Yeah Write #473- Baby Needs

Baby Needs

by

Shannon Barber

The word afraid was nothing to me. I was afraid of plenty of things. Clowns, birds, riding in cars sometimes, the shadowy figures of people on the periphery of my vision. I was afraid most of the time. It sat with me and on me, it was a constant companion for a lonely only child. I liked afraid, afraid felt familiar.

I didn’t know fear, real fear until it reached out with smooth cool fingers and wrapped around my coccyx as I stood on the basement steps of our big house in Tacoma staring down into the dusty darkness. I understood something beyond being afraid or uncomfortable, I began to understand the tingle and the giddy temptation of fear.

Once I had the touch of it, the forbidden knowledge that it could make my spine go icy and electric, I needed it. I started a habit. I had a Jones.

Climb onto the roof of our house and stand there watching like Bat Man.

Climb a tree until even the neighbor boy squealed.

Swing until the world turned upside down and let go.

Leap.

Dad jumping out at me wearing the terrifying two headed mask. I flew up from the basement to the protection of my Mother’s thighs.

I still loved it.

The touch.

My habit never got better. The need is never fulfilled. When the fear comes to teach me to not go in there, don’t fight with that man, I just want more.

For a split moment in time as the fear reaches into me I am an infinite screen. I am five years old and shivering in the dark because my Mom put the clown in my room, I am ten and my teeth are bared in a rictus of terror and rage when I look down the open work stairs and imagine tumbling to my death, I am 21 in a strangers’ apartment, deciding if we’re going to fuck or fight. I am 43 and without a mask.

Afraid is a word that means little to me, I am the same child and walk with afraid as close as my own skin. And now, I know fear. I have fear. Fear loves and abides and waits to take me again and I will give in because, I don’t know anything else.

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Yeah Write #456- Call Her

 

Call Her

by

Shannon Barber

Outside of Vegas I found the place. I parked and sat in the cold and waited. A coyote sat in the dark watching, waiting with me. From nowhere and everywhere we heard her song in the sand. The Pisces sang from her ancient grave. And we sang along.

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Yeah Write #452- Harold in the Afterlife

 

Harold in the Afterlife

by

Shannon Barber

He was excited to see 150 new emails in his inbox. The world had given him the gift of solitude in his communications. No more ridiculous chanting, no more exhausting transmogrification on demand, a simple button push and voila, everything he needed to get it all done. The little ding of an email sent or received had become his greatest pleasure.

He thought he would spend the rest of his eternity quietly tapping away on his miracle machine with dignity and organizational beauty but, no. One email, a single line and the dreaded high importance flag.

“Fifteen minutes.”

He left his little safe space and appeared as summoned. He stood with his hands folded in front of him, trying to look pleasant. The Boss looked at him over his glasses.

“Harold. We need to talk.”

“Yes sir.”

The Boss nodded.

“Harold, you are not an administrator anymore. You are dead. You are a ghost. Do your job please. Those emails you send, they don’t go anywhere. Please, you are assigned to full manifestations and shadow person appearances. We have tried to work with your needs and this, situation is untenable. It has been fifteen years.”

Harold sighed and squirmed.

“Yes sir.”

He looked so dejected and heart broken, The Boss held up a finger and tilted his head back. He hated to see such a face and made a decision.

“Harold, we’ll be moving you into this new industrial office park. It was built on desecrated ground. They have a lot of those computers you are so fond of. You can get in there and do whatever you want. Send emails, block emails, uh do the YouTube.”

The grin that spread across Harold’s misty face was beatific for a moment.

“Oh yes sir. I would like that very much. May I go right now?”

The Boss nodded and Harold dissipated. The Boss shook his head a little and muttered as he got back to work, “once a bureaucrat….”

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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.

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Yeah, Write #438 Boss Bitch School

Boss Bitch School

by

Shannon Barber

There is no school in The World. The Boss Bitch Warrior squad has rules. His first time in The World they show him beautiful death. He heard them call, “aye! Kill that bitch.”

And he killed. And killed.

They loved him because, bad bitches love bad bitches too. Forever.

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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.

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Yeah Write #400- Pussy Kills

Yeah Write #400- 
Pussy Kills
by
Shannon Barber

I inhaled deep, blinked slow and spoke softly. “Pussy Kills.” The man standing in front of me smiled, frowned and found a place between the two. He was confused, I was irritated. He thought he was suave, ready to have his first Black girl as he’d already informed me. I wanted to read my book and finish my Jack and Coke in blessed solitude. 

“What?” I smiled and gave him the sweetest look I had on deck. “I said, pussy kills. You don’t want it. Goodnight.” I resumed reading and the hovering bartender pursed his lips, the laughter held in by the grace of the Gods. The bro, then red faced and confused wandered away, muttering about crazy bitches in bars.  

The bartender let the giggles out and slid another Jack and Coke next to my hand and waved off my money. After I thanked him, we had a nice conversation about Suicide Blonde by Darcy Steinke because he’d never seen the edition I had. I told him about how much I wanted to eat Lydia Lunch so I could be with her forever. We became the sort of friends that drank beers out of paper bags together and crawled around used book stores, and over wine and Tom Waits became occasional lovers. 

He was my first of a few gay lovers, he taught me about romance and how to put lipstick on a man with a beard. I taught him about the joys of having multiple imprints of the same book to see the typography changes and how to make a decent cup of coffee. Just before we stopped sleeping together, someone caught us kissing in the bar. When they asked why, he looked at them and said, “pussy kills.”