Monthly Archives: March 2016

‘Living Well Is The Best Revenge’ by Connor Thewis

Suppose it is as they say it is: That life is a continuum which stretches from the beginning of time and is endless, unceasing, running infinitely into forever. So what does that mean for us all on a daily basis? Does it mean we should waste what time we have remaining or should we cherish it as the most precious of commodities?

These thoughts were in my mind as she undressed before me, my latest conquest for the evening. I had given her just over $500 and she had told me that would buy me an hour with her. Again, time is ticking against me. I watched her shoulder-length brown hair cascade across her back and suddenly felt like perhaps my money had not been well spent. She was lovely, no doubt about that, but I found myself unable to focus, to give her my full attention. I urged her to use her mouth and hands to get me ready, and she did as I requested. Ten minutes later I was spent and she was dressing to leave. Before she did, she whispered, “You have my number. Call anytime.” But I know I won’t. It has to be new and different each time. It’s just how I expect things to be


Numbers are my thing, in case you give a damn to know. I usually tune out totally when people start to blather on about their line of work. How does this affect me? Why am I wasting a single minute on you? We all want to be heard, and want even more desperately to be understood and accepted, but longing for that kind of crap is wasteful. It leaves you empty and alone, makes you contemplate suicide.

So, I was saying about numbers: Senior financial analyst at Yahanna/Reiss/Felton. You should see my business card! Damn things cost nearly $5 each! I love my job. Or maybe I should say I love the money and prestige it brings me. I feel like I’m getting closer to ruling the financial world with each passing day, and I don’t even have to work that hard. Can’t believe they pay me as much as they do.


She waves at me from across the restaurant and I try to feel something, but that fourth martini has erased most emotion from my consciousness. That’s the way I prefer to feel, or not feel, as the case may be. Being open to feeling things like love, hope, a sense of optimism for what is yet to come is a huge waste of life. That kind of thing just gets in the way.

I check my watch and see that it’s nearly ten, so I call for the tab and leave. I catch a glimpse of the girl who waved at me a few minutes ago and for a moment a name comes to mind even from under the fog of the vodka and vermouth: Cassandra? Fuck, is that the right name? Maybe she was just flirting, or attempting to, but then again, what if she works in the office and I just publicly dissed her? I don’t have time or energy enough to worry myself with anymore selfish indulgences when it comes to public pleasantries, so I’m in the cab and headed out to see what else the evening holds.


Big mistake, I realize as I slide my hands along her back and hear her start to moan. It’s after one in the morning and I’m at some club where the lighting is so damn dark it’s all I can do to make out that she does indeed have dark hair. She’s softly whispering to me that she loves how my hands feel, but I’m light years away, thinking of a trade I made right before I left the office. I shorted a stock everyone else was banking on. I need to reach into my pocket and check my cell phone to see how the stock’s faring in the Asian markets. If I made the right choice, the firm stands to make millions and I could easily pocket nearly a quarter of a million myself. That is one hell of a nice bonus for a few minutes work.

So, yeah, probably a big mistake, but I take her hand and tell her I want her to come home with me. I’m about to ask her what her name is, but I’m afraid she’ll say something that ruins the mood.


Next morning I’m regretting like hell bringing her back to my place. She’s one of those annoying people who wants to talk and be chipper before even having a cup of coffee. She’s pretty much everything I despise in human beings: shallow, vapid, obsessed with her own banality. I half wish she would get hit by a car when she finally manages to leave and I call the office. I tell them I won’t be in because my sinuses are causing my nose to bleed. It’s as good an excuse as any.

I check the overnight figures from Asia and see that shorting that stock paid some major dividends. When I check my email, I have one from none other than Gary Felton, one of the partners. Great job, he tells me. Feel better soon.

I already do. I decide to go out for a while and maybe have a walk in the park before I hit the clubs later. I’ve earned a nice celebration.


Another boring night despite the fact that I’m out and in a room filled with people.  It’s all a huge waste, I realize as I stand at the bar and order a bourbon and Coke. Someone passes a thin joint down the bar. The bartender shakes his head and keeps mixing drinks. What does he care? They’re paying for the drinks and the tip jar looks like it’s filling up nicely. So you wanna get high and drink, too? Yeah, go ahead.

That’s when I notice her just a few feet away, sitting at the end of the bar, all alone, seemingly lost in her thoughts as she sips a Michelob Light. What would bring her to a place like this? Must be waiting for someone, I figure, turning away and watching as two girls in the corner begin kissing. Looks good. Might just have to go talk them up and see if they wanna come home me with me later. Been awhile since I had a good threesome.

But my focus is pulled back like a magnet to the Michelob Light girl. I start imagining her name in my mind: Holly? Annie? Damn, I hate trying to guess.

I take long sip from my drink and head her way, silently hoping she doesn’t see me coming and formulate some incredibly lame excuse line.

Turns out her name is Fallon, and her eyes are even more hypnotic up close. Can’t believe I’m actually falling for a woman just because of her eyes. When did that ever happen to me? Try never.

So, Fallon, what brings you here tonight? God that sounds so fucking pathetic! What bad movie did I cop that line from?

Fallon stands, takes one final swig of her beer, and tells me: Just wanted to see what everyone else was doing tonight. Take care.

I tell her to stay and talk at least. What can it hurt? But she’s seven steps towards the door and back out into the darkness.

Well, that was certainly odd. Guess she doesn’t care for talk.

I finish my bourbon and Coke, and then I almost walk to where the two girls are still kissing and touching. Instead I make for the door and call a cab.

Life is a continuum which stretches from the beginning of time and is endless, unceasing, running infinitely into forever. Jesus that sounds so fucking pretentious and trite. Means nothing. Never has and never will.

Damn I wish I’d at least gotten Fallon’s number. Time to head home and check the late figures from Asia. Then bed. Got an early day tomorrow and lots to do.

Copyright 2016 by Connor Thewis. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Hands Blood Red’ by Andrew Bradford

Shot as they were, they seemed to collapse under the weight of some extraordinary gravitational pull

Suppose he could be off in a fit of rage; he’s been known to fly off the handle

In the raw footage, it could be clearly seen that the men raised machetes and brought them down upon…

Perhaps this is some sick fantasy of yours, some wish fufillment you seem destined to make real

There is no religion more intractable than the Temple of Hate

Listening as they half-vocalize, half-whimper, until all is coldly silent

If there was only more time, more understanding, more of what the elders once called love

But now there is only the boot of insult, the tearing down of all that is truly divine

I have seen writing in dark dreams, omens of what is about to arrive

This time of year, this place among the infernal dross of disilusionment and deracination

The solutions will always seem far too pat, the questions far too complex

And so forth and so forth and so

Until all is conquered with rage, with agony, with the last vestiges of what once was

I call for the check–

I wish only to be carried home

Copyright 2016 by Andrew Bradford. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Natalie Cole’s Music And Life Give Testimony To Black Girl Magic’ by C. Imani Williams

The 58th Grammy Awards show didn’t do a good job of honoring Natalie Cole. I’m not the only one disappointed with the minuscule tribute offered up for the winner of nine Grammys and over four decades of musical magic. According to ABC News, her sister Timolin Cole shared with the Associated Press that the family was expecting much more.

The music of songstress Natalie Cole came into my life when I was 11 years old. Her release of Inseparable (1975) featured the title track by the same name and “This Will Be.” It was a must have. I wasn’t old enough to really appreciate how deep she was going with the lyrics, but it sounded like something I should look forward to.

When “This Will Be” was released, I was broke. A new (black owned) record store had opened on the corner and I wanted the 45 for my collection. I only needed a buck. I broke a cardinal sin in my household by asking for a dollar from adult company who was visiting my parents from out of town. Not only did I have to return money as soon as my mother found out, I had to take the record back as well.

My plan was to play the record over and over until I could recite the fast part by heart.
“Hugging and squeezing, and kissing and pleasing, Together forever throughever whatever, Yeah yeah yeah you and me. So long as I’m living true love I’ll be giving. To you I’ll be serving cause you’re so deserving!”
That verse was everything! I couldn’t really carry a tune, but I loved Natalie and gave it my best shot.

A couple of years later, Cole would bring down the house at the famed Masonic Temple in Detroit. The concert was on a Wednesday and ended after eleven o’clock. I knew the next day at school would be great since I had all the business on Natalie Cole’s performance. If only social media had been around in the late 70’s!

Natalie was like a cool auntie. Her songs touched on real life issues. Three decades after its release, Cole’s “Annie Mae” speaks to the epidemic of girls gone missing each year, many lost to human trafficking.

A string of hits, some fast and others slow, kept Cole in our hearts. Her battle with addiction was talked about and prayed over by fans. Cole stayed true to her recovery goals after she entered treatment in 1983. She remained clean for 30 year, beating odds against drug addiction—she came back to woo fans.

In 2000, Cole authorized a made-for-television movie about her life, Living For Love: The Natalie Cole Story. She didn’t hide in shame. Instead she reached deep into the waters of Black Girl Magic, not only sharing her story digitally, but also writing her autobiography: Angel On My Shoulders, and engaging in dialogue with the recovery community.

Cole’s talent and tenacity to do the self-work needed for healing is noble. Her story is an inspiration to others. Natalie Cole–the Diva will be greatly missed.

Copyright 2016 by C. Imani Williams. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.