Shut Up and Rub Me

An excerpt from my current work-in-progress, Jeanne Dark.

Dark CoverThe bathroom door opened and steam roiled out, bathing the room in warm, damp air. From its dark midst emerged Jeanne, lit by the flickering light from the living area as if she were a chimera, or perhaps a wounded angel, defrocked and sent limping to Earth. She was dressed in a flowing, white robe with her hair wrapped in a towel. It was ordinary hotel attire, yet she wore it as if she were an ancient Persian Princess and I her faithful servant. I’d doused the lights in the hotel room and substituted them with candles that were bright enough for her to see her way to the bed, but little else. I’d just turned off the lamps, and my eyes were still adjusting to the darkness when she approached. I regained my vision in time to see the creamy outline of her flesh through the sheer robe. I swept her up with my eyes, and for a moment, she met my gaze and the fog was no longer in the room, but in my mind, clouding out the thoughts I’d had of our case, our agreed professionalism, my reason. I realized, too late, that I’d not thought the setting in the room through. Behind me, Coltrane and Ellington conspired in playing “My Little Brown Book,” which added just enough heat that I feared the room might melt. That woman and her jazz were going to be the death of me.

“Merci pour l’éclairage,” Dark said, taking my hand so I could help ease her onto the bed. “It was very thoughtful.” My elementary French told me she was thanking me for dimming the lights. I breathed a sigh of relief that she didn’t think the setting was as full of romance as my thumping heart was telling me that it was. Dark removed her sunglasses once again. Even in the dim light, the gloriously large olive orbs were breathtaking. She lay on her side, briefly looking me in the eyes, and smiled. “You are full of compliments tonight,” she said.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“Oui. You said plenty.” She turned on her stomach, reached underneath and undid her robe. My brain reminded me for the second time I hadn’t thought the scenario through. It was, however, way too late to turn on the lights and the television to break the mood. She pulled the robe over her shoulders and lifted her chin to me. “You can help, you know.” I gingerly eased the garment off her shoulders, to her mid-back, stopping at her hips. I could see a strap across her back that looked like a … “Do you like my bikini?” she asked.

The question startled me, because for a moment I thought the woman could see me out the back of her head. It would have been a natural evolution from her current set of gifts. I managed to stutter out a query as to why she had a bikini in London.

“I bought it the day we met, when you promised me a massage. I was beginning to think I’d never wear it.”

I settled in over her and began at her shoulders. Her fragrance stopped me. “Why do you smell like oranges and vanilla?”

She gave a throaty laugh. “Do I make you hungry?”

I muttered my answer under my breath. “You have no idea.”

I resumed work on her shoulders, but she turned, looking at me. “Is the rest of me too damaged for you to massage?”

“What? No, of course not.”

“Then, if you don’t mind, I’d rather you start with the bottom and work up. All the pain is from below the waist.”

“Should I pull your robe back up?”

“If I am ugly, oui.”

I pulled the damned thing the rest of the way off, revealing her slender frame, delicate skin, and slim legs. From head to toe, she smelled of the attar of orange petals. “Yeah, my pain is from below the waist too,” I said.

“Shut up and rub me,” she said. I could hear the smile in her voice.

A Brief History of the Collapse of the 21st Century

Bill Jones, Jr.:

Seemed appropriate, given the current climate surrounding the Ebola virus.

Originally posted on Hard as Roxx:

This is a prologue to my Sci-Fi thriller, Hard as Roxx™. It paints the story of a slow decline of Earth’s culture into dystopia. It is also an alternate take to the scenario painted in the story “Due South” (published in The Juice and Other Stories). Admittedly, it is quite atypical for a short story. However, I thought fans of science fiction would enjoy seeing how one small event can trigger another, leading to a complete change to life as we know it. It also lays out how I developed the world that is Roxx’s home in the year 2137. I hope you enjoy the story. Fellow writers are free to use the 21st-century timeline as a basis for their stories, but I would appreciate an acknowledgment if you do. Also, be advised that Hard as Roxx™ and Roxanne Grail™ are trademarks of Panthera Press™ and cannot be…

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100 Days of Art – Day 3: The Sound of My Heart

Featured Image -- 6210

Originally posted on Just Me:

click “play” then read.
(For Mariamor)

if i’d listened to my heart …

in the days when artistry crept, a humid dawn
over my wooded life that startled me awake
and i remember it was like falling from a dream
after a mosquito-infested night. i rose,
heard the bass in my head, and it sang,
loud, clarion, and
in God’s baritone, “You.”

my heart heard it, but i’d been taught
by empty love
to live in my head. i was good in my head
“brilliant,” the teachers whispered
“make him one of us.”
and so one of them, one of you, none of me
i became.
and so when my heart sang,
thume, pum, bum, bapadoo, thume, poom,
my frightened mind hid amid the rubble
of my grandmother’s utility room

i utilized the shit-stowed stench
to quench my heart’s yearnings
convinced myself—the good son—dad
could ill…

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Hard as Roxx Soundtrack

Originally posted on This Blog Intentionally Blank:

All of my books have a soundtrack. It’s probably because in my head, they all play out as movies. For now, however, they will have to content themselves as books. My latest book is Hard as Roxx, release date 2012. Below is a sampling of videos from its soundtrack.

If you only listen to one, try “Jangfata,” which means “The Road Is Long.” It is the pacing and the energy of the book. Although the story is Dystopian, I have quite a different view of what life will be under an oppressive regime. Life finds a way.

I realize the song selections will seem random now, but trust me, they will make more sense when you read the book. Put on your dancing shoes, clothes your eyes, and be. Roxx is gonna take you places you’ve never been.

Meet Roxx – “Do It Like a Dude,” by Jessie J

Desert Time…

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Ferguson, NO MO

Security forces charge demonstrators after being hit by water bottles during a protest against the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson
I can hear the shouting,
though it’s vague and difficult to discern
over the clamor of the newsie, verbal paparazzi
providing us 24×7 coverage of
“We don’t really give a shit,
but they never did find that fucking Malaysian plane.”
Beneath the civil unrest, there’s bubbling turmoil.
“We’ve been here before” and
Missouri trees bear strange fruit,
blood on the streets, brothas to shoot.
But poets whisper, the street urchins
are beat-boxing ’bout Nikki Minaj’s booty
and Jay-Z’s beatdown in elevator shafts
that only go down, while rising.

Back inna day, there’d be a different
Nikki at the microphone
and she wouldn’t be whispering. But
these are the days of million-dollar
hip-hop “poets” too busy in their box seats
to be bothered with the streets.
I wonder if the revolution happened
Brother Gil told us it wouldn’t be televised
but I thought CNN might have mentioned it.
So I sit back and remember 1970
because visions of Kent State, as fractious
and damnable as they are
remind me that pigs hate whitey too.

Hell, the only thing we have left
is hatred,
ain’t it?

I can hear my grandma calling:
“Somebody turn the channel. This damn
television is stuck on 1970.”
Maybe somebody should write
a song about it. Want ta hear it?
Here it go:
“Ain’t no niggas, ain’t no whiteys
ain’t no magic anymo’
Ya’ll don’t hear me, though I’m shoutin’
Ain’t no Ferguson, No MO.

I don’t think this microphone is turned on.

Him a Shotta


Him a shotta
livin life on him edge.
Girl by de side, she wait
for him light fe break.

“Why fe you a romeo?”
she say, but him naw respond
‘cau him a shotta,
and him too hard fe speak.

But she naw sceered a him.
His frown mek her wet
down dere in her tropical flow
so she a-come back at him,
“Deny dem shottas and refuse thy game.”

“Gwan, girl,” him say.
“My naked weapon is out; quarrel,
I will back ‘pon you.”

“Dem’s not your words,” she say.
“‘Sides, me have seen ya weapon,
and dat ship naw sail.
“Ya kiss by de book.”

“Me gwine kiss ya in yon’ tropics.
Beseech ya girl, come by me,
and come, girl, an’ come.”
So she gon’ swoon a bit,
and Romeo, him continue,
“Arise, and a come, fair sun,
burn ya’ tropics and kill
de envious moon.”

“Again, I say, ‘Deny dem shottas
and refuse dey game.’”

“And if I will not?”

“Den be but sworn my love
and I’ll be a shotta too.”
And she t’row down she rope
and say, “Climb up, bway,
an’ be quick. Me feelin’ a tropical
storm a-come.”

“Me come, fair Juliette. Me come,
me come, and come, and

Excerpt from Awakening: The Backwards Man


I’m almost through my revision/tightening of Awakening, the 2nd book of The Stream, which I’ve tentatively retitled Grandfather Time. Since I’ve reached it, I thought I’d share my favorite scene.

Behind them, approaching from the lighted room, was a bizarre vision of a man being led by twin horrors. The man was tall and thin, his features concealed by a loosely fitting, hooded tunic. He wore likewise loose-fitting pants tied with a rope belt made of twisted gold strands. Both the tunic and pants were amethyst, giving him the bizarre appearance of a purple monk. On his head he wore a wide-brimmed hat, despite already being shielded by the hood. The hat rose into twin peaks, as if the hard leather had been placed over horns. The round brim stood as wide as his shoulders. Though standing in the lighted room, his face was concealed in shadows. As he moved forward into the darkness, the shadows grew, seeming to envelope him, as though he had become one with the surrounding murkiness.

His head, torso, and arms all faced forward, towards the group of rescuers as they rounded a turn and out of sight. Grotesquely, his hips, legs, and feet faced backwards toward his group of sycophants. He led a strange cortege of hook-nosed women with aggressively protruding breasts; the too tall, too thin, or too bent; human pincushions; and the diseased, dripping with open sores. All wore brightly colored clothing that was covered in drab brown robes or shawls. These beings marched in asynchronous, ludicrous fashion behind a small company of addled bodyguards dressed as harlequins with capes and long baggy robes. The guards held long, bent spears that ended in razor-edged points. At purely random increments, they would slice or stab one of the followers, or each other, eliciting both yelps of pain and a tittering chorus. As a result, none of the followers seemed to be actually watching Charlie or the backwards man, but were engrossed with mindlessly torturing each other.

The backwards man strode in the direction of what should have been forward but which appeared to be rearward, in pursuit of Charlie and his group. The hooded figures bony arms were extended, restraining the two snarling beasts that tested their iron chains. Each monstrosity had a broad chest and sturdy legs that ended in wide, padded feet that allowed them to move silently across the concrete floors. Their chests were no more than eighteen inches above the floor, but due to their enormous frame, the beasts stood five feet at the shoulders. Their heads were equally massive, with reptilian features that ended in a wide mouth full of two-inch teeth. The beasts were dull brown, with red striations on the sides of their heads that made them appear even angrier than their snarling, drooling demeanor asserted. They looked as if some hellish breeder had managed to graft a small Tyrannosaurus’ head on an oversized, lizardized bulldog’s frame.

“Fetch,” the backwards man said, in a voice that was simultaneously deep and effete. He released the hellhounds from his scrawny hands, and they bolted in snarling pursuit of Charlie’s group, their chains clattering behind.