Poetry and Fiction Excerpts

Cannibal

i don’t blame

the wide hipped

women

for eating their men

i don’t blame

them for frying them

flour and lard

salt pepper paprika in

black skillets

grease popping sizzling

with the rhythms they miss

i don’t blame them for making

meals of the men

who’ve gone missing

the lost ones dry humping

a beer bottle’s bottom

the wayward ones

caught in the fishnets of a

mistress

the dead ones

cradled in a casket’s palm

i don’t blame the

wide hipped women

for serving their men on sundays

in southern fried pies

cuz everybody gotta eat somehow,

everybody


The Declassified Files of the Sorority of
Chemically Straightened Heads
The following is to be read carefully, then burned by curling iron.

I.
By the time you are seven
you will believe 
that you are ugly because
your hair is bad.

This begins the initiation; 
you will know. 

II.
Soon after, you will be
plucked;
stolen from a random
Saturday,
carted to a nearby salon. 
And there will be
mirrors, stools, and tools
scissors with curls still
attached
irons peeking from
miniature
stoves, mud colored gels,
lucid
creams, toothless combs,
sticky
sprays, helmets of heat,
bubble-filled basins,
plastic rods, greasy clips 
and brushes with more hairon
them than heads

III.
The foul smelling cream is
God.
You will fear it, 
bow to its’ magic and lye
become enslaved to its
ability
to press your strands into
submission
make stubborn spirals flat
after minutes of menacing.
IV.
Surrounding you are the grim lipped
gossips, 
the women who share the blister sick
knowing
that the more sizzle, pop, and pain
the longer lasting the style

V.
Black hair is Ritual.
Sorority. A hazing that hurts. 
An induction into a
sisterhood 
where follicles are 
pressure cooked
to maintain the status quo.

VI.
Perhaps we should
blame the women
who raised us.
The lipsticked sadists who
stuff
our self-esteem in corsets;
shape
our worth with brow pencil; 
teach us we are
only our hair.



Sirius Black Speaks About His Time In Azkaban Prison
(a sestina)

prison has a way of turning time
inward. it’s an irreversible magic
eating away the edges
of a sane man’s will.
there’s no warming a cold that crawls
inside linen. lingers as if invited.

sometimes I’d succumb to dysfunction. invite
it to imaginary tea. ask if it’d wear tomorrow’s time.
but my sentence was stubborn. a crawling
creepy thing capable of unraveling the magic
of a phoenix feather. will
sorcery to a suicidal edge.

Azkaban stands on the crooked edge
of silence. the predator invited
to a festival of prey. a cinder block’s last will
& testament. a clock bewitched to ignore the time.
my innocence was my last bit of magic.
a reminder I still had courage enough to crawl.

escape begins with crawling.
unsteady steps edging
from impossible to maybe then magic.
beware the man with nothing to lose; he invites
madness to dinner to pass the time.
I was that man. holding my wits in my hands, hoping a will

to live hadn’t abandoned me. prison will
melt away memory. hold the heart hostage. watch seconds crawl
by. There were times
when my smile would toe the edge
of a Dementor’s kiss. when laughter would invite
itself inside the core of magic

memories are warm elixirs. a magic
the cloaks and cold could never will
away. when I was falling face first into darkness, I invited
Moody’s wisdom in for a chat. His pragmatism crawled
through my misery, pushed doubt from the edge.
Prongs appeared when I needed to invoke a joke a time

or two. We were mischief managed, invited friendship and magic
a map of footprints, time, and will. 
I am the crawl, the memory, and the edge.


An excerpt from Dr. Djinn’s Odd Scholars a forthcoming YA Historical Fantasy

“Professor Bartholomew Blue: Master Teacher. Elite Conjurer. Ghoul Gatherer. Traveler,” she gasped in her best Jamaican accent. Her lips slipped into a smirk.

He pulled her into a bone crushing embrace. “Wha Gwan?”

She grimaced as he helped her to her feet. “Ok, I suppose,” she smoothed her suit jacket. “That was a helluva demon. Where’d you find it, 18th century?”

“1776.” He cracked his knuckles and rolled his head from side to side.

“You went home didn’t you? To Kingston.” She crawled toward the ocean and submerged her throbbing hands in saltwater.

“Had to, been too long.” He plod back to the Obeah and climbed aboard.

Her eyelids fluttered as the salt worked its magic. After the pain subsided, she stumbled back to shore. “The more irredeemable the soul, the better the fuel.”

He wiped his brow with the edge of his cape. “Makes sense, all things considered. Wicked energy is potent. Who knew the souls of dead slave owners could propel us through the Time Stitch?”

Her eyes settled on a metallic net stuffed with glowing jars on deck. She rubbed her chin. “Lemme guess, a graveyard dig?”

He threw his shoulder into the hull, pushing the vessel back into the sea. “Best dig in recent memory, Marvellus,” he said in a strained voice.” A cluster of slave masters and their descendants. Found ‘em in Ocho Rios on a hill beside a waterfall.”

“How many?” She raised an eyebrow.

“One hundred fifteen,” he grinned.

“Who was the one we just subdued?” She glanced at the freshly sealed jar dangling from a belt loop on his hip.

“Thomas Thistlewood,” he paused. “A rapist and a mad man.”

“Weren’t they all?”

In a flash, he moored the boat to a newly conjured dock of wood and bone and tossed the bulky net over one of his muscular shoulders. She stared at the jar where the demon glowed from inside. Now and again, a small bolt of electricity would flash as gooey translucent droplets bubbled to its surface. Then, out of nowhere, a tiny handprint appeared, ghostlike. She blinked as the jar thumped against his coal black thigh.

“I never understood why you kept the Soul Jars so close to your person. Drop them all in the net. It’s much safer—”

“There’s this saying about enemies,” he whirled around to face her. “I think you’ve heard it.” He winked, pat the jar with one of his large, dark hands, and trudged ahead with his cumbersome treasure.

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