The highly talented Charlotte Cuevas has been writing a poem a day, every day, for the past year, and you could do far worse than to read her delightful musings. She is also on the cusp of publishing a “greatest hits” of sorts of her work, which is very exciting! Here, in this piece, her second to last of her “365 Poetry Project,” she becomes a meta-poet, waxing rhapsodic in “funky” poetic voice about the art of poetry, and indeed all writing, itself. Because “people ain’t zombies, they don’t want y’brain, but they do wanna walk in y’shoes, and if you do ’em right with y’funky-fresh heart, they they’ll do right by you.” Here’s to hoping Charlotte is right — I think she is — and letting the reader walk in our funky shoes!
Monthly Archives: September 2014
The Writer at Work
Partners and Crime (part 2)
I kneeled there on Travers’ back, leaning in close to his ear, listening to him breathe, for perhaps longer than was absolutely necessary. My knee wasn’t digging into him that much, on account of the vest under his uniform shirt; it was my grip on his cuffed wrists that really held him down. I noticed a bead of sweat rolling across his temple and sliding down his brow to the roughly carpeted floor beneath his face. No doubt he was getting a little hot under that vest; I was feeling warm myself. Bullet-resistant vests aren’t exactly known for cool and breezy wearing.
All the fight seemed to have gone out of him, which didn’t fit his normal pattern, but I accepted it and pulled back off of him. I stood up, pulling him up with me, keeping a close grip on his upper arm just like I would any perp in cuffs.
I had spent a lot of time with Travers. We had been partners for about six months, which meant for the past six months I had been in his company pretty much more than any other human being. Yet still, we had never stood this close before. Frankly, I had never found him very attractive, despite his definite good looks, because he had always been such an emotional turn-off.
Now, however, something was different. He didn’t look so cocky. In fact, he almost looked vulnerable, though that was probably the shock of having been taken down so unsuspecting. Regardless, it was appealing in an odd sort of way. Perhaps it was the cuffs. Anyone looks vulnerable with their hands cuffed behind their back.
I had made my point. It was time to take off the cuffs and figure out a way to undo the awkwardness. It was time to step away, but I found I didn’t want to, not just yet. I stood by his shoulder, hand on his arm, looking up due to his taller height, and just absorbed the sense of power I felt, having this man, this police officer, my partner, under my control. As long as the cuffs were still on, he was helpless and dependent upon me, and I just soaked that up.
His nostrils widened, his breathing grew deeper and quicker, and still a bead of sweat rolled off his brow. He looked me in the eye, then cast his eyes downward, and in that moment we both knew who would be the alpha in this arrangement from now on. I didn’t want this moment to end, it was so heady.
Just then I heard voices from the hallway outside approaching. Female voices. Apparently I was wrong about who was on shift that afternoon, because in about five seconds Waters and Clark were going to come through the door and find us here, and I wasn’t sure just how I would explain not only why a male officer was in the women’s locker room, but also why he was in cuffs. Travers had heard them too, his head jerking up, turning to face the door.
I didn’t waste time thinking about it. I tugged his arm roughly, causing him to instinctively follow, and pulled him into the showers. Not a moment too soon, either, as Waters and Clark entered the locker room, still chatting about their shift.
“Did you see the look on that goon’s face when I pulled the cuffs? All macho, hey I’m the big guy, and bam! Totally deflated, meek as a puppy.”
Sounded like Waters made a collar today. Good for her!
“Yeah, they’re all spit and bluster until they realize it’s going down, then suddenly shit gets serious and they’re not so tough anymore.”
Clearly they were still on their post-arrest high. I grinned at macho Travers, all meek in my cuffs now. He started to get that look on his face, and I just put a finger to his lips. His eyes snapped right back to mine, his breathing still heavy, but he kept quiet. Once again I saw it — resignation, acceptance, vulnerability — and a surge of… something… washed through me. I felt that old tingle, low in my belly, one I hadn’t felt for a while, and my vest began to feel too tight. Oh hell no, no, but damned if I wasn’t getting aroused.
This was bad news. Travers was my partner. I didn’t even like the man.
I stood there a moment, my finger still to his lips, and he didn’t pull away. He just kept his gaze on mine, a hint of a question, uncertainty, in his eyes, and perhaps a touch of heat, but none of his usual bluster. This wasn’t his male posturing, flirting with the girls. All of that seemed to have dropped away, and what remained was… was that desire I saw in his face? Could he really be turned on by this, being told what to do by me?
Too much introspection, Eileen. I slid my finger down his lips, traced his neck from chin to collarbone, then gripped the material of his uniform shirt and pulled his face down closer to mine. I kissed him, hard, on his lips, unrelenting, claiming. Again I saw surprise, but he didn’t resist. I watched his eyes, gauging his reaction, trying to understand his headspace, but I really didn’t even understand my own. I just enjoyed the kiss, took what I needed from it. His lips parted slightly, opening himself to me, and I tasted mint, and a hint of spice, and I wanted more. That was probably his Pad Thai lunch and a candy from the bowl by the cash register, but it didn’t matter, I drank him in.
Dimly I could still hear Waters and Clark just outside. A locker door clanged, and a part of me wondered if they would feel the need to shower. Just go home, shower at home, I thought, and then I realized I was even more aroused. No, this couldn’t happen! If they came in here right now, both our careers would be jeopardized. But the thrill…
With a gasping breath I broke off the kiss, but I didn’t step away. God, how I hated these vests just now! Travers looked momentarily lost, and I realized just how into that kiss he had been. I searched his eyes, with an ear to what was happening just beyond the door, and then I gripped his arm again and pulled him into a shower stall, closing the door. He didn’t resist at all.
And he was still wearing my cuffs.
<to be continued>Embed from Getty Images
Is blue the warmest color,
Or just the coolest flame?
Expression of emotion,
Or well-known writer‘s name?
Red shift stars race away
Recede to darkest night,
While that cooler, deeper hue
Shifts approaching light.
Azure sky deceives,
Rays scattered by the air;
Indigo we should see,
But not for our eyes fair.
Cobalt lies the sea,
Emerald each heaving wave,
But when grey the fiercest storm,
There’s nary a hue to save.
Green eyes we do love,
And grey the keenest sight,
Warm are those in brown,
While blue is our delight.
Why are you blue?
He asked her on that day.
Well, I’m not with you,
She replied and looked away.
Or perhaps I’m just born that way.
<In response to a challenge from Naima>Embed from Getty Images
Attention! Beta Readers Needed!
I would love to do this, but am just too all-consumed at the moment to give this project the attention it should have. So, maybe one or more of you, my lovely readers, would like to beta-read a dystopian science fiction anthology?
The Dystopian Nation of City-State
Hello! I hope you all are having a great day!
My writing partner, James, and I are seeking beta readers for our dystopian anthology. We conducted one beta read back in March, and we have been reediting and revamping it. The anthology will be ready for this second beta read around the middle of September. If you are busy, I can send it in late September.
James and I have created a futuristic world called City-State where the government has total control of its people. However, there are rebels who wish to save City-State from its current political evils.
If you are interested, James and I would like for you to read for content, clarity, coherence, and interest. We want our readers to clearly see the story project as a movie in their minds, and we want readers to emotionally connect with the characters. No grammar editing is needed.
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I wake early, without the alarm,
You still slumber between satin sheets.
I slip from the room,
Look out to a still-dark world,
City towers but a shadow;
A hint of light grows beyond.
Purple tones outline distant peaks,
Far pavilions of Kaye’s wonder,
Deep blues fading to star-specked black,
Cold, at peace, not yet disturbed.
The bay fluoresces, brighter than
The sky it reflects, yet darker still.
Captured, rooted to my window,
Helplessly gazing, heart expanding
With slow breaths to take it in.
Burnt orange spreads, a slender line
Whose limits cannot be discerned,
Yet whose end is within my sight.
No division, no visible change,
Yet colors shift before my eyes,
Sea and sky turning bright,
Though above all is dark.
Gulls call out, challenge the day;
I long to join them,
Their raucous company,
But I stay silent,
As you are silent,
Speaking not a word
Of any weight or meaning.
Helios awaits, the day arrives,
Peaks and towers reveal their mystery.
I am greeted, as you never greet me,
By the umber dawn.
Um… Just This
Tess Mackenzie writes brilliant confessionals, which may or may not be true (she won’t really say), but are heaps of fun to read. This bit, however, is about having the bravery to write about something the author feels is a bit edgy (specifically, I think, the next post on her blog), which is interesting given just how edgy some of Tess’s writing can be. I love her stuff, and maybe you will, too.
So I’m weird and a freak but even at the risk of putting you all off completely, I just want to say this… any given story here that sounds like its true, and has a tag on it saying its true, and happens to be about me having sex with a girl, please don’t assume anything. Just please.
I know this doesn’t make sense, but it’s really really important to me that I say this and you see it before I say too much with stories like that.
Because this whole thing, all this writing, has been this whole awkward thing of starting getting comfortable with what I’m writing, then panicking and changing my mind about being comfortable. Which I am a bit now. About this. And also, this is also as honest as I’ve ever been about this to anyone, like to a group of strangers I mean, in…
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Partners and Crime (part 1)
“I got this,” I said, as Travers grabbed the perp’s other arm and started muscling him into the station house.
“You sure, McConnell? He’s kind of a big guy.”
I felt the familiar twinge of annoyance but suppressed it in the interests of professionalism. Why did Travers have to keep proving himself to me? Or was it to the others on the squad? Did he really think I couldn’t handle one tall but scrawny pimp in handcuffs whose probable idea of a workout was standing on the street corner watching his girls work the street?
“Yeah, I’m sure. Now go get the paperwork started, would you?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he responded with just a bit of a smirk and dropped his hold on the perp.
I really needed to do something about this attitude. It was bad enough to have my squad mates wonder if I was up to the job of the downtown beat, but I really didn’t need my partner undermining my authority in front of the street punks we dealt with daily. When that happens, someone usually gets hurt, and I can tell you straight up, it wouldn’t be me. If a perp won’t back down because he thinks a female officer can’t handle him or will be intimidated, then things escalate and get dangerous in a hurry, and then it’s up to me to control the situation with whatever means necessary. Yeah, it was time for a little talk with Travers.
I got the perp to the booking desk, where at least Travers had got things started, and before too long we were done and headed to the back of the station for the end of our shift. I knew there wouldn’t likely be any other female officers nearby at this time, so with a quick glance to be sure no one was paying attention, I took a firm grip on Travers’ arm and pulled him into the women’s locker room.
He’s not that small of a guy, and he’s a cop, like me, so this depended on speed and surprise to pull off. That’s one of the benefits of being a woman in a physically demanding job: we know the limits of our strength and use our brains more than our brawn to get things done. The men were always overestimating themselves and getting hurt, straining muscles or their backs. I knew I couldn’t manhandle Travers into the locker room if he dug his heels in, so I had to catch him with his guard down.
It actually went easier than I expected. His mouth opened in surprise and he didn’t resist at all. Then he got that cocky grin on his face, and it didn’t take a degree in criminal psychology to predict what was coming next.
“McConnell, and here I thought you were the Ice Queen, yet all this time you’ve been wanting a piece of a real man.”
Oh, please. Yeah, he was easy on the eyes, but if he really thought I’d fall just for a trim physique with strong muscles and good grooming, he was deluding himself. Though, I had to admit, he really did take good care of himself, and it showed, even if the bulky vests we wore hid most of it. It had been a while…
Snap out of it, Eileen! Task at hand, girl! I pushed those unwelcome thoughts back down where they belonged, and then I pushed Travers against the lockers with a metallic clang, slamming against him, bullet-proof vest to bullet-proof vest. For just a moment I saw shock in his eyes, and a hint of uncertainty, and it emboldened me.
“Listen up, Travers, and listen up good. If I want a real man, I’ll find one. I don’t need that crap here at the station or on the beat. What I do need from you is a little more respect. I’ve been on the force long enough to know my way around, and we’ve been partners long enough for you to know that I carry my own weight. I don’t need you or any other man here to do my job for me, do you understand?”
“Whoa, McConnell, lighten up, I was just being friendly. I thought…”
“Do you understand? It’s a simple question.”
“Hey, babe, why’d you drag me in here, then? If you wanna get rough…”
I’d had enough. Before he could get another word out, I had a leg behind his and levered him around and down to the ground, pulling his arm behind his back as I followed him with a knee against his back. Before he finished gasping out the breath knocked out of him, I had drawn my cuffs and snapped one to his wrist, then I grabbed his other wrist and that was that. He was down and cuffed on the floor. I pushed up on his forearms, forcing his elbows wide, and leaned down close to his ear.
“Don’t you ever ‘hey babe’ me again, Travers, is that clear?”
He was either in shock or winded, because he had a funny look on his face and he only nodded.
“I think it’s time you understood the way things are going to be from now on. I’m not your ‘woman partner,’ I’m not a little girl who needs your help, and I’m not your Ice Queen either. I’m an officer of the law, and a damn good one, and as long as you are working with me… I’m going to call the shots. Is that clear?”
I felt a trickle of perspiration sliding down my skin under the bulky vest, and I was breathing a little more heavily than I should have been for such a quick takedown. I felt something coming off Travers that I couldn’t quite define. Not shock, not anger, but something else. Acquiescence. He wasn’t fighting me. A sense of power surged through me, and for the first time I couldn’t quite believe that I had just done this, taken down and cuffed a fellow officer, my partner. I stayed like that, laying across his back with my lips close to his ear, longer than really necessary to get my message across.
“Is that clear?” I asked again in a low voice directly into his ear. He took a long, deep breath.
“Yes,” he whispered.
This was almost too easy. I should’ve done this a long time before. That quickly, the man had become putty in my hands.
And I liked it.
<to be continued>Embed from Getty Images