Yeah Write #442-….safe.

….safe.

by

Shannon Barber

In the sun, in June you are safe. But, it grows. Cradled in light and heat, you are free, safe. There is no reason for the world to slip and slide on the periphery of you. No reason for the chill between your thighs.

You will not scream. The darkness will not come. And yet the cold place grows inside.

###

Yeah, Write #430

Yeah, Write #430 

-you’ll Laugh

You Know.

by Shannon Barber

You know.

-you’ll laugh.

You want to call them faceless, nameless, formless even- it would be easier wouldn’t it? Everything would be better if you didn’t feel their name songs in your bones when you lay down to sleep, if you didn’t see their faces smile at you from darkened corners, if your skin didn’t remember the heat of their touch. Easy, you crave any ease and moments of illusory peace.

You know.

-you’ll laugh.

You watch everyone else. Their petty struggles and their ignorance of the name songs and weight of the dead that hangs on them make you smile when everything else is- as is. You hold your truth close, truth is your secret. Watch the rest of the fools dance and squirm. You tell yourself while your bones vibrate with name songs and your skin buzzes with ghosts, at least you know. Tonight you’ll laugh.

You know.

-you’ll laugh.

You know. You will take your complexities and one foot on the other side life because-

You know-

-you’ll laugh.

###

Ay listen.

Hi babes.

Can we talk about some shit I’ve been learning lately?

First thing I’ve not learned but we’ll say that has been reinforced to me is that, a lot of general promotional advice is woefully out of date. It doesn’t account how a lot of us have our links on platforms like FB throttled so hard, even our “close” friends don’t see them.

So I kinda am trying to make a deeper peace with that. I’m working on it.

The other thing is that, I’ve noticed that even with me taking pains to reduce how much stuff I give away, I STILL don’t really generate things that are buyable by my general audience across a few platforms. How do I know?

Medium for instance. I currently have 19 pieces behind the paywall, a good variety of type of content. Here in 2019 I’ve made less than a dollar. I mean…my read ratio regardless of topic or length is under 2 out of 10. Then of course when I can read stuff on medium, I see a LOT of bullshit that makes hundreds of dollars likely.

It makes me tired.

I’ve been using KoFi for almost a month exactly and have three things to read. One poem, two essay type things. And goose eggs.

I talked about it on my main fb account a while back. And funnily enough when I said, don’t blow smoke up my ass if you’re not going to at the very least share, my share rate went from few to literally 2-4. And so did engagement.

So really, I’ve learned that the call to action, the asking my community for help etc etc. Ain’t for me. I’ve tried. I’ve modified my tone, I’ve changed what I’m giving, etc. I think I can make some peace with that. Silence and inaction says volumes. More so when the folks who do the share because they don’t have $$ to support, are literally the same 4-6 people it has been for a decade. That’s my real audience. They are the real Gs and I’m not talking about them.

What else?

In terms of Gasoline Heart here’s some interesting things. (NOTE TO SELF ASK PUBLISHER FOR NEW BOX O BOOKS) Some of the folks who’ve read it, really loved it. one of the things I’ve seen in several reviews are along the lines of, HOW DID I MISS THIS/THE WORLD MISS IT?

Easily. SO the above issues. I mean, a few people (the book has been out for a while now) who’ve known me for a long time have said, I didn’t see X links. Sorta believable. Also I am not represented, I am not a darling, I am not very famous or really even connected in the poetry world. So yeah, you won’t find my lil book in lists and shit. That is just how it is.

Also, I learned that I do not have the cash on hand to be trying to get my lil book awards. Shit is expensive. In secret I spent a few months last fall really dedicating hours of my week to submitting to free publicity or award things with my lil book. The hours cost me in terms of spoons and time not spent writing and netted me one very nice rejection letter.

And real talk. I STILL can’t get poetry published. At last submission spree, even with mentioning the book and including a poem or two from it, I don’t really get no love from the lit poetry world. That’s fine but it also means that I’m chasing my tail trying to promote my fucking book.

So yeah. That’s been a struggle but I’m glad I did it. I can see the whole pathway and what obstacles exist for me in particular and that I don’t honestly have the spoons to try to get around them. So I do what I have energy for.

NON BULLSHITS.

So last year I decided to focus more on getting back into the fiction world and boy howdy. Quite a few years ago I had about a 60% acceptance rate in the short fiction world. That was huge.

My return to it has been fucking lit.

This year I’ve placed stories in two anthologies that are both HUGE DEALS to me. Huge. I got an experimental horrory story into Would but Time Await: An Anthology of New England

I was REALLY nervous because the story was an experiment. It is a Black story and I haven’t really been in the horror community for a while.

THEN I got a little tiny horror story accepted over at Heavy Feather (will announce when it goes up). The editor Jason dropped me a note months ago and I FINALLY made something I’m into.

And then, I got the notification and one of the best damn acceptance notes ever. My lil supernatural noir story got into the Gimme the Loot: Stories Inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. Forthcoming from Clash.

The uniting theme in these is that, I’m at my best when I write what the fuck I want to write. I think freelancing really kind of crushed that in me to a degree. Yes there are some publishers who have been all the way the fuck in with me. But, largely that is not the case. This is the same thing with the flirtations with agents and mainstream publishing.

It is like, OKAY we fuck with you but about 40% so dial it back.

I don’t write great things with that in mind. I don’t write great things when I’m trying so hard to get paid what I’m worth.

All of this is really about me pupating so I can in fact find my place in the lit world. Someone who was trying really hard to be encouraging was comparing me to two very famous, very amazing Black writers and y’all, it made me cry. I like both authors. But, I am not like them and cannot be.

I hate this whole struggle between wanting a seat at the table, wanting some “success” (as termed by our culture) and just wanting to be my weird little self, make some writing, make some pomes, do my shit and maybe sometimes be shown appreciation in the form of coins.

I’m working on it. One lil thing at a time.

Yeah, Write #390- Death in the Jungle

Death in the Jungle

The corner was busy, always busy.  The same grimy business of survival. Cars passed, girls and not girls on the stroll, bindles and cash got passed. Things are the same forever but, folks’ bodies remember it all. It was business as usual in the jungle.  In the bright of daylight when the shadows hide nothing, shots echo.  

But when they all ducked, nothing was there.

Call Her- Microprose Practice

Call Her-

Microprose practice for Christine.

by Shannon Barber

How to raise them, stand hand in hand, speak and dream together. Sing the scabrous music of the Outer God. Call Nephren-Ka, Goddess of Bloody Tongues.  

Sing children. 

Fm’latgh. 

Burn. 

 Call her- 

Leviathan.

Currently working on-WIP and Inspo

Once upon a time I had a blog where I was playing with posting just inspiration shit without context.

We’re gonna play with that here. With whatever format fits for the shits.

My current WIP is titled: Uchisa aLenore et Black Head, Beloved.

Music first:

 

Words/Names:

  • Limerence.
  • Corvidae.
  • Armin Meiwe
  • Lust/blood.
  • Flesh.

A bite:

“You look, very pretty Mary. Pretty Mary. Is that a new hat? Very elegant. Almost, like a little brown budgie.” Mr. Peach White things budgies are the cutest things in the world and the compliment makes me blush. “Yes, new hat. It was made by the milliner what specializes in human heads. Near the river.” 

A few other WIP factoids:

I am actually personally terrified of birds so this story is fucking with my poor brainmeats.

This is lovey horrory weirdness? I dunno.

It is happening.

I am not thrilled about how many goddamn birds I’ve looked at including some gigantic ass dinorsaurs.

So that’s all.

 

YeahWrite #342 Weekend Writing Showcase

 

CONTENT WARNING- SERIOUSLY. NECROPHILIA AHEAD. 

Beyond Love.

 

I love you.

I loved you.

Until death do us part.

Congratulations darling, we made it. Can you believe it? I know, it was such a surprise but the look on your face was worth. The shock, the wide eyes and the screaming. Your little piggy squeals made my heart leap. It was really the sweetest most charming thing I’ve ever seen. I just love you so much. You are the perfect girl.

Oh, hold on I see you had a little accident. It’s okay love, don’t be embarrassed. These things happen when our bodies are cleansing themselves after death. Let me just, yeah okay let’s put your arm around my neck so we can get you rolled over. Good, perfect. Now, let’s wipe that off. when I was researching how best to help take care of your skin, you know what happened? I spent four days researching Lenin of all people. I wish I could do that for you, you know that don’t you?

I know, I’m sorry about this. Oh sweetheart, I understand. A bit of skin slippage is completely normal. The rigor took a bit of a toll on you too. Good news, you are all clean again. Did you like it when I touched you there? I liked it. I’ve never done you know, no you know. Am I blushing? I’ve never done any back door stuff with anyone. You see, you see how special you are?

Maybe we can try some, you know butt stuff? I don’t want to rush you. I know the other place; the sacred place is waiting for me. I can wait.

I want to wait. We’ve already been through so much together. Arterial spray, the piglet screams, the slow ebbing away of that light in your eyes. In those final moments, I saw how you saw me. You saw through what society says and what anyone else thinks. You saw into my heart and then, you laid back and closed your eyes. I can still feel the wetness of your last breath on my lips, it was right in that moment that I knew I’d chosen right.

You have always been the one.

I promised you as your body relaxed and released that I would be with you through it all. As far as I can. I will love you through bloat and CDI.

I promise my love, when the moment is right and the heat of decomposition runs riot in your body, we will be one. My love will drive the creatures from your body and I won’t share you ever again. When you begin to desiccate and your flesh is sloughing away, you will still be beautiful to me.

When you are bones, I will carry you with me for the rest of my life.

I love you.

I loved you.

After death do us part.