For Those Who Are Sad

Photo by Ye Fung Tchen on Unsplash

Can I cradle you in the nook of my arms? If you were here, would you let me? Hold you I mean? I don’t just want a hug. I want to hold you so we cry together. Kiss the top of your forehead like a mother would. On the shoulder of comfort, let your tears drench my shirt and I will love you like an infant. Can these words hold your head up? I do not want the soft spot of your pain to blemish the fragile newness of the warrior you are becoming. Your critics will look at what you are, but I see what you can become. But you’ve got to let me do my job. Let me hold you. Cradle you in my arms with these words. Cradle you in my arms with this pen. This is not a blog. Not today. Today this is air. This is breath. This is permission to breathe. These are words wooing lullabies for the exhausted spirits of the broken.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 9: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 9: The Car Accident


Jason kissed Amarie on the cheek.

“Be good,” he commanded.

Alright ma, I’m out,” he said, hugging his mother. Dad had already said his goodbyes and was at the dog track by now. Jason shook his head. That man and the dog track. He had given him some good advice though. Mainly, that he shouldn’t trust that woman and that he was stupid for even going over there. He will give the lecture on “a woman’s ways.” Jason’s dad thought women were sneaky and often did more dirt than men. Every woman except his wife, that was.

“She probably tried to hoodoo yo ass. I’d stay away from her,” he had said. Jason laughed at the thought. Dad had his way of warning you. Jason wasn’t sure what it was, but he was glad he had left when he did. Besides, it wasn’t like he was going to ever see her again, anyway. He entered his car parked in his parent’s driveway and honked the horn as he drove out and down the street. He was driving for a while when he came to a stoplight.

Jason picked up his cell and typed.

“See what the fellas doing.”

A horn went off behind him. “Move it buddy!”

“Aiight, aiight,” he said, noticing the light was green.

Jason knew he shouldn’t try to text while driving, but he did it anyway and he figured everyone did. Jason had confidence that he was careful, casting his eyes on the road and back down to the phone. He never missed a beat. I’m good at this, he thought as he put the finishing touches on his text. The sound of a screeching car, honking horns, and the smell of rubber tires sounded around him as his car jolted forward, knocking the cell out of his hand.

“Oh shit!” he sounded as he pulled over.

The cars around him slowly pulled away, nosy drivers going 5mph to see the damage. Jason exited the car as another car pulled up behind him.

“Damn,” he said at the dent in the back. The driver of the other car parked behind him. He glanced up. It was a woman. Figures. In Jason’s mind, women couldn’t drive. He didn’t believe that in a sexist type way. It was just what he observed from women he knew and the women he dated. He loved his mom, but he didn’t think she knew how to drive either.

The woman stepped out of her car wearing black, fitted slacks, a white blouse, and high-heeled shoes. Her hair was pinned up on the top of her head, and her earrings were pearl studs. Those slacks filled out in the back. Jason stared.

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what happened,” complained the woman.

You slammed into my shit is what happened. “It’s not too bad,” he lied, exhaling, hands in his pockets. He noticed the woman was staring at the car with a blank facial expression. She looked like she didn’t know what to do. He took his hands out of his pockets and held it out for her.

“I’m Jason.”

The woman pulled her eyes away from the car, perked up, and took his extended hand. “Oh, sorry. I don’t know where my mind is these days. Tina. Nice to meet you.”

Her hands were soft and melted into his palm like butter. This is not the time, Jason said to his hardening manhood. Just her hands alone had turned him on. This was different. But after what had happened with that other woman, he had to keep it together. She would probably try to hoodoo him too. He quickly let her hand go.

“Umm.” Tina dug into her purse and retrieved a card. “I guess we can exchange insurance info until the cops get here.”

“Yea, mine is in the car. I’ll get it for you.” Jason turned away to retrieve his information. While getting it out of the glove box he noticed the woman had also returned to her car. She appeared to be shaking her head in frustration. Jason exited the car and walked up to Tina’s car. She was talking to her GPS. He frowned. That was kind of weird. He didn’t think they worked that way. Maybe hers was broken. Or maybe she was one of those hoodoo women.

“Those things are the worst,” he said, and Tina jumped at his voice.

“Didn’t mean to scare you. Are you alright?”

The woman threw the GPS in the backseat and straightened up, exiting the car to stand next to him.

“Yea, I’m sorry again. This is a mess.”

“It’s okay. Here’s my card. Police should be here any minute now. I’m supposed to meet up with some friends. I wish they would hurry up.”

Tina took Jason’s card and gave him hers. “I know right?”

Jason and Tina engaged in small talk as the time passed and Jason became more and more frustrated. It had been almost thirty minutes and no sign of the cops. Jason looked at his phone.

“Man, where the hell they at?”

At his complaint, the red and blue lights appeared in the distance as the sound of sirens resounded.

“About damn time.”

Tina bit her lip. “Listen, this is my fault. I’m sorry again. I didn’t mean to make you miss your friends.”

Damn would she stop apologizing.

“It’s all good. Do me a favor, though?”

“Yes, anything,” she said perking up.

“Stop apologizing!” he laughed, watching her cheeks turn red. She was brown skinned, so it was super cute.

Damn she cute.

“Okay, I hear you. I’ll stop apologizing,” she smiled.

***

Tina’s hands wouldn’t stop shaking. She hoped Jason didn’t hear her talking to Az through the GPS. He was a pain in her butt.

“Let me make it up to you,” she said.

Jason smirked and Tina’s heart fluttered.

“Are you asking me out?” he asked, eyebrow raised, dimple piercing his cheeks.

Tina looked down, blushing. “I guess I am.”

Jason rubbed his hands together.

“Wow, never had a girl ask me on a date before.”

Tina hit his arm, “That’s right because I’m a woman.”

Jason stepped back, holding his chest, “Dang woman, is that how you treat all your dates? You violent.”

They laughed.

“I guess everything is okay here?”

Tina and Jason looked at each other and then back to the officer. They didn’t even see him walk up. He held a pen and clipboard in his hands.

“Yea, we good,” said Jason, cutting his eyes at Tina.

“Who hit who?” asked the officer. He sounded irritated.

Jason nodded at Tina, “She hit me.”

“Give a sista up just like that huh?”

“You did hit me though. Twice,” he said rubbing his arm.

Tina shook her head and Jason winked.

The cop cleared his throat and Jason pulled his attention away from Tina.

“Where do I sign officer?”

Turn right on green.

Tina’s nerves returned and she perked up at the sound of the GPS. Uh oh. Az.

While Jason signed papers, she took the time to return to the car and reach for the device in the backseat.

“I knew you’d find a way,” sounded the  device

“Az?”

“Hitting his car was brilliant,” said the GPS lady.”

Tina relaxed. It was definitely Az.

“Yea, well, just wait until he finds out I did it on purpose and that our meeting was no accident. He’ll hate me forever.”

She glimpsed at Jason from the window of her car. He looked up at her and smiled. She smiled back, halfheartedly. Chicago police were slow, especially for minorities. Her little trick should keep him away just long enough to keep him from meeting up with those friends Az already said were doomed. Tina sighed. She had saved the man. Her work here was done.

Or so she thought.


Move on to Chapter 10!

Missed recent chapters? Here ya go!

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

So She Sang Poetry


Poetry was the cry of a caged bird
Inside, imprisoned by walls, she built herself
Her chest heavy with questions she did not have the guts to ask
felt her voice was too secret
her mission too silent
her purpose too underground railroad
and ain’t nobody wanna be free.
So she sang poetry
and the walls melted like liquid honey.
It was startling how her voice vibrated the air
and she saw her skeletons, ugly and raw
a graveyard of insecurities locked inside the cages of her mind
She was not dead, but something else was
she saw the struggles of her voice
the agony of a quiet storm in a world full of noise
Her mind was a Civil War, and she wasn’t sure who would win,
the enslaved or the free
So she sang poetry
and the shackles melted like liquid honey.
There was strength in her lungs
she could not tame the lyric
there was no trapping the gift
no caging the courage
no binding the song.
There was freedom in her fingers
and a revolution in her pen.
Paper was a bloodbath of truth
and writing a sanctuary
Fear didn’t live here,
only wings that lifted her above the ground
a canvas of silver linings across the sky
a colorful reminder that her struggles were stepping stones
to freedom
that her flaws were flawless
and her mistakes, miracles in disguise
these were her confessions
a resurrection written in ink.

Poetry was the cry of a caged bird
who learned to sing poetry
until the bars melted away
like liquid honey.

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line is Live (The Stella Trilogy Book 2)

Beyond the Colored Line is LIVE

“This story retells the history of many African-American families alive today. It is a heritage rich with strife and suffering but also filled with a hope and a desire to finally grasp the freedom that has been so elusive and out of reach for so many. At times, I was forced to accept some uncomfortable truths about our American past. There is nothing wrong with that. This story makes you think about freedom and what it really means to you as a person, and as an American. I loved this story because it is through the learning of other’s journeys that we begin to learn much about ourselves. Their pain becomes our pain and we begin to see through their eyes. Stella will touch your soul with such a sweet simplicity you won’t even know it.”

– Colleen Chesebro, on Stella: Beyond the Colored Line, First Edition

About.

In book two, we dig deeper into the McNair family’s legacy. Named after her great-grandmother, Stella has a very light complexion which causes her to be the tease of her classmates. Unable to find solace among her African American contemporaries, Stella finds it challenging to adjust to a world where she is too light to be “black.” After The Great Depression of the 1930s forces Stella’s family to move to Chicago, a conversation with Aunt Sara provokes Stella to do something that will dramatically affect not just her life but the life of her children and grandchildren.


Excerpt.

1928

Daddy runs off to no one knows where on account of his life. Some racist whites had seen him and Mama together and threatened to lynch him if found, so he runs off. The community gossip is that his brothers know, but they won’t say. We weren’t alone, though, Mama and me. It seems like Mama filled the hole where Papa should have been with our whole family. The house always stayed filled with guests, my people, and peoples of my people. My granddaddy was a colored man and owned this land. My namesake, his Mama Stella, was a slave and was given this house by her owner. As the story goes, after Grandma died, I was born. Since Mama was the closest, she named me after her.

My aunts would gather around the table with my mama, and they laugh and cry most of the night about their girlhood. They would talk about what it was like being four mixed girls in Illinois. I don’t have uncles on my mother’s side, but Daddy got six brothers.

Due to the controversy around my parent’s relationship, Daddy being a Negro, and Mama being half-white, they only visit on special occasions. Uncle Roy, Daddy’s younger brother, says Mama acts differently around her sisters and that we too uppity, especially Aunt Sara. She’s the youngest of my aunties and the most spoiled. She’s the one who convinced Mama to send me to a white school in the first place, and boy was my uncles hot! They said we were breaking the law–that a Negro had no business in a white school. But Aunt Sara said I had all the right in the world since I was half white. For her, not only could I do this, I had a right to do it.

“But does the school know she a Negro?” Uncle Roy would ask.

“That’s none of the school’s business, now is it?” Aunt Sara would say, and they’d go back and forth until Mama break it up.

Not all talks were good talks. I used to sit until my eyes were red with fatigue to hear Mama and my uncles talk about all the killings that were taking place around the country, and especially in the South. I felt like I lived in two worlds, one black and one white, but none mixed. And what did that mean, mixed?

My aunties wanted to talk about education, family, career, and navigating the world as a mixed-race person, whereas Daddy’s side liked to talk about the black condition, what was going on in the black community, and what it meant to be black in America. They talked less about blacks navigating a world that they felt didn’t include them, and more about blacks redefining themselves and creating their own worlds. The conversations were intriguing and fascinating on both sides, but it left me feeling like my very body was a contradiction. Was I white? Was I black? Race wars always involved these two groups of people, and there ain’t seemed to be room for a mulatto.

“That’s what I say,” said the voice of Uncle Keith, Daddy’s second oldest brother.

“Up there in Minnesota.”

“That close?” Mama gasped.

“Yeah, that close. What woman, you living under a rock? They just had one over in DeKalb last month,” said Uncle Roy.

“It’s a crying-out-loud shame,” continued Keith. “Say they dragged the boys from the cell and a whole mob of ‘em lynched ‘em. Say it was ‘bout a thousand of ‘em.”

“My my,” said Aunt Rebecca.

There were times even I witnessed evidence of the events rocking the country. One day, Mama and I went to visit Cousin Mary in Texas and drove the truck up to a general store. We walked in, and I picked up a postcard from a rack. It was of a man hanging on a tree that supported an iron chain that lifted him above a fire. The man didn’t seem to have much of a body left. They cut his fingers off, his ears and his body was burned to a crisp. On the back of the postcard read: “This is the barbecue we had last night. My picture is to the left with a cross over it. Your son, Dan.”

I learned later the picture was of a seventeen-year-old mentally ill boy named, Johnny, who had agreed to have raped a white woman. And everybody at home still talked of the Cairo Circus of 1909, the public lynching that took place here in Illinois. I couldn’t understand why Mama was so upset about a circus until I found out what kind of spectacle it was. My aunts didn’t want anything to do with the land or the house because of events like these. They say it’s too close to slavery. No one wanted to inherit the home or the property, but Mama, and this is how I spent several years of my life living in the same house where my great-grandmother had been a slave. Mama kept the house full of guests by renting out rooms to help with her washerwoman salary.

We weren’t much of a churchgoing family, party going is more like it, unless Mama wanted to show off a new dress or hat when somebody died or needed saving and on holidays and such. Folk would come from all over southern Illinois to hang out with “Cousin Judy.” Sundays sure were fun, my second favorite day of the week. Saturdays were my favorite day of the week. It was the day for shopping, and that only meant one thing, Chicago.

First, Mama would wake me to the smell of biscuits or pancakes. This massive breakfast was to keep me full enough throughout the day, so she didn’t have to worry any about food buying. Then, she commanded me to bathe real good, paint my arms and legs with coconut oil, untie my curls, and we’d both put on our Sunday’s best and be two of the most beautiful women you’d ever seen. I was a young lady now, and shopping was the best thing for a young lady, next to boys, but you couldn’t like them in public.

You could like shopping, though, and I loved going from store to store in search of the finest. I skipped along while Mama scanned the insides of magazines for stuff she heard about from the white women whose laundry she cleaned. We would squeeze our way through crowds of people, just bumping into each other. Everyone dressed in their weekend wear and bought ice cream for their children. Some went to see the picture show, and so did Mama and me. We could buy candy or jewelry, or perhaps a new hat or two. We could drink from water fountains without a label and spend money without prejudice.

We had a good time on Saturdays because on Saturday, no one knew we were colored.

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Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) by Yvette M Calleiro

Title: The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1)

Author: Yvette M Calleiro

Print Length: 310 pages

Publisher: Yvette M. Calleiro

Publication Date: January 25, 2014

 

Sophia’s life is normal for a seventeen-year-old. She is finishing her last year of High School and dating her best friend even though the relationship lacks passion. What’s full of passion is Sophia’s dreams, where she meets a sexy young man named Ar’ch (R-rick). When he shows up at the restaurant Sophia waitresses at though, she is taken aback. How is it possible that the man in her dreams can show up in real life? The truth is Ar’ch is not a man, but a Diasodz. The Diasdoz are creatures created by the Goddess to protect and heal humans. According to the story, when God created humans, the Goddess created the Diasodz (Die-ah-sodz).

I enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading book two. The story maintains a good pace, and the author keeps us in suspense just long enough to reveal snippets of the truth about Sophia and her true identity. Sophia is also a Diasodz and Ar’ch and his brother Angel has returned to take her back so she can fulfill the prophecy that foretold of a girl born on Earth who would save their kind.

I like to read poetry, historical fiction, memoirs, and self-help but I have a secret love affair for Sci-Fi-, Fantasy, and Thriller books too (my first published novel was a Sci-Fi thriller), but they have to be good for me to deviate from my usual and this one was a nice diversion.

I like that the author doesn’t pour revelations out at one time but revealed when necessary as the story progressed (like through dialogue). I noticed some minor errors, and the book is a bit lengthier than I think it needs to be but it didn’t distract me from the story.

The author is creative in distinguishing the Diasodz from humans which makes this a fun read as we learn about their powers, the difference in time between their world and Earth and see their powers manifested through Ar’ch and Angel. The Diasodz reminds me of the Watcher angels spoken about in some biblical books such as The Book of Enoch who was charged with the duty of watching over mankind.

This is a fiction novel but I actually do believe there is a parallel universe we cannot see, a spiritual world, alongside our physical one. I believe there are things that happen on the physical but also the spirtual except we can’t physically see the spiritual so I loved the part when Ar’ch and Angel were fighting the deminions (lower-level demons) but to Sophia it looked like they were staring at the fountain.

I look forward to learning more about the Diasodz, the Goddess, and more about Valorie and Nolan and what the other world is like. I want to know what Damiana and Drake are really up to and if Mel had a greater role than being Sophia’s best friend. What was she doing at the Main Street Fountain, anyway? And I don’t believe what she said to Sophia about that phone conversation either. I wonder if she was talking to someone else. Her constant proclamations about how she’s there for Sophia just seems kinda fake, so I wonder if there’s something else going on. And what’s with Sophia’s mom Liana staying behind? Something smells kinda fishy and I’m excited to find out.

I wanted to read a later book in the series but I’m glad I started at the beginning!

Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5

Entertainment Factor: 4/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The One Discovered is book one in a five part series and the first two books are free!


Disclaimer: My book review registry is still closed. These are reviews of books I have read on my own. To learn more about my registry be sure to visit the Blog Book Review Policy page here.

Writers Wednesday – Chapter 8: The Women with Blue Eyes


Chapter 8: Something You Should Know


E: You need to come in

Tina: I know. I’m sorry. I will.

E: I’m serious T. Don’t miss another session or I’ll have to report your ass :-/

Tina: Lol. I won’t.

Although she had added a smiley face and “Lol,” to Erica’s text message, in real life she rolled her eyes. Erica was cool but she was still a therapist and Tina was still her client. One more reminder text, call, and email and Tina was going to scream. Before Az showed up again, she never missed a session but that was before she knew what she knew. And even though Erica was the most down-to-earth, most friendly homegirl-type therapist she could have asked for, she still couldn’t tell her everything.

Tina rubbed her temples with her thumbs. She was sitting in her car outside of the office deciding on what to do. Maybe Erica’s right. This is crazy. I need to just go home. Tina started the car. Freddy had turned up nothing on Jason anyway. She couldn’t help him if she wanted to. The sound of a new message appeared. Damn Erica.

Janiyah: Miss Bernice wanted me to ask if you were on your way.

Tina sighed in relief. It was just Niyah.

Tina: On my way now 🙂

Janiyah: K 🙂

“I know where he is.”

Tina dropped the phone and jumped at the sound of Az voice. He had made his body smaller and was sitting in the backseat of her car.

“Don’t do that!” She shook her head.

“Sorry.”

“You always say sorry and then you keep doing it.”

“I know where he is. You can stop him.”

“Why? Why me? Why can’t you just let me live my life?”

“I told you. Ronnie opened a door when he agreed to work for Big Sam.”

“What’s she got to do with it? Besides, Ronnie’s dead, as you already know,” Tina sighed. To be an angel he sure was simple minded.

“Ronnie may be dead, but a door is still open. You are still connected. This is your purpose. It’s what The Power wants.”

Tina shook her head.

“He’s visiting his parents in Oak Park. From there he will head to a friend’s house, but they aren’t there.”

“I don’t like the sound of that,” said Tina looking at Az through the rearview mirror.

“It’s too late for his friends but you can save him if you hurry. He’s wrapping up now. I can show you the way.”

“Okay but how am I supposed to stop him?”

“Be creative. You’ll figure it out.”

Az vanished, leaving an address on Tina’s GPS that will lead her to Jason’s parents house. But the address vanished and a map of the city with red lines appeared.

“What the…?”

Tina tapped the GPS system, trying to get it to go back to the address.

“It’s too late for that,” said the GPS lady voice, “he has already gone. Follow the instructions on your screen. Hurry. There is not much time. Turn left on Columbia Boulevard.”

Tina rolled her eyes, knowing the voice was really Az. She picked up the phone to send Janiyah a text.

Tina: Not gonna make it in time for dinner. Tell Miss Bernice I’ll pay extra. See you in a bit.

***

Amy stood by the window of her office and shook her head. Tina had left fifteen minutes ago but was still sitting outside in the car, her hands moving around.

“Hey Fred?”

Freddy packed up his things to go. It was the end of the day and the rest of the staff had just left.

“Come over here a sec.”

Freddy walked over to the window and stood next to Amy, both of them peering out the window through the blinds.

“What’s she doing?” asked Amy, frowning.

Freddy watched in surprise as Tina waved her hands and appeared to be talking. “Is she on the phone?”

Amy turned to face Fred. “Do you see a phone? She’s talking to herself, again!”

Freddy sighed, shaking his head. He didn’t want to believe it was true. He knew she was seeing Erica. He had recommended her after Ronnie’s death. Maybe it was too early for her to be back. Amy turned back to the window.

“Told you,” she said, her arms folded.

Fred walked away from the window and pulled his cell from his pocket. He didn’t care for Amy too much but damn it if she wasn’t right. He put the phone up to his ear as it rang, shaking his head at Amy still peaking through the window. She was so nosy. He turned his back, grabbed his belongings and headed for the door as the line picked up.

“Hey Erica. It’s me. You got some time? There is something I think you should know.”


Move on to Chapter 9!

Missed recent chapters? Here ya go!

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

New Words

It was either the fresh smell of an expanding vocabulary or the sweet taste of new words on my tongue. Or perhaps the way they moved around in my mind. It was the way they sounded, like soft wings flapping against the air and the effortless inspiration they stirred while teaching me their foundations. It was 6th Grade English, 8th Grade Creative Writing, AP Literature in High School, and African American studies in College. Ms. Lang was a little woman with a big appetite for dissecting poetry and she fed us well. New words have always been motivational in provoking me to write. I would come home from school with an armful under the flap of my notebook and feast on multi-syllable honey. I would string sentences together that really made no sense because all I really wanted to do was use the words. All I really wanted to do was “simile” sentences on paper like hanging linen that I could sit back and watch as they dried. Metaphor them into something digestible. I would sit there highlighting words I didn’t know. Forget parties, all I wanted to do was crack open the mind of an author and anatomize his usage of irony. I was the sole proprietor of time that day and it never seemed to move as long as I was building. Eventually, I no longer depended on organized schooling for my fix. Instead, pocket dictionaries and thesauruses found a home in my backpack as new words found a home in my poetry. To this day I look forward to different ways to use overly used words, synonyms that could be used much simpler and give my palate something new to get excited about.