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They always come calling. Soft teen girls nervous and giggling. Trying to be hard boys drunk and full of bravado. In the end, they are really all the same. Hot bags of blood and emotions that wake me from sleep to rattle my chains and deliver nonsense messages to the other realm.

I loved them once. I knocked and bumped and moaned when they chanted.

“Billy. Billy, are you here? Can you make your presence known?”

I don’t even know if my name was Billy but, they always seem to like it. So I answer. I whisper in their ears and blow graven breath on their sweet necks.

Now they bring hot lights and ridiculous men stomping around being skeptical.

“Come on Billy. Scare us. What, you only like to scare little girls?”

One dumb girl calls and wets herself and I am the villain. She demanded in her loud, shrill voice that I touch her. That I show myself to her because she did not believe..

Yes, I showed her.

I bit and howled. I loomed as a shadow bigger and darker than the night. I was proud, it’s hard to do and she messed herself and ran out screaming with her drunken friends.

Now here I am.

When the tough guys with their lights and camera are here.

They scream for evil Billy. They dare me to hurt them.

Yes.

I will show them bad Billy.

I am Billy.

I will be Billy.

When the loud man starts challenging me to touch him, to make myself known I get ready. I devour the batteries in their bright lights and gadgets, then I run just a bit of myself right up the cleft of his bottom. At first he only stood very still and then he shrieked.

Oh, did he shriek.

He jumped like the cats I play with sometimes and ran shrieking and clutching his cold violated bottom. The energy rippled from his fleeing self through his friends and into me.

I gathered myself and stood at the end of the only open hallway, I am huge and blacker than the blackness. My voice is real and so loud the man with the headphones on drops to his knees in pain.

“I am Billy. I am here. Leave me alone.”

 They run away and my place gets dark and quiet. The rats and cats and other little creatures come back over time.

I don’t know who I was.

Now, I’m Billy.

Big Bad Billy.

###


Some more how I work questions answered.

More questions. The same person asking and they really want to stay anonymous so I might get a bit vague.

One of the things this person and I have talked about is my less than stellar experience with writing groups and other writer spaces, both in meat space and on the internets.

Frankly, my experiences with writer spaces haven’t been great, honestly. My first experiences were so overwhelmingly White and cis male I did not feel comfortable sharing any of my work for the most part. And for a few years had an issue with men “finding out” that I wrote erotica and harassing me.

Later on, as I started to think more about my own identity as a human, and what I was writing and how, as I got to read more critically in terms of sexuality and the political I found a lot of writer spaces were just not for me.

I remember pointing out the inherent sexism in a story I read on a writer’s list, it was honestly coming from a deeply misogynistic place and I will say that I was fairly gentleish about it and after that, the man who wrote it was fairly short/had an attitude with me.

In meat space things haven’t been a whole lot better.

I was invited once to a meat space writing group for ladies. I went and immediately things were just not awesome for me. Things were okay for about ten minutes until I read my piece and it was kinda crickets and a lot of uncomfortable shifting. If I remember right, it was some of my first tries at crime fiction and it was just a terrible fit.

Then in modern times I was a member of that big infamous container full of women.

It was fucking awful.

My experiences there and the things said to me were the epitome of #solidarityisforwhitewomen. It was so incredibly awful that I rage quit and then cried about it because it could have been a great source of solidarity and resources and whatnot, but the racism from the color blind, to the level of swinging privilege like a bat and having women playing pinata with every WOC there was just too much. I felt so deeply disrespected by those women, I couldn’t hack it.

So honestly, I think I’ve just been burned too many times.

I think that my exposure ruined me for a lot of that experience. So I learned to write without it.

That said, from what I hear the right workshop can do wonders for folks.

For me I’ve really changed how I work in general and most of the time it doesn’t mesh well with a formalized workshop/writing group generally speaking.

That said, I study writing.

I read a lot of great books. I follow authors I’m really into on social media. I work on it. I play with it. I use things like prompts, and interview questions etc as ways to try new things and stretch my voice.

It’s why I love doing Yeah, Write so much.

So to answer the other question this person asked, no you don’t have to do shit.

The only thing you have to do as an artist is figure out what works for you.

Also in terms of access, those of us who are poor and working and have families blablabla, like we can’t always spend 485$ to learn how to submit or learn how to write a story or whatever. For folks who can, don’t stop get it get it.

A lot of us can’t and that information is out there.

What’s most important to my own growth as an author is that I learn how to express what I mean to express however I can. Be it poems, non fiction, whatever. For me that is super gratifying and having an audience is like having the tastiest most awesome you wouldn’t scrape it off frosting.

Work that shit out and write like a mother fucker.

I mean I’ve not done the conventional thing. And I’m very happy with where I’m at right now.

I mean look I have a book coming out from a brand new indie publisher who is my fucking dream.

OH shit that reminds me.

This is our shirts for SCLAB. We’re doing ONE more week of these then different stuff later.

But here’s the thing. No I’m not as famous as Roxane or a bunch of other WOC writers I admire.

But I’m doing this shit the way I need and want to and that is amazing.

So my friend, write like a mother fucker.

Work out what works.

Do the damn thing.

Tomorrow another Billy remix for yeah write.

YAY!


Yeah Write #222 Entry Mother Fuckin Billy- The Weeping Billy Remix

Mother Fuckin Billy- The Weeping Billy Remix

by

Shannon Barber

“Billy?”

My answer comes from under water. The air is still thick in my throat and I don’t want to let it out.

“Yeah?”

Answering feels like giving something important up. Like a broken moment. I want to suck it back in.

“You done?”

Panic, my stomach drops and there are tears coursing hot and too honest down my face. I can’t be done- I want too much.

I need more.

The thick air I coveted a moment ago is standing between me and what I need.

“Nnnn-no.”

I sound like a little dog barking at nothing.

“Oh really? Demanding little slut aren’t we?”

I hold my breath. Do I beg now? Do I let the sobs I keep buried in my belly go?

“Billy?

Funny- neither the cane nor the paddle, the whip nor the needle, not even the knives make me cry. But this utterance tinged with impatience and dry know it all arrogance undo me. To most the other tops I’m Billy the Motherfucker that can take it.

“Please, please, please.”

My sobs roll up from my belly like an orgasm. The thick air bursts out of me until my hoarse begging pounds the walls of the playroom.

“Poor needy Billy.”

I cry harder. My words dissolve into nothing but sobs.

It’s true.

I’m poor, needy Billy.

Right now, I’m not mother fucking Billy with the iron hide.

I’m Poor Weeping Mother fucking Billy.

Poor Billy.

Poor Billy.

###

PS I reused my Billy prompt. I will probably do it again.


Yeah Write #221 entry. Mother Fuckin’ Billy

 

Mother Fuckin’ Billy

by Shannon Barber

The tattoo on the side of her neck reads just “Billy” in floral looking script, there are other tattoos I can see dotting her smooth brown skin.  She has a regal profile, aquiline nose, and a jagged pale beige scar that zigzags from her earlobe up through her eyebrow.

God damn it.

I see her cut her eyes at me, then turn her head. Her eyes narrow and she tilts her head up just slightly and I see a dahlia tattooed on the front of her neck. She runs a hand through her silver brush cut and that’s it.

Fuck me.

I pick up my beer and walk over. I sit and we look at each other for a long minute before she speaks.

“What you want Negra?”

I can tell by her inflection she isn’t being a bitch so I smile.

“Who’s Billy?”

Her scarred eyebrow lifts.

“What?”

Maybe it’s the rye whiskey that makes me think it’s okay, I reach out and stroke the tattoo on her neck with a fingertip.

“Billy. Who’s Billy?”

The way she licks her lips and the corner of her mouth jerks when I touch her makes me smile.

“Billy. Billy is an ex.”

“Like an ex-ex or an ex you still fucks with?”

She leans over, her lips close to my ear.

“The kind that nobody will ever find. He cut me once. Never again.”

I move my body closer to her heat, I turn my face so was almost nose to nose. She holds my gaze while I dip into my cleavage with two fingers and pull out my old pearl handled straight razor. She doesn’t even flinch when I slide it open and touch my lip with it.

“Good. Cause I would cut a mother fucker named Billy. I hate competition.”

The rest of the room is gone. Her breath fogs my blade and her smile flashes a silver tooth at me.

“You wave that around like you’re gonna use it. Don’t make promises your ass can’t cash Negra.”

I turn away and shotgun the last of my drink before I put my blade away.

“Finish your drink and don’t start talking shit. You remember what happened last time.”

Last time was five years ago and she had walked away with the impression of my teeth in the meat of her left butt cheek. We both stand and she grabs my hips and pulls me in tight to her body. She’s softer than I remember,  less hard won muscle and more cushion atop brute strength.

She kisses me so lightly and gently my knees almost give out and she holds me up with her hands cupped under my ass. Five years upstate and she still remembers my body.

“I missed you Negra. Now stop talking shit and take me home.”

I rub my nose against the tattoo.

“Mother fuckin’ Billy.”

She starts to laugh and around us, our old friends hoot and clap while she murmurs in my ear.

“Mother. Fucking. Billy.”

 

###

PS..this week brought to you by the one word prompt “Billy” that I stole from someone else.


Yeah Write #219 entry- Waste Not

 

Waste Not

By

Shannon Barber

The scream cut off after too many seconds.

L stands naked in the middle of the tiled room, hands on her wide hips, her mouth pulled down at the corners.

“Shit, didn’t know he was gonna be a screamer.”

B the other naked woman is frowning too, her bloody arms crossed over her breasts.

“I swear to all our Gods you have got the worst taste in sacrifice. Did you even fuck him first?”

L’s shoulders hunch up around her ears and she prods the head of the sacrifice.

“Well, I sat on his face for an hour that counts right?”

B rolls her eyes mightily and goes to wash her hands and pick up her phone. She scrolls through documents until she finds the one she wants.

“Okay, all is not lost. How about we talk to  Nekhbet? She’s a vulture so carrion should be good. And it’s been a while since we raised an oracle to talk to. Start stacking the body parts and should we include some other meat in case she’s not in the mood for white dude?”

L smiles and starts to arrange the parts.

“Naw I think it’ll be good. You get the altar ready. Oh boo you got bloody parts in your butt crack.”

B shrugs.

“Eh, it could be worse.”

She pauses to admire the jiggling brown backside of her wife, unable to help herself, she stops what she’s doing and stares.

“Bae?”

L looks over her shoulder.

“Yeah?”

“We fuckin’ later or nah?”

L slowly wiggles her butt, letting the jiggle travel from butt cheeks down her thighs.

“You nasty and yeah. Now get to work so we can finish up and head out.”

B turns back to her work carefully writing the start of the incantation in the dead man’s blood.

Father of Fathers, Mother of Mothers, who hath existed from the Beginning, and is Creatrix of this World.

##

PS…

Meet Nekhbet here.


Yeah, Write #216 Entry- My Twin Tried It

My Twin Tried It

 

“Come on, why  you bein’ stingy?”

I’m sitting on the counter in my bathroom putting my eyeliner on and my twin brother is sitting on the toilet complaining as usual.

“Look, I already told you, it is not that kinda party.  It’s not for you.”

“Tay, come on bitch why not?”

His voice is starting to annoy me and I don’t want to explain, but I know I’m going to have to or he’s going to whine until I leave then text me every ten minutes while I’m gone.

“Because Tee this party is like, hella gay. Super gay. Like, the party is called Bitches 4 Bitches. It’s for hood dykes. You are not a lesbian.”

I can see the face he’s pulling behind my back.

“Really? Really, Tay? Bitches 4 Bitches? Is you serious? That’s nasty.”

I turn and stare at him, eyes narrowed.

“The fuck did you just say to me Tee? My party is nasty? Really? You think I forgot you went to that stupid what was it? Do I have to remind you about that Anti Black bullshit flyer? No dark girls? Yo’ Mama is fuckin’ dark. You’re dark. I’m dark. And my party is gross? Really bitch? Really?”

Tee is cringing, he puts his hands up and tries to shrink.

“Not to mention I’m fucking gay and GOD forbid I want to go dance with other women of color without some Hotep ashy dick Negro like yourself have a problem. Don’t start with me, I still gotta do my eyebrows and get my lashes on. I’m tryna get with that pretty fat dark girl I me that the last party.”

“Fine, damn. Calm, down. This ain’t twitter.”

I can’t help but giggle, I already put my girls on him about his bullshit on Twitter.

He stands up and comes to watch me finish my make up.

“You know I don’t mean that shit right? I’m tryin’ sis.”

I turn my head and plant a big shimmery kiss on his cheek.

“I know, boo boo. We’ll get you woke yet. Here hold this mirror so I can get my lashes on.”

He holds my hand mirror still and I can see he’s got that look on his face.

“Don’t put them girls from Twitter on me again. Them girls ain’t no joke. I never been roasted like that in my life. “

I do a good job of not laughing and screwing up my lash placement.

“Well, I told you if you got on that Hotep bullshit I’d put them on you. You wouldn’t listen to me. Look, I keep trying to get you to understand that lack women, especially Queer Black women are not here for that. I’m not here for it. You stay on that bullshit and they’ll fuck you up again. How are my eyebrows?”

Tee tilts my head and nods.

“Looks good. I’m trying. I swear I’m trying. Some of that is true-“

If I wasn’t already running late, we’d be fighting. I roll my eyes and jump off of the counter.

“Don’t even. Now shut up and tell me I look cute and that girl is gonna be there.”

“You look cute and she’s gonna be there. Okay, but-“

“Tee. Don’t. Don’t go down that fuck boy path again. Every one of our gay ancestors and every hot ass queer Black girl I know will destroy you. Again. In public. Now stop it. I’m leaving. Do something about yourself Hotep. Be glad I got a girl to talk to.”

I get out of my robe and put my shoes on before grabbing my purse and heading out the door. I love my brother, but I can’t. I have girls to seduce and no time for his nonsense.

###


What’s Going On?

So homies.

Holy shitballs.

Lots of things are happening right now. A couple are secret, but here’s some stuff I’m good to talk about.

I wrote over on Medium about the recent happenings in ConPo, Vanessa Place and AWP and what critics of the mainly POC people talking about this are doing and how they are using some new shit coded racist language. That was convoluted, the short version is people in the lit world are being extra racist as fuck lately.

I have more to say about that, but it’ll happen next week.

What else?

I’m ready for more Patrons. My household finances are about to get leveled out and I would like to start saving for AWP16 in LA soon.

What else?

It’s 7:30 inthe fucking morning. I’m coming off of a migraine and can’t sleep.

I keepthinking about the banality of the way the lit world gets a racism boner.

I  say, hey don’t be fucking racist. I get blocked on social media by white dude bro poets I’ve never heard of. I get shitty messages everywhere about how I’m ruining my career before it takes off. How if I’d just be quieter and nicer with allies, if I’d write “normal” stories.

Okay so recently I got published at Shotgun Honey. That was a big fucking deal for me. I’ve been a huge fan of that magazine for a long time and yeah, there was an agenda with that story.

The Junie in the story is a Black lesbian who under her mentor has put her art and anatomy to good use in the criminal world.

That is not a story I’ve heard before in most noir type stuff so I wrote it.

A few “friends”  suggested that it was weird and why did Junie have to be Black AND gay.

That’s what I deal with from “friends” .

That’s well meaning people upholding white supremacy.

Those people are honestly worse than straight up racists.

Instead of saying like, hey that story was a piece of shit or hey cool little story. I got but why was she Black and gay.

It is exhausting.

It is demoralizing.

And yet, I’m still doing it.

Mostly unpaid. Entirely too visible sometimes.

It’s why my comments are moderated.

Why I will block people or ban them. So far on my author page on facebook I’ve deleted a treasure trove of racist sexist comments. I’ve blocked I don’t know how many people.

And, look.

Here I am. Exhausted. Stressed out. Half terrified and giving way too few fucks.

I’m still here.

Okay I’m being told to finish my food and take some drugs so I’ll sleep.

Goodnight moons and hams.


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