare and the same scene. Why couldn’t she remember anything else? It always skipped to the part when Ronnie pulls the trigger, but she never sees him fall. Should she be thankful? Hell no. Not seeing her brother die but replaying the moment just before he did was no favor.

Tina would always come to her rescue, rocking her back and forth. She thinks I’m a saint. Janiyah was thankful for her mother’s best friend taking them in, but there was so much she didn’t know. Janiyah blamed herself for Ronnie’s death. If it weren’t for her sneaking around with Tabitha to work for Big Sam, he would have never gotten involved. All she wanted to do was help her mom pay back her debt. All Ronnie wanted was for his sister to stop doing what it was she was doing.

Everyone had their secrets, she guessed. Somehow, hers seemed far worse than everyone else. Tina saw a therapist and took crazy pills, and Miss Bernice let the kids take turns sitting in the passenger’s seat of her car. None of that seemed as bad as her situation. Big Sam was dead, but everybody in the hood knows just because the leader dies, that doesn’t mean your debt is paid. It just passes on to the next person in charge. Her mama may have been strung out and unstable, but she was still her mother, and she still owed.

Emotion rose in Janiyah’s throat as she started the ignition of her car and headed in the direction of Tabitha’s house, convincing herself again to keep quiet. There was no way Tina could know that she still worked for Big Sam’s people. And there was no way she could tell anyone about what she saw that night. Not about Sam’s eyes, which Janiyah was still not sure happened, or what was in those boxes. She just wanted to get the rest of this money and finish paying her mother’s debt, and it would all be over. She had cash from Ronnie’s case, but there was no way she could explain why she took thousands of dollars out of the account.

She had to finish the job.


Coming Up:

Chapter 16: “Something’s Not Right”

Wed.  7/8/2020

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.

Dear Indie Author, Don’t Let People Rush You

It’s easy to get caught up watching everyone else publish their books when you are still writing yours. In the Indie world, people publish frequently; some writers are churning out hits every month. And as we sit there, watching them hit Best Seller’s Lists and USA Today Best Seller’s list, we must fight the urge to rush our WIP (Work in Progress) just for the sake of getting something out there. Some people write best-sellers in a few weeks or months and some people, a few years.

It’s not just watching others publish that can make an author anxious, but it is also excited readers. Authors love their readers and rightfully so! Without a reader, there is no book, so authors cater to the literary needs of their tribe, listening to feedback, praise, criticism, suggestions, and recommendations. But, even in this instance, the author must hold ground!

Authors, lean in close…

No matter what these people say to you, stand firm because the compliments are captivating! Readers know how to stroke the ego. They are truly good at what they do. Do not underestimate it. Suddenly, you are the best author they’ve ever known (yes, more than Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison, JK Rowling, and Maya Angelou), and your book will give them life. Like, literally give them life. They will die without your next read.

Everyone breathe.

It is going to be okay. I can assure you, the reader is not going to die.

Simply smile, nod, and inform them the next book is coming, but it is not here now.

Trust me. Everyone will live.

Take as much time as is necessary for your masterpiece. Make sure it is as polished as you can afford to make it, and then, when no one is paying attention, it is done.

Your people will love the surprise!

Here are classics that took longer than a few months to write:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley  (1 Year)

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (2 Years)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (6 Years)

The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (12-17 Years)

 


Looking for more Indie Author Basic Tips? Check out this page for more!

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters

Title: Catch the Moon, Mary

Author: Wendy Waters

Print Length: 258 pages

Publisher: Wendy Waters

Publication Date: October 16, 2019

Mary Granger is a gifted musician who sees visions of music and moves her hands to the tune of the song she hears in her head, like playing an invisible piano. The children call her “Mad Mary” because she doesn’t understand their jokes. She is nervous, and her mannerisms read like someone with autism or some other disorder. But Mary’s music is extraordinary and came as a way of dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse from her father, James.

Then, there’s the archangel Gabriel, who has been on Earth for a thousand years and is depressed about whether he will ever return to his glorious state. He returns to heaven to find it in chaos. His father (“God”) is gone, and so is his brother Rigel. The angels have adopted a “do what thy will” attitude. Gabriel is searching for a saint who can help him enlighten the world.

Mary and Gabriel meet when the angel is swept away by Mary’s music, which draws her to him like a magnet. Mary is a child, about eleven-years-old, and Gabriel wants her to sell him her music. The child, Mary, can’t sell the music because it takes her away from James’ abuse. Witnessing the act, the angel causes significant pain in the man’s stomach and makes a pact with Mary that he will own the rights to her music in exchange for protection.

He believes Mary’s music is the key to restoring his light and promises her fame and fortune in exchange.

But when Mary is an adult and works as a paralegal, still bound by the contract, Gabriel doesn’t seem to be as kind as he was when she was little. He kills, and people close Mary start to die.

There is a lot to unpack in this book, including the biblical connection between Mary and Gabriel, the angel that came to tell Mariam she was pregnant with the Messiah. And because I believe there are fallen angels who many celebrities worship for fortune and fame, becoming miniature versions of gods on Earth, i.e., stars, I enjoyed the realistic premise of this book. However, the plot in Catch the Moon, Mary is not predictable and gets more profound as the story unfolds.

Catch the Moon, Mary is gracefully written. I was immediately caught up in the poetic writing style of this author. From the first sentence, I was pulled into brilliant prose and description that made reading easy. I felt part of Mary’s world because the writing was like feeling the music, not just reading it. As a poet, I love this. The entire book is written with this kind of artistic expression. The author is unique in her descriptions, so that not one sentence is ordinary. Waters does not just tell us the sun is rising, but that “suddenly, the sky was rimmed with yellow flame as dawn cracked over the horizon like an egg.” She does not just tell us Mary’s music is good, but that, “her music pulsating like breath.”

I was not a fan of the musical notes used instead of Chapter Headings, but it makes sense, given the author’s writing style. As I said, this author is no ordinary writer!

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 4/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

Catch the Moon, Mary is available now on Amazon


My book review registry is OPEN. To learn more about my registry be sure to visit the Blog Book Review Policy page here.

Throwback Thursday Jams – Michael Jackson: Remember the Time

🎥One of the best videos everrrr. 🎧🔊. Because, ya know, the Egyptians were a black-skinned people. IJS 🤷🏾‍♀️✊🏾💪🏾

RIP MJ

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 14 – The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 14: “I, Spy”


Jason walked through the door and looked around. Tina held up her hand and waved, smiling.

“Look, T, there’s something I gotta tell you.”

Tina’s heart raced, and she played with her hands. If he said something sexy like he was falling for her, she would never gather the courage to tell him the truth.

“Let me go first. Please.”

“I really think I need to tell you first.”

“No,” said Tina. “I called you so I’m calling it.”

Jason shrugged, “Okay.”

“This is going to sound crazy…”

“Uh oh, don’t tell me you got some crazy baby daddy…”

“That depends. Is your baby mama crazy?”

The two laughed. Tina knew about Amarie. Jason had told her the first day they met, right after the police left the day of the car accident, and they exchanged numbers. She could tell he loved his daughter. He had explained that she could not meet her yet but that he wanted to be straight up. He was not ashamed of his baby, and accepting him meant accepting her too.

“I see things.”

Jason frowned and Tina was sure he thought she was crazy.

“Well, not things, really. People.”

“You see dead people?” he joked. They laughed.

“I’m trying to be serious!”

“Then don’t try, do it.”

“Smart ass.”

Jason laughed, “You’re the one seeing people.”

“Well, not people. More like, angels.”

“Oh, so you one of those super sensitive spiritual people huh?”

Tina nodded, “I guess you can say that.”

Jason nodded, and Tina relaxed a little. He didn’t seem turned off. Az had said there was still a door open, a connection to Big Sam’s people attracting Pas and her Legion to her family. Her secret had to be the door. She had to come clean.

“His name is Az, and he knows about your friends’ murders. He can help you,” Tina blurted out.

“What are you talking about? Who is Az?”

Tina fidgeted. Jason didn’t look impressed.

“Az, the angel.”

“Tina, I thought you were joking.”

Her face flushed red and Jason sat back in his chair and folded his arms. “You’re serious…”

“As a heart attack.”

Jason rubbed his chin. “Come on now.”

“Wait, just let me finish. Az can help us. He knows the women who killed your friends and…

“Whoa, women?”

Jason thought of the women Juan said his brothers were looking at before they were killed.

“Yes, but it’s more complicated than that, Az said…”

“Tina stop.”

“I’m not making this up you have to…”

“Tina…”

“Jason, please just let me explain…”

“Tina. Stop talking!”

Tina sat back in her chair. It was the first time she had heard him speak in that tone. She rubbed her neck where the knot was that wanted to send tears gushing from her eyes. Tina hated that about herself, how she could get so angry she cried, and Jason’s tone had angered her. She knew this was a stupid idea and that he wouldn’t believe her, but no one spoke to her in that tone.

“I’m sorry about the car accident, and I’m sorry about your friends, but you don’t talk to me like that. No one talks to me like that.”

“Why are you so stubborn?” he asked, getting up and grabbing her by the arm.

“What are you doing? Let go of me!”

Tina noticed Jason loosen his grip as customers gave him nasty looks. She snatched away from him.

“What is your problem?”

Jason gritted his teeth and ripped open his button-down shirt and tore at his chest, throwing the lapel mic on the Starbucks table.

***

Juan sat upright in his office chair, his face grave as he watched the screen in front of him, the wiggly lines of the audio going flat. Officer Parks and Officer Jones, detectives who were part of the Ja’mella case, stood on the side of him. Jones, a brown-skinned bald man, folded his arms and Parks, a short caramel skinned black woman with gray dreadlocks, stood next to him, her hands on her shapely hips. They stood behind Juan.

“What the hell happened?”

Officer Jones unfolded his arms, “It looks like we’re disconnected.”

“Looks like somebody else is in on this,” said Parks, cutting her eyes at Jones.

“Wait, you think Jason’s working with Tina?”

Parks raised a brow, “how else would you explain this sudden disconnection?” Parks shook her head. She knew Tina from the Ja’ mella case and still considered her a friend. “She’s a little out there, but what do we really have on her?”

There was silence as the detectives sat in thought.

“Exactly,” continued Parks, “we have nothing concrete that connects her to the murders.”

“For the last time, we don’t know if it was a murder,” said Juan, “and we do have her admitting to knowing the women who may have been involved…”

“…and to seeing angels,” interjected Detective Carl Jones, raising a brow.

The door to Juan’s office opened, and Fred’s face peeked in.

“Detective? You called?”

Juan closed his laptop. He had forgotten he called Fred in for a meeting. He was promoting him as an informant to spy on Tina. Now that they knew Jason was involved, he would spy on them both.

“Yes, come in.”

Fred opened the door wider and entered the office.

“Detectives,” he said, nodding his head at Officer Carl Jones and Rosalee Parks.

“What’s this about?”

Concern flashed across Fred’s face, and his eyebrows buried deep into his forehead. He sure hoped he wasn’t being fired.

***

Tina gathered her things and followed Jason out of the store. He had her attention now. Customers continued to give him angry stares as they exited.

“Where’s your car?”

Tina pointed, looking like a scared child, and they walked over to her vehicle. She unlocked the doors, and they sat in, quietly. Tina faced the window. He could see she was still upset, tears rolling down her cheeks.

“My car is bugged too. This is what I had to tell you.”

“How long?”

“Only since yesterday. When Juan found out I was Jason, he put a wire on me. They think you may have something to do with the murders. They ain’t exactly calling it a murder yet, but they think you might be involved somehow.”

There was silence.

“Listen,” began Jason. “It’s not like I knew you were a Detective. I don’t even like the police.” He paused to cut his eyes at her. He could tell she was trying not to smile.

“I would have never done this if I had known. I’m just trying to solve my brother’s murders.”

“How is snitching on me solving your brother’s murders?”

“Listen, I got a call from Big Steve’s phone. The one they said was missing. That’s why I went to the station. Juan told me everything, so when you texted, I knew that was a sign to tell you. You should have let me talk first. Stubborn ass.”

“Well, I guess we’re even then.”

Tina turned away from the window to face Jason. “I hit you on purpose. The car accident. It was Az and me.”

“Who the hell is Az?”

“I already told you.”

Jason rubbed his temples. He finally found someone he liked, and she was crazy.

“His name is Azbuga, actually. He’s a Watcher Archangel, and his name means Strength. He looks like a really tall Hispanic guy, but he’s not really Hispanic because angels don’t have a race like us. He sounds white, though,” Tina chuckled.

Jason spoke with his hands, “I don’t see anything funny about this. Do you hear yourself?”

“I’m telling you the truth.”

There was silence, as Jason thought. Juan was right. He and Fred told him about Tina’s nephew Ronnie’s death and how she hadn’t been the same since. They had caught her talking to herself, and he thought they were reaching. People grieve differently. No process is wrong. But now, with all this angel talk, it had him thinking, maybe they were right.

“Anyway. We caused the accident because we had to save you. Or else…or else you would be dead too.”

Her last comment pissed him off. “What do you know about who killed my friends? And I don’t wanna hear shit about no damn angels.”

“Then, you don’t want the truth. I mean, what about that weird feeling you said you got from that woman at her house? Are you just going to ignore that?

Jason’s jaw clenched, and he exited the vehicle. “Going to get Amarie. When you ready to talk, you know where to find me.”

Chapter 15: “The Door”

Are you new to this series? Click here to start from chapter one.