to you as well thanks as well to you thanks well to as you thanks

pleasure all mine
pleasure all yours
all my pleasure
all your pleasure
my all pleasure
your all pleasure
pleasure my all
pleasure your all
mine all pleasure
your all pleasure
mine pleasure all
your pleasure all
my pleasure all
your pleasure all
pleasure all my
pleasure all your
pleasure
mine
my
your
all

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Conjure Real

what is the difference
or separation
between meaning in
conjure and language?

where does the relationship
to each other manifest?

can the carnality of
a desire be conjured
through language?

what is missing?
what word
completes
calls forth
beingness?

Reborn

blue and white planet display

Spring gave birth to the horror of sight in us all
and I never believed until now that I could and would live to see myself
so utterly shorn of slick shells
forced to face the real me
all walls come tumbling down for all to see hear touch
even pollen can burn flesh so raw and new
I journeyed to the core of the sun to understand
why we must continue to plow and sow even as we trample our own gardens
I did not know that I myself was a seed to be sown and reaped
and like all seeds the hard shell must swell and burst
so that I would shed blood and tears as I rose from the moist black earth
all walls come tumbling down as Yeshua and Chango in a tipsy brass duet
hold court with Oya
and I see Her funnel clouds reach down and bore into my chest.

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Invocation to Oya

eye of the storm image from outer space

The leaves rustle and bristle in the howl of the breeze
the husky voice of Oya caressing me in the full darkness of night
no one is really watching me and no one is around
her windy aura surrounds and fills me
thundering and sifting through my aura of guilt
She promises me many of my secret desires
including that which I dare not name
She twirls thought the air and disappears
I am alone in the rapture
alone in myself to claim what I know to be mine
and mine I keep to myself
He sweet breath is till with me
brushing through me up my skirts
as I suddenly become tipsy
and like a Sibyl I now know the ahead
but the moment I hold now twists from my reach
I try grasping at the slippery handles to remember.

I remember you, the child of Windy Oya, your eyes always cast upward
your arms reaching for her naector in expectation
your body in rhythm with Hers
Ah, but Oya never leaves her child to twist alone
and she dances with you, teaching you her steps forward so that you remember
to not forget how to change
change like Mother Wind!
rush forward now, rush back!
spin like a hurricane, your arms outstretched beyond
hurling yourself from the cliff
knowing the Mother will carry you into moist valleys
caressing your soft brown locks as she steps wide
through blood red clay and evergreen leaves towards the sea
rocking you still when you cry our in pain
She only asks that you reach out to her
her husky voice rumbling in your ears in gusts and gales
her bright as night eyes warming you when you shiver alone
She knows when your heart quickens–
now spin and change as you will!

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Northern Gothic (part one) #30days #30days2018 by Cherie Ann Turpin

 

Willimantic is a small blip of a town between New York City and Boston. It used to be called Heroin Town.

Considering the fact that most of the textile factories and thread factories shut down in the 70s and moved down South (as in Central America, since even Southerners were insisting on union wages), and considering the larger fact that Connecticut was no longer home to the big insurance companies, you would not be surprised at the condition of Willimantic by the late 90s.

Once a sprawling, working class community with huge Victorian homes, ancient buildings and bustling businesses on Main Street, along with a steady influx of French Canadians, Puerto Ricans, and Irish-Americans, many houses now stood empty, became occupied by UConn students, or became drug havens for heroin junkies, and many of the businesses either went bust or else moved to the strip mall down on I-195. It was said that the mall, a venture put forward as a generator of new jobs during the recession in the late 80s, had actually killed what was left of downtown life. Here and there a few storefronts attempted to breathe life, and actually did survive, albeit piecemeal. Two restaurants actually maintained good business, drawing in the yuppies who lived on the outskirts of Willimantic or from Mansfield, near the state university set in the midst of cow pasture. But it was nothing like what it was. Such was the state of economics in Southern New England.

And what of the lost souls who wandered up and down the street, search for the last hit, the new high that would surely take them from the everyday misery of the memories lucking behind the empty theater across from cracked, crumbling Hooker hotel (actually J. C. Hooker, who never imagined himself being known as a swatter’s haven, a hooker’s hotel?)? Or the greasy spoon still serving cholesterol to truckers traveling through from Providence to Hartford, to New York, to beyond?

Nestled in the midst of this slow death was a fledgling cafe, once a fledgling bookstore specializing in feminist studies and other such subversive material. The ghosts of the bustling city lived in the alley between the cafe and Greenleaf lamp shop, and through their descendants who, not imagining any other place to live, continued to shop and eat on Main Street, continuing to take their children downtown, choosing the desolate scenery over the larger yet still desolate city of Hartford. Or the students from either Eastern State or Connect State looking for cheap rent and privacy from the desperation of campus life.

Such was the woman who stepped out of the back of the building where the vegetarian cafe was located. As she walked down the narrow pathway she tried not to notice the ever watching eyes behind the windows in the slum apartments to the left of her, the barely painted exterior of the back of the next building that did not look like an apartment building from the front, but just another office building. She had not been surprised at its decrepit sate when she was first shown the apartment in the building next door, nor was she particularly afraid of the young men who occasionally wandered out to fix their rusty cars.

She was cautious, silent, hoping that their stares were more of caution than of interest. Two years were gone, and yet no act of revenge, no smell of sulfur, no evidence of a hex. Yet.

For the last three years she was living with her head ready to turn at a second’s notice to look back, to the side, looking for the change in temperature, the spirit that she knew to be lurking somewhere, for the face of the man who drove the energy towards her, who she knew to be motivated only for one purpose: to drive her up to and beyond the limits of her sanity.

She looked around the parking lot to see if the red 1987 Subaru station was still sitting in the parking lot before unlocking her car and settling into her driver’s seat. Looking in the rearview mirror, she saw herself and grimaced at her already melting hair in the evening humidity of late summer heat.

The moon already lurked in the shadowy sky, but it would be late in the night before the cool night air would give relief from the July sun. She softly touched her face, noticing how her coffee brown skin seemed to glow in the rays of moonlight. Seemingly pleased with herself, she started the engine of her gray 1988 Chevy Nova and sauntered out the parking lot. The adjacent parking lot was nearly empty, save for a stray taxi, and two police cars which were each occupied with white male officers. They seemed engrossed in deep conversation. The road seemed to carry the gray Chevy towards the stop sign.

She watched a thin woman entering the small gym the right of the intersection, and felt a slight sensation of guilt. As in response, the thin woman flipped her hair and turned to look her. The gray car zoomed across the intersection and up the hill, rushing pass the overhanging trees and looming Victorian houses, threading through the narrow streets and parked cars. She kept her eyes on oncoming cars at several intersections, expecting some fool to ignore the stop signs she crossed, as if an accident was tomorrow’s promise. When she reached the Route 6 highway she began to relax, settling into the monotony of highways connecting to highways, connecting and collecting cities.

Her eyes never the left the road, but her mind swayed back and forth from the road to her apartment in Willimantic, to the bedroom where she knew her lover was waiting, her moment to raise energy she needed to do battle, to focus on the inner shrine she built in her belly, the womb where she wished to fill with more than sperm. All of this she would try to spill forth to her spirit guide in Glastonbury in an elaborate ritual that could help cast out for the good of many the enemy now pursuing her destruction.

“Will he cure you?” asked her lover, as they later lay entwined, their love juices still pouring from their bodies. “No,” she answered, “but he will help me break down the walls that protect him and allow him to continue to work against me unchallenged.”

And so soon she shot off onto I-384 to Glastonbury in her tony car, where her elf-like spirit guide sat waiting for her arrival.

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residuals #30days #30days2018 by Cherie Ann Turpin

Maybe the imminent and overwhelming arrival of the lunar eclipse accorded some responsibility into Kathy’s bitter mood following the breakup of yet another short term lovership. She knew how to explain herself, her position, her sense of self, easily, as a writer, when she spoke before her students in the four classes she taught at the local community college. There were no subjects too taboo to discuss with her audience, who usually sat mesmerized or at least shocked, such as when she “performed” as resident poet at The Atomic Cafe, a run-down coffee joint run almost entirely from donations from locals, students, and permanent exiles from the savagery of city life and suburban jungles.

Burlington, Vermont was a haven for those young enough to transform isolation from New England cynicism into active and optimistic socio-political coalitions determined to see permanent social change; for those too embittered to still believe in or hope for much of anything other than a swift, peaceful death, Burlington served as a sort of thin shield, like fish scales, from the hostilities to which no place in America could be immune.

Kathy could not cut, however, through the thick partition that separated herself from her desires, the wall of silence that froze her tongue when she touched her last lover, who broke off with her in apparent bewilderment at her seeming lack of interest in him, his attempts at conversation, and most disturbing, his sexual needs. Kathy, as if intuitively, felt him withdraw from her presence, and silently wished him quickly gone, but not for the reasons he assumed. When she stood amid the studded and pierced women and men she noticed on the left covered with photos of poets who, like her, began and ended their careers standing and reciting in front of audiences like this one. She also noticed a vaguely familiar face staring at her.

At this sight, she suppressed an impulse to bolt from the room. Instead, she closed her eyes, and after a few uncomfortable moments of silence, began reciting from memory the first stanza from her latest poem. When Kathy’s mind began to generate the energy she needed to recite her poem, she began to forget that her body was actually standing in a grimy, worn storefront that was already filled with other writers eager to draw from the sexual energy emanating from the short, buxom woman with short brown dreads. Her low, gravely voice trembled as she, eyes closed, softly swaying, spoke to complete strangers her most intimate poetry.

When Kathy opened her eyes the first thing she saw was a tall man with a smooth complexion made even more apparent with his black turtleneck and slacks, his long dreds pulled back and somewhat controlled into a single plait. She saw his full lips slight curl with amusement, his brown eyes focused on her own large, black eyes with a curious but intent stare. For a moment she thought he was laughing at her. Then, as the audience began to field her with questions and suggestions, she lost focus on the tall dark stranger in the back of the room and continued her discussion.

Later, during the communal vegetarian dinner feast, Kathy saw him again, grazing on a steaming pile of black beans over brown rice. She waited until he swallowed whatever he was chewing, then sauntered over to his chair near one of the gray, frosted panes of the storefront. The combined effects of the dimmed lights and the dark shadows cast by the rich, black panels and jagged masonry covering the walls, floor, and ceiling left an impression on Kathy that she was walking through a cave, or perhaps, a dungeon.

The man’s eyes narrowed briefly, then widened again with that same irreverent humor that had earlier unnerved her. She noticed the crinkles framing his eyes, nose, and mouth, how his age seemed both ancient and young at once. He was older than she last remembered, but not by much. She turned on her heel and walked over to a small but familiar group of locals who greeted her warmly. When she turned her head back towards the chair, he was gone. She felt both sad and triumphant, wondering what on Goddess’s green earth was he doing in Vermont, of all places? The man reappeared suddenly, and sat back into the yellow chair, reclining comfortably. No one seemed to notice but Kathy, who walked over and whispered to him.

“How the hell did y-y-”

“How did I learn to teleport? Come on, Kathy. Is that all you have to say to me? Don’t you even want to ask me WHY am I here? How long?” He folded his hands together to emphasize the lack of physical weapons, metal or otherwise. He seemed genuinely puzzled at her stance towards his very presence, if not hurt.

“You seem to have a short memory, Jacque,” replied Kathy, her voice slowly rising. It seemed to come from a deep, bitter well. “As I recall, ten years ago you trashed our apartment and tried to destroy my manuscript because you thought I was writing about another lover? You were determined to break me, to destroy me if necessary, to own me. You knew I was a novice, yet you pushed me to the edge, again and again–”

“–And so you settled for quiet Vermont, only now you pine away for the unobtainable, and suck the energy dry out of these poor, dumb hicks who couldn’t tell a butt plug from a pacifier.”

“How did you find me? And what DO you want?” Might as well get to the point. Kathy wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer to the last question. Jacque’s face crinkled at last with a genuine smile, pleased at her seemingly more relaxed stance. His brown eyes glittered like a wolf eyeing a doe’s soft underbelly. She noticed, for the first time, that white strands were beginning to salt down the his long black dredlocks. She also noticed that he had released them from the band that pulled his hair back earlier in the evening.

“I was wrong to allow my jealousy to surface so easily, and I was wrong to make you feel unsafe in any way. I had forgotten how easy it was to cross the line magickally—and the alcohol didn’t help. Anyway, enough bullshit, you want to know why I am here. I want to invite you to join the project out in Seattle, to sharpen your craft, so to speak, on the cutting edge of magic as performance art–”

“And you don’t have access to people who can do that out there? Why me?” quipped Kathy, noticing but not caring that when she interrupted Jacque, his eyes glittered with not a little irritation.

“–and I want us to start the circle over again–”

“As what? Master and servant? Husband and helpmate? Adam and Eve? Eden is lost to us both, love, and I don’t intend to search for it. I told you, I don’t want any part of that anymore.”
Jacque was visibly struggling to remain focused. Kathy wondered if all of him was really in Vermont. She wondered if he was still in Seattle, but silently decided not to ask. He looked tired, suddenly, as he looked up at her and spoke.

“Look, I didn’t come to bury the hatchet in your head. I want it to be better. I want to be your lover, your companion. I want us to back to high ritual again.” As he spoke, a sadness washed over Kathy as she watched him plead his case. The irony of his words being the very thing she dreaded and craved grieved her.

It was a cruel, cruel joke played on her by the divine, she thought bitterly. She wanted to believe him, to give herself to his looming, roaring energy. But he did not convince her of his change from the raging, jealous sadist who could never be satisfied to the apparition now sitting in front of her. Still, she admired his gall in the wake of the destruction he waged in her life.

She was so immersed in her thoughts that she had not noticed that Jacque was no longer speaking. She had no adequate response that would convey the confusion, the anger, the desire in her heart. So she sat in silence, watching the snow gather in the dusty windowsill outside. A car pulled into the driveway across the street, and two men, both dressed in ski jackets and earmuffs ran towards the side entrance of the dark wooden storefront, leaving their breath in the wake. When the car drove away, Jacque focused on her face, and studied her eyes for a moment.

“I apologize for my intrusiveness in your life. I will move on,” he said slowly. Kathy watched him as he began to shimmer.

“I didn’t say no to everything, Jacque.”

“And, so now, what am I to take as your answer?” choked Jacque. “Do you know how hard this was, traveling across the country, knowing what an ass I was to you, to beg you back into my life? I saw your book, Winter Garden, in a store downtown about six months ago. Was it all pain to you, Kathy? Was I merely an experiment for you? Or do you remember how I held you?“

“I have a life here, cold and lonely it has been for a long time now. But it’s the one I know that works for me, “ Kathy whispered fiercely. She stood completely still, breathing evenly.

“I know you, Jacque, and you know me. So we don’t have to pretend with each other. You know what I want.”

He blinked twice and for the first time, seemed genuinely confused. Kathy leaned down towards his face and smiled grimly. “You took so much energy from me that last time. You owe me, big time. You can start by teaching me how to teleport to Seattle right now. Then we can talk.”

pexels-photo-1064570.jpeg

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almost halfway, readers! #30days #30days2018

yuDHtz2I_400x400

Hope you are enjoying my May writing rush–I know I am. Some of these works actually sat for almost two decades before I brushed off the dust and reworked them to reflect my growth as a writer. I had a poet once tell me to write poetry and put it away for a few years before returning to it. I resented the advice at the time, but I think Marilyn Nelson was correct all along. Some of these works are brand new, but I’ll keep it to myself what’s new and what’s old. It’s all new, given the work I’ve done to all of the fiction and poetry. And if you are wondering if I’m going to put together a collection, the answer is yes. Not sure how to work the flash fiction in, but I’m open to trying new things. Not sure about the essays, but I’m open to suggestions. I think it’s long overdue for another book publication on my terms.

In any case, look for more work to show up between the 15th and the end of the month, with an intent to keep going long after the #30day rush. Please leave comments and, of course, leave a tip in my PayPal link.

Cherie Ann aka Afrofuturism Scholar