The East Bay Express

starry sky

Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

The fourteen-year old boy shared a small room with his older brother. In the room, there were two windows about four feet apart on separate walls.  The windows were totally bare except for pages of the East Bay Express that were taped across them. The carpet was old and brown. Yellow paint peeled away from the cracked ceiling. On nights such as this one when his older brother came home, the fourteen year would open his eyes as soon as his brother stepped in the room but he would still play sleep. He would put the cover over his head and fake snore as he heard the lamp being turned on. The gold chains being placed on the dresser, followed by the gold rings, the roll of money, and finally the grill. Then he would hear the lamplight turnoff.

Silence. Darkness. He was slowly dozing back to sleep.

“You been jacking off little nigga?”

Giggles! Then muffled laughter almost to the point of hysteria.

“Shhhhh. You gone wake up Mama and the girls,” the older brother said alluding to his mother and two younger sisters in the other room.

“Nah, I don’t be doing that.”

“Stop lying dammit. It’s hella hot in this room. You was probably jacking yo little dick before I came in here. Thinking about um. Um, what’s the girl name? LaTriece?…”

“I don’t know who you talking bout.”

“Oh you know who I’m talking about. The little dark skinned girl with the dimples.”

“LaShelle?”

“Yes dammit, LaShalle.”

They whispered to one another as if they were in a very dark library, knowing that their mother was more than likely awake and if she was awake then she could definitely hear them through the walls.  But they kept on. The fourteen-year-old totally up now and smiling with every word he spoke.

“LaShelle don’t even go there no more. She moved to Antioch.”

“That don’t mean you can’t jack off to those memories.”

Muffled laughter into the pillow.

“You probably jack off with your left hand too huh? Just to switch it up huh?”

The fourteen-year-old couldn’t help it. He laughed out loud until he gagged. Just then their mother knocked on the door four times in rapid succession.

“GO TO SLEEP!” She said from the hallway.

“Sorry,” the fourteen-year-old said.

The older child said nothing.

They continued to whisper. The fourteen-year-old now fully into his story about N’yesha the new girl in school who sat on his lap at lunchtime and she didn’t even know him and she has a boyfriend. He propped himself up on his elbow and relayed the story as if it were the most salacious scandal the world had ever seen. It must have been because she found out he was on the basketball team, he reasoned. Of course that meant he had to tell his brother all about practice because the two of them were only in the same room together about once every three days so he had to cram everything in.  As soon as the fourteen-year-old began to tell his bro about the fight he almost had with Dwayne over a hard foul, the older brother said:

 

“Alright dude, you got class in the morning. Go to sleep.”

Thirty seconds later he was snoring leaving his little brother wide awake and in awe. It was crazy because in an ideal world the older brother would have class in the morning too. He would be a senior preparing to graduate and go off to college. He would obey curfew and have a job at Jamba Juice or Round Tables Pizza or something like that. But their world was absolutely not ideal. Their world was real and for at least one of them being a square was not an option. The fourteen-year-old’s eyes had now totally adjusted to the darkness and he would not be able to go back to sleep before his alarm clock went off. All he could do was listen to the rhythm of his big brother’s snoring, until the sun rays lit up the pages of the East Bay Express that were taped to the window.

-Roger Porter

Advertisements

Love Language

8641BB3C-5AA5-41E0-A69E-F8316433038F.jpeg

He had been going to group ever since he got out of the hole, however, he only participated in the conversation minimally. He said his name. He checked in. He briefly smiled when something was funny and that was the extent of his interactions. But what was being discussed in this session really struck him. The topic made him push his shoulder blades back hard against his chair. This talk about love languages was bizarre to him. It was both engaging and very hoakey at the same time. To have a whole conversation about humans show love was hilarious. He didn’t laugh though. He tried to never laugh out loud in the penitentiary. He felt like it was a liability. So he just smiled for a minute while he threw the concept of “Love Language” around in his head. Dr. Joanne was laying all of the languages out but none of them really resonated with him. She talked about physical touch and that one kind of made sense but it was still off in a sense.

 

There were eight other convicts there—four Mexicans, three blacks and a Cambodian. He was the only white guy. Presently people were being asked by Dr. Joanne to share their love language and he started to panic a little bit. He felt like whatever his was it hadn’t been discussed yet. There was a black inmate who was right before him and started going on and on about Quality Time. And how the essence of love is the time you spend with people because your voluntarily giving pieces of your life to someone. Then he started talking about how time is the most precious thing that we have and the white man knows that, which is why when you get in trouble he takes away your time and throws you in prison. The blacks said “Hmmmm” in approval and nodded their heads. It was all cool. It just gave him more time to think. By the time it was his turn he was ready.

 

“Violence,” he said. “My love language is violence.”

 

Dr. Joanne looked down her nose at him so he went on.

 

“I don’t mean like in a super tough guy kind of way. I just mean that everyone that has ever loved me has either kicked my ass or tried too. When my father was in between jobs he used to punch us in the face for not ironing our clothes, or talking back, or playing in the house or sleeping too long. Whatever we did was a problem you know. When he did have a job he would beat us for being ungrateful or wearing our shoes out too fast. Then when he didn’t come home my mother would beat us because she was worried or lonely or because she didn’t want us to be like him when we grew up. I got a little older and got bullied at school. One day I couldn’t take it anymore so I chased the bully home with a knife. When he finally came back to school, he wanted to be my best friend. It’s like until I pulled that blade on him I wasn’t a fucking human being you know. Sorry about the language Doctor. So after that he became my closest friend.

 

So a few years ago I got a woman. And uh, you know she’s pretty and all that. Things are going good. Then one day she gets on my case for drinking. Like she’s really screaming and crying and just going all out. And uh, I punch her. She falls. I panic and I go back to the bar to finish drinking. And that’s where they arrested me.

My point is, I loved her. It’s weird. I still love her. I just uh, I don’t know. Obviously, her love language is different than mine and uh, I need to spend some time learning a different language because I have 18 months left on my sentence and when I get out I’m never coming back to this fucking place again. Excuse my language.”

He smiled briefly.

“Thank you Chris,” Dr. Joanne said. “We’ll talk more about it next Wednesday. This concludes our group session guys. Thank you all. I really appreciated hearing your voices.”

-Roger Porter

And the lord sayeth

*Fiction

 

45ED8E1B-F202-492D-B1C9-91C9459DE499We kissed first. Then we talked about god later. I inquired more about her soul than her sex drive and thusly I became too much for her. She wanted to get back in bed and I wanted her to tell me about scripture. Explain to me how it is that God calmed down so much in the New Testament. Is it because he had a child? Do you think that made him compassionate? Without answering any of my questions, she sauntered back to my mattress which lay atop an old box spring on the floor. I hadn’t yet put my bed together because I had just moved into my apartment and I hate putting things together. I lack the patience and dedication. Which is why I think that all Ikea furniture stores should be burned down to the ground Old Testament style. She got to the edge of the mattress and crawled across it ever so slowly and it made me feel like Quavo in the “Working Me” video or like Richard Gere in “Pretty Woman”, but I wanted to feel like Jesus in the book of Matthew. This was not written.

 

She kissed me on my neck and then starred right at my waistline before asking “What you want me to do?” I said nothing and my silence was more truthful than any words I could have uttered out loud. I honestly didn’t want her to do anything. I just wanted to hear more about her summer in Jerusalem and her experience working on a doctorate in ministry at Azusa Pacific University before she dropped out of the program. Then I wanted to know why she dropped out, and what did her parents say, and how bad are your student loans, and would you ever be willing to start a megachurch in order to pay them off? Before I could put more questions together she started to suck my dick so sloppily and with such vehemence that it legitimately frightened me. It didn’t scare me because we were having unprotected sex or because I figured that the technique that she was using had to have taken hundreds of hours of practice on dozens and dozens of dicks to master, but it scared me because I knew that God was watching. I saw him when I closed my eyes. And just like he spoke to the Holy Prophet Isaiah he spoke unto me. The Lord sayeth “Do not cum my son.” And I obeyed.

 

I wanted to talk but she didn’t. She felt rebuffed while I felt totally objectified. In fact, if we were anywhere but at my own place I would have left. I didn’t want to ask her to leave because I don’t think Jesus would have done that. He would have just laid there and refused all fellatio while making her put her soft brown titties back in a bra where they belonged. The conversation grew clumsier until she eventually played her favorite Spotify playlist on her iphone and fell asleep. Another thing that we didn’t talk about in the month that we had known one another was that she obviously had sleep apnea because she snored like a fucking grizzly.

 

What was the Lord trying to tell me? Why had he sent this woman of uneven faith into my life? And even though I had gone against his rules prohibiting premarital sex, his willingness to give me the strength not to cum inside of her ravenous maw, proved once again just how awesome of a god he is. For even in my most carnal moments the lord hath never forsaken me. I got down on my knees and began praying with my elbows on the mattress and both of my hands clasped together in the front of my nose. I prayed for continued strength and thanked him for his guidance. I took an extra blanket from the linen closet and slept humbly and comfortably on the living room floor. That night I vowed to fight harder to live up to his glory. I promised that the next mouth that I came in would be the mouth of my wife under the holy covenant of God.

 

It’s far too late

 

0CE6CB48-280B-43FF-96DB-83844D3F095CWhen one’s beautiful memories begin to drip with the blood of potential, and when one’s future is frightening and full of the torment that only unknown things can bring. And when these two inevitabilities, one’s past and one’s future, begin to collapse on a body unexpectedly; one throws his hands up hoping that he isn’t hit with something heavy enough to take him out. But one does not have faith because he has never learned faith. One does not have hope because he has never been taught hope. All one seems to have is his primitive instinct that enables him to try to save himself. He smiles through the suffering and checks in on other people all while he himself is being buried alive.

 

How do we master the art of fronting at such a young age when so few of us ever truly learn to love? We rarely learn how to give ourselves the attention that we require to grow. We don’t know how to appreciate what’s real yet we know how to be fake. And isn’t it a shame that so many of us die feeling unloved? So many of us are never taught how to be loved. We never learn how to be vulnerable enough to allow someone to carry us at least a part of the way.

 

This is the brief story of the long tragic demise of a man. An individual with a haunted past and a horrible future. This individual is currently being buried alive in pieces of the same structure that once protected him. His whole body is immersed in everything that he tried so hard to avoid. This individual is now totally out of options having realized that his death isn’t really his fault but he is the only one who is seconds away from dying—as far as he can see. He now begins to pray, but it’s too late. It’s far too late.

-Roger Porter

The First Time

 

black-couple-happy-in-bed-s-300x180The first time she feels comfortable enough to poot in your presence and you realize how difficult it must have been for her to suppress her humanity for all of those months. And then she looks at you with surprise but no hint of shame and the both of you begin to laugh hysterically. For you realize that she can never unbreak that wind and she will never again attempt to live up to society’s impossible expectations of what a woman should and should not do while being courted. From this moment forward you will regard her not merely as a love interest but as a human-being. As your potna. As your homie. You lean over and kiss her softly on her giggling cheek then breath in hard through your nose and you are almost overwhelmed because you know that if real love had a smell then this would undoubtedly be it.

A Bad One

photo__19_-e1345666437445

 

When she finally came, she squirted so hard that it scared her. She squirted right on her boyfriend’s stomach as if she were the dude or something. And then she laughed. She actually laughed out loud while she straddled him. He tried to flip her on her back but she got up and went to the bathroom. Then she played with herself while she starred in the mirror wondering if she could do it again. She did. Not as hard as the first time but she managed to do it nonetheless. She was so focused. Just like those people that move things with their minds. She had harnessed all of her desire and all of her sexual fluids into one tiny spot and released it.

 

It was only about a week ago that she had seen Jadafire do it on a pornhub video that she watched while her boyfriend was in the shower for way too long. It amazed her so much she just had to try it out for herself and she got it. She flexed in the mirror. She felt bad, like a bad bitch, The Baddest Bitch, although she didn’t like to use that word. She had never been anything close to a hoe but she knew that she could be one if she wanted to and that gave her one more thing to feel confident about. Like car note paid off; check. Master’s Degree; check. House; check. Passport; check. Pussy control; check. She was everything and she loved it. She knew her worth and therefore she would never let anyone make her feel less than perfect. She blew herself a kiss in the mirror that she selected in the bathroom that she designed which sat in the house that she bought. She was The Baddest one alive and she knew it.

 

-YB

An Honest Woman

       

       He was the most promising thing that had ever happened to her nonexistent love life. He was marriage material, and it frightened her to think like that because she had never known anyone that had ever gotten married. Certainly not her mother who had her, and her sister by a former standout high school football player who eventually turned to cocaine and crystal-meth. Not her older sister who had gotten herself pregnant by a local hoodlum and want to be playboy who, when drunk, would send her pictures of his dick on snapchat. Not herself, she had never been proposed to by the boy who had impregnated her shortly after her 20th birthday and she had never wanted him to. He was an aspiring rapper who ate with his mouth open and didn’t believe in keeping a job. He had shown an intense interest in her when he met her at the bus stop. She remembered thinking that he was kind of funny looking and had a very thin long face like a camel. She wasn’t attracted to him but she loved the way he wanted her, the smile that he had given her, the crass words about the shape of her hips came out sounding rather sweet. She was even charmed by the way he had to keep pulling his pants up because he had forgotten his belt and his skinny jeans were a few sizes too big. She gave him her number. He called, they fucked a few times, she got pregnant, she told him, he never called again, he blocked her on Facebook, deactivated his Instagram and disappeared. She didn’t really care. Honestly she didn’t. He wouldn’t have made much of a father anyway. Besides she would rather raise her child by herself with no interference.

            But now she met this promising brotha at a church function. He was with his family but his soul still wandered. He stood in the pulpit briefly to tell the congregation about the boy’s camp that he had started and how he needed their help. “Give me your boys” he orated “and I will do everything in my power to make men of them.” She thought this was very corny but she was still intrigued. Her son was far too young to attend the camp but she still got his business card after the service anyway. She emailed him the next day, and when he didn’t respond to her satisfaction she called him at his job and left a message with his secretary. The whole time she thought about his cream colored suit and matching tie. She ultimately became impressed by the dramatic nature in which he spoke and his extensive knowledge of scripture, not to mention his youth. He had to be the youngest settled man she had ever seen. She envied his wife and his daughter. She wanted him for her bedroom and she wanted him for her son. She didn’t feel like she was worthy of all of him just yet but she felt like she deserved a little piece. He should be able to spare that. So she continued to call him at his job, and she visited his home church, she helped out at the fundraiser for his camp, and she emailed him inspirational quotes.

            Finally he began to open up about everything that his marriage was not, and she listened. She began to talk about her son, and he listened. She began to laugh hardily at all of his jokes. Even the ones that weren’t funny—especially the ones that weren’t funny. She called him sexy and said, “If your wife ever slips up then you know who to call.” He ended that conversation abruptly. So abruptly that she just knew that she had lost him and she cursed herself for it. But the next day he called back from his job and after several minutes of small talk he asked in a nervous, secretive tone if she wanted to come and see him every now and then. She said ok. He then gave her a location to meet him and she told him that she was looking forward to it.

            She felt extremely accomplished when he finally reciprocated her lust. She never felt bad at all. She felt contented in knowing that she could have a piece of something great. She felt like his touch would raise her above the predetermined fate of all of her foremothers. That if he left work to be with her for an hour then that would elevate her consciousness. And that after enough hours he would come home to her and teach her little guy how to tie a tie, go fishing, and catch a football while she cooked dinner and ironed his clothes. With this young ambitious man she would be able to press the reset button on her womanhood. She had gotten his attention. She earned her hour and now she would submit to him and he would be hers for as long as it took for him to be hers.

-YB