“Critical”

Robin Chappell/12 December 2021

Awaken the parts of you that you fear most

The decayed.

The skeletons that make you most afraid

The mask we wear for others

It always fades

Eventually revealing an imperfection

The weak cannot handle it too many days

They’d rather feed on the lies

Better to hate than to honor

Silence feels better than to cry…

Latch on to the authenticity of warmth

Of love unconditioned with no expectation

Crystal clear words and blunt relations

It’s all the same

We just choose not to see it

Nor speak its name

But it’s there…

Lurking in the shadows waiting

Waiting each day for you to crack

Patronizingly anticipating…

The Back of My Mind

By Robin Chappell/10 December 2021

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I cleared it away with frustration

Every little kiss, every tingling sensation

Work and time makes the feelings pass by

-Temporarily.

There is rarely a day that I don’t think of you

-through rose colored lenses

As I tell myself I’m free with meditation and cleanses

Ridding you….detoxing you…clearing you away…

It’s OK…it’s all in the back of my mind like the truth

Memories are rendered into a smile across my face

Then suddenly they turn into a bitter distaste

I believe no time is considered a waste

Only lessons learned more intricately than lace

Time has passed and time is overdue

But it’s all in the back of my mind like the truth

What am I? And what are you?

Monsters living in the folds of our youth

I cringe when I see your name or your face

Then later feel guilty after I masturbate

Confusing as it is, I can’t seem to let it go

No matter how much pain it cost me or the secrets I know

Over and over again….each time I would let it be you

I store everything in the back of my mind like the God’s honest truth

“Allowing Your Purpose to Fuel Your Passion”

By Robin Chappell/26 October 2021

Photo by Polina Zimmerman on Pexels.com

Passion!

It is what creates the beauty in all that we create. Writing is something that is a gift for many authors, for others, it seems to be more of an anxiety building project that causes writer’s block and a case of hives. What makes it so much easier for certain authors and not so much for others? PURPOSE. To ask yourself the questions of “What am I writing for?” and “Whom am I writing for?” can build up the courage for any aspiring author to dive into a project. When it seems that you can’t find the strength, the words, or the time; and writing seems to be beating you into a self-loathing mess, it usually means something more important is missing. PURPOSE. It’s your passion and your reason for reaching goals and being more than you ever dreamed you could become. It creates room for your mind to imagine every possibility and possess the confidence for others not to be able to tell you what you cannot do.

When we find our true purpose, everything follows and just falls into place. I often begin each day with a positive blessing or realization, and it pushes me to go after even more. I’m never satisfied with only what I think I know, I am always reaching for knowledge within any place that it is presented. PURPOSE. It’s what pushed me into making my writing full time and the determination to help others on their journey. I never believed it would reach this point and to say I’m glad it did is saying the least. What I honestly have in the back of my mind most days is a considerable amount of fear. Like any human being I have asked myself about failure, no resources, not enough time, and not enough connections…then I remember who I AM. I reflect on how far that I have come and how many struggles my strength helped me to survive. PURPOSE.

I choose to believe that the PURPOSE of one’s past is the preparation for a solid future, and that future is NOW. Each day I give myself a task to complete that provides PURPOSE to my life and my projects. I have made a solemn vow to never give up on myself, never let anyone or anything discourage me, and never forget all that I am truly worth. Honestly, at one point I let certain outside energy and unnecessary thoughts deter me from what was important. MY PURPOSE. Allowing myself to be drained by things no longer serving me drove me away from that PURPOSE. I know understand the dream of building a legacy, and making my life amazing all because I believe I can. I know I can. I am the creator of everything that I Am.

PURPOSE. Let it fill your spirit today as you follow your passion and as you take that big leap. Allow it to lift your optimism towards possibility and rewards, and as you feel yourself becoming discouraged and giving up, stop and remind yourself that you have a fighter in you! You possess a warrior spirit that won’t quit and that same spirit is what will carry you though a life you can enjoy living!

Happy Writing! Subscribe and submit your poetry and manuscript to http://www.writeawaypublishing.com TODAY!

Write Away Publishing Company, LLC. is officially LAUNCHED! By Robin Chappell

20 October 2021

The only really painful thing about racism in publishing are the books that are not around”

Tracy Sherrod, Editorial Director, Amistad

I believe that for the first time in my life…I am at a loss for words. The work and dedication that has gone into starting my own publishing company, Write Away Publishing, LLC. is finally complete and I can exhale. When I thought of this company and what I wanted it to represent, I realized that I’d never heard about Black owned publishing companies. Of course, they exist, but where is the presence? Where do we start when it truly comes to promoting Black literature? I’m not speaking about the celebrities with the ability to easily sell and promote their life stories, or the stories told only because they received negative media and news attention. I’m referring to the stories of strength and determination, and the stories told in communities that never seem to make it to the light. As a writer and passionate lover of literature and reading, I feel it is my purpose to bring attention to the stories we truly need to hear. The real, the gritty, and even the uncomfortable can be vessels of healing and a way for others to receive the help and motivation they need.

It is always honorable for well-known Black authors, like former first lady Michelle Obama, to sell millions of copies on account of status and opportunity. Yet, when seeking Black literature that can be traced back to someone who’s experienced what we have all journeyed through, they are minimally promoted to the masses. If they are well-known, they are pushed by publishing companies with White American owners, who make them sell by the millions with their “stamp of approval. Tracy Sherrod, the amazing Black editorial director of Amistad states that “The only really painful thing about racism in publishing are the books that are not around” (McDonald, 2021). The stories we are not reading are the extremely important ones that need to see light and need just as much attention.

Write Away Publishing Company, LLC. is striving to achieve what is normally the inevitable in Black literary publishing, which is more success, marketing, and bigger literary deals to help change lives and open doors for other Black writers. I was hearing the same sentence each time I told someone that I’m a writer and published my own work. It was either “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I don’t know where to start.” Or “I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I never have the time.” I’m ready to let Black authors feel invincible, worthy, and important when they finally complete their manuscripts. I plan to participate and find funding through every network available and tackle each opportunity to spread the word on how important the promotion of Black literature can truly be.

Visit our website for more information to submit your manuscript for review up until January 1, 2022. There is also submissions for our poetry writers for the chance to win $300, in addition to a publishing contract for your work to be published! Spread the word and take a step towards advocating for Black literature!

http://www.writeawaypublishing.com

Author/CEO/Founder Robin Chappell

Sources:

McDonald, E. (2021) “A Conflicted Cultural Force: What It’s Like to Be Black in Publishing”. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/01/books/book-publishing-black.html.

Open Notes By Robin Chappell

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

It’s about what you want and never what you need

Trapped inside a sea of the thick webs that we weave

We are predictable and have always been on edge

Never venturing too far, but there’s always a wedge

Bad habits are difficult to break if they always bring you pleasure

Now your pipes are busted from all of the constant pressure

We gave it way less effort and won, although there was no game

We were just so down and proud because it never felt the same

Placement holders for the time well lost

We bought into it without asking the cost

Poor quality made it all blow away

Surrounded by the openly timeless days…

Ain’t No Hood Like Motherhood

By Robin Chappell

Published 1 June 2021

Photo by Michelle Leman on Pexels.com

After nine enlightening, yet exhausting months of pregnancy for the second time, I have successfully returned to my platforms of social media. I am thankful to have made it through and I birthed an extremely beautiful son by scheduled c-section that I’ve fallen in love with at first sight. We gave him his father’s name of Corey Alan Thompson Jr. and continue to be proud and mesmerized at his arrival and his perfect health. He’s a great baby that rarely cries, isn’t unnecessarily fussy, and gazes into my eyes constantly with his beautiful dark browns. To make this short…I am sickeningly happy and the blessings of having a new addition to our family is joyfully overwhelming. I reflect on being ridiculously nervous, and it wasn’t because I’d be going through the dreaded pregnancy process (which I don’t enjoy); nor was it because I’d be birthing a son into a world where Black boys are looked at as a threat. Those thoughts were merely the tips of my icebergs. I remember asking my mother the question how did she really share her love between my brother and I. We’re almost four years apart and she often describes me as “the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen”. She also said she had the same thoughts after discovering she was pregnant again, but that it just all…happened. It’s been Harmony Grace and me for what seems like the longest four years. Everything has been about her finally making me a mother and an overall more responsible individual following years of “going with the flow”. I have reached into the depths of my love for her, dedicating and naming my nonprofit after her and even having a children’s book about her in the making. She has received every ounce of my attention and my affection and I considered her my world for so long that I seriously had thoughts in the back of my head.

How in the world could I love another child as much as I love HER??

My mother me gave the response many mothers would provide and described it as something naturally maternal, but the thing is that I’ve never considered myself maternal at all. When I discovered Harmony was coming at the age of twenty-nine, there was the anxiety of wondering exactly what type of mother I would be to her. Would I be any good at it? What if I hate it? I really don’t even like children to be honest. They were all true questions and statements, and I was known as that single person at gatherings who held babies out at arms length whenever I was handed one. They felt my vibe so much (or lack thereof) that they instantly started wailing on me. I never got along with a baby or child. So imagine my amazement years later, the fact that I would be a mother of not just one…but TWO beautiful children. It seemed like I was just getting used to having just one and finally getting into the groove of motherhood. Now I’m getting into the swing of having a tiny two week old baby boy that needs constant attention juggled with the demands, attitude, and bratty independence of a four year old girl heading to preschool this August. It all brings me to tears with the realization that I’m not even that same selfish and careless twenty-something year old any longer. I really sat here contemplating how to equally distribute my love between two children from my womb, not to mention mentally preparing for “the baby blues” or postpartum depression. What if I don’t automatically take to him at first sight? What if I’m so stuck on Harmony I don’t seem to want to hold him or interact with him as much? My worst mistake was reading about other pregnant mom’s woes and situations on an app called What to Expect, which effectively tracks your baby’s growth and allows you to interact with expecting moms due around the same time. Several moms that went into labor a week or two before I did expressed being “unemotional” toward their babies and “not feeling anything” for them during first week or so. It was a frightening experience reading about them not even wanting to hold their baby or barely look at them because they had no exciting feelings about it. This is a typical situation for numerous moms, but I could never imagine not welcoming my son into the world because he didn’t give me any emotion after carrying him for nine months. I could never imagine him becoming more attached to his father because I want nothing to do with feeding him, giving him baths, or even playing with him. Yet, those same moms and their posts provided me with an awareness causing me to pray about it…A LOT.

It’s like I felt as if I might birth a complete stranger…

Strangers make me uncomfortable, but what happened was exactly what I was told would occur…it became so natural for me and I’m not only comfortable with being a second time mom, I’m much better for it. My heart literally overflows when I look at them both and I couldn’t imagine life without either of them. Seeing them interact together is something that I could sit and watch all day. The length of their time with me on this earth isn’t a factor, neither is their gender, or how they were conceived/birthed, nor by whom. I love them both to death and would do anything and everything for them. This makes me realize the true meaning of motherhood and raising children only the best way that I can. Fear and nervousness for them has been the most obvious sign of giving a shit for someone like me. I’d rather have some type of emotion than to have none at all. I may not be considered the greatest or even a traditional mom, but what can we truly consider “traditional”? What defines a “good mom”? I may be the tattooed, dark liquor drinking, party loving, piercings everywhere, marijuana supporting mom that most would look down upon when it comes to raising children. We as moms make mistake DAILY, and a good mom to me is one whose children consistently have smiles plastered on their faces. A good mom puts her children above all of her selfish desires first while still being happy enough to make time for herself, because she knows self care is also necessary for their happiness. This journey has been a wild ride and one of self wisdom, because I now know who I am and the type of mom I strive to be, one that loves both of her kids with all of her heart and soul.

“This is Not a Drill” By Robin Chappell

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Why couldn’t things ever remain the same? I’d take that, ya know? Everything being more predictable than the spurious situation we harbored each day…each day since, oh nevermind.

I exhaled a long and final puff of my cigarette, proceeding to walk through the doors of the sullen place we called “home”, but inside it felt the same as my heart…an empty below freezing vacuity which served no monumental purpose.

Those same cold brown eyes drilled a hollow hole into my hazel ones as I crossed the spacious living room in silence, barely looking your way and breaking contact. I pray you don’t utter a word…but I know better.

“You know what I had to do today??”

You break the quiet tension with an open ended question I did not expect, sarcasm dripping on your tone.

“No. But I’m sure you’re going to tell me anyway.” I mutter the statement before I could take it back.

I was shot down by a decrepit stare and it hurt worse than any excruciating damage a bullet would have done if it shattered through my left knee cap.

“I had that lunch today, remember? The one with Yvette that I told you about?”

I strolled to the bar next to the kitchen, slowly poured a small shot of brandy, then looked into the air as if searching for the conversation I guess we supposedly had about it.

“Yvette…yeah…yeah. How was it? How is she?

Why the fuck did I just ask that as if I truly cared? I hate Yvette.

“Oh, it was great, as always. Limited hints of girlishly unnecessary attitude with short discussions of never mentioning what actually matters in our lives. Small talk about the dubious effects of politics and how the country’s gone to shit.”

I released a small grunt of interest. Mainly for the reason of not seeming like I wasn’t listening.

She continues through the entire conversation, waving her slender freshly manicured hand in the air and recalling all of the details.

“The place she chose was charming. A quaint little French place surrounded by varieties of lilies, chrysanthemums, and a view that could cheer up the worst of us. She bragged about a husband she just couldn’t stop gushing about, flashing an ice capped mountain on her hand, a lavish vacation to Bora Bora they just traveled, and their perfect child that plays cello for the top musical institution in the city.”

“Hmm…”

“Then of course she looks at me, green eyes of amusing candor. That quizzical and judgmental look I cannot stand and with a flip of her hair she asks ‘So when are you going to get married Trinity? Are you still with that Trent guy?’

She giggles with a shameful shake of her head, curls fall into her eyes, which she swipes away with an annoyed gesture. She’d complain about how they needed to be clipped again later, but she continues to speak.

“And I, of course, after guzzling five swallows of the overpriced Moscato she just had to order; I respond with the tedious lie of ‘well, I’m still really focused on my career’ with a plastered smile of a circus clown…lying…for you as I do each and every time.”

I anxiously tapped my fingers against the tailored suit of my pants leg, rolling my eyes in frustration.

Here it comes.

I was not at all in the mood to hear about how she resented me for not proposing to her for six years or for absent mindedly copping out of our situation altogether. It ate her alive to the point she didn’t leave when she should have. She just…waited for me. She watched as everything great about us disintegrated without a fight…allowing the light to fade from our eyes when we stared at each other day after day. She wanted me to make moves I never had the energy for and just deemed her presence in my life tolerable enough to deal with.

“So, then she starts talking about this promotion at her journalism job and of course I’m looking at how amazing she still looks. I mean luminously glowing and basking in happiness, salon styled hair cascading around her face in tendrils of healthiness and no split ends to be seen.”

Tears began to stream from her face as she reflected on the unreachable perfection she felt Yvette possessed and this is why I hated Yvette. I knew…I knew everything and how her lavish lifestyle was only covering up the fact that her husband was actually living out of deep, dark closets, filled with the stench of men from the abundantly free lives of nightclubs…sneaking around at his job after hours. Bill covered himself in what he thought was a safety net of manliness, showering his wife with affectionate gifts, and forcing his seventeen year old daughter to be the absolute best at each endeavor she dared to explore.

I’d been friends with him for fifteen years and it was the one thing I dared not mention to anyone. It was his bed that he made to lay in…to hide in every other week.

I could not tell any of this. I did not tell Trinity any of this because she’d swear that I was the one deflecting our situation onto theirs…attempting to find something more worse than the shit I had done with women in the past.

I released a grunt once again and continued sipping from my glass, desperate to feel the relaxing waves of not giving a fuck.

It’s as if she came to an epiphany and figured that part out, because she quickly wiped her face and dried her tears as if she found a new strength inside or she ran out of fuel, but she never seemed to run out of words.

“As we sat there, in this fancy ass place…comparing lives and sharing stories…I look up and I see this handsome man, dressed for work as he is each morning…but he is not there today. He’s just happily…strolling by the restaurant without a care in the world. Hands in his brown coat pockets, paying no attention to what’s around him…or whom. Just walking down 5th Street with the confidence of a lion and the peace of someone who needs nothing and has…everything. I watched as his phone rang and…the smile that lit up his face was one that I wished I could have placed there many many days without success.”

I grew uncomfortable and shifted in my seat with the empty glass in my hand and casting spectrums of light across my face as she continued her story.

“For once…I just couldn’t ignore what was so obvious. I told Yvette I had an emergency…and that I needed to be excused and would plan and pay for the next lunch…which of course she tried to argue and say that she didn’t mind, but there was no time for that. With my hands shaking and my nerves breaking sweats across my brow even in the cool winter air…I followed that man…so slowly, but not necessarily indiscreet. He just still never looked around…nor tried to notice if anyone could be following him, or be curious of the whereabouts his happiness was leading him to.”

I chuckled and tried to steer the conversation…lighten her mood.

“Trinity…I really have some work to do and would love to stick around and listen to the details of your entire day of stalking or observing or whatever it is that you do…but-“

I began to rise from my reclining chair.

“I’m almost done. I’m sure you can find at least two more minutes to listen to me.”

She slowly pulled out the pearl handled pistol that I’d gotten her two birthdays ago and I instantly froze in place. Sweat forming across my forehead and trickling through the deodorant beneath my arms, then the long sleeves of my shirt…soaking my armpits in nervous perspiration.

“Um…Trinity look-“

“Sit the fuck down.” She stated through gritted teeth and an expression that made me feel like I was already dead.

I slowly eased back into the chair as she waved the pistol around and looked into the air dramatically.

“Where was I before being rudely interrupted?…Oh yeah…so I followed him down 5th Street just as he began to whistle a familiar song of comfort and prosperity. Then I continued to follow as he strolled into the lobby of a nearby hotel…a pretty nice one too…familiar with the staff as if he frequented there quite often. Pulling cash from his wallet, because of course he wouldn’t be stupid enough to have it on his credit card statements. He seemed like a smart man…too smart for his own good…but not smart enough…not this day.”

My breathing grew harsh and I exhaled. I continue to listen and try not to move an inch.

“I watch him through the window as he grabs his room key from the front desk with a smile and a nod….adjourning to the room they assigned. Never displaying a feeling of guilt or contemplation…just anxiousness…happiness…and excitement. So I start to ease behind him as he gets on the elevator, staying a few people behind, and I take a look at which floor he chooses without stepping on the elevator just yet. I just stare around at the beautiful arrangements of flowers…beautiful architecture of the high ceilings and wonder how someone could commit to something so ugly in a gorgeous place like this. And when I make it to the sixteenth floor on the next elevator…I contemplate whether the woman’s beauty was is as significant as this hotel….does her confidence match his…is she as cultured as the art surrounding me…more interesting maybe.”

My fingers tap against the glass in my hand, sweating profusely and moist with irritation.

“I wait…just to see what she’s like…and as I stood around a corner to get the perfect view of who would walk into Room 1609. I anxiously wait to hear the click of expensive stilettos lead to the door…maybe in a trench coat…a sexy dress…something I’d never wear just for the infinite…pleasure of this man because I just don’t know…what it could be…or what it couldn’t. But…”

She began to sob as she continued, but spoke between heavy breaths while clutching the pistol…slowly breaking down as the story came to an end.

“But imagine my surprise when…it’s not the click of heels that I had the pleasure of hearing. It’s not the hem of a dress swaying across long and beautifully waxed legs, nor was it long hair swaying around beautiful and pouty lips. Nope…instead it’s broad shoulders draped in a nice coat…a tailored suit with Stacy Adams to match…softy moving across the floor. Large sized hands…manicured and soft like a woman’s, but a neatly trimmed goatee. THAT is what confidently steps into Room 1609. THAT is what I had to watch stroll up to the door in indescribable horror as the same card you received is slowly inserted into the door and closed behind…him.

Her shoulders are shaking with pain and regret as I bring my large fist to my lips and stare out of the windows of our home, silently unable to breathe.

“Today…I had to recognize the familiar face of your best friend, Bill. I had to watch him bring that smile…that goofy ass grin that you once shared with me to my man’s face…the one that I’ve been trying to achieve again for years now…years. And then…I had to be angry enough to walk to the door just so I could confront him…only to be turned away with a stomach full of knots and expensive ass Moscato with garden salad bubbling to the surface of my throat once I heard the sounds. You didn’t even begin a conversation and went straight into it…in less than two minutes… it was like an itching and an ailing to have finally seen each other…to touch each other…So, it’s not the first time…nor the second…but it’s certainly the last.”

Her voice trailed off as she stared across the room, her eyes bloodshot red and fixated on a wall but not really focused on anything in particular.

“Trinity…I can-“

In one instant…the sound of a long BANG filled my ears and sharp pain shot through my chest where I sat. She stood over me with a face full of stone and the pistol pointed directly at me, smoke slowly curtailing in small puffs from the barrel. I could slowly feel my life fading, blood gurgling from my lips through the struggle of hanging on to a life I was ashamed of. She waltzed right over in silence and watched me desperately gasp for air, no care or show of emotion…except fury. I could see the devil in her eyes staring at me right through her…before he came for my soul and took me with him.

Trinity slowly walked away and grabbed her cell phone with the calm of someone that had been finally set free.

“Hey Yvette, yeah it’s finally done. Yours too? Ok…I’ll be over there to help you in a minute…then we’ll just circle back here to clean up this mess later… yep…and oh yeah…lunch is on me tomorrow.

“The Art of My Love” By Robin Chappell

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

We can always silence the blasphemous

Paint a picture worth a thousand words that is only us

The colors could possibly blend and pair

Creating a beautiful mosaic delicately drying in the night air

Or it could merely become a muddy mess

Derived from the minds of the anxious and the stressed

I once thought I was at the least your yellow and green

Calm and happiness streaked across your proudest scenes

You let go of your paintbrush and said that it was done

I thought there would be millions of strokes, but there was only one

No definition was added to it and you quit before the greatest parts

Walking away out of frustration and boredom before you could even start

Can’t you see the many colors of many, although not always beautiful

They create the entire work of everything past physical

Maybe one day you’ll take the time to look a little more deeper

Unconditionally paint it again, even if it becomes uglier

Even when the colors are hard to fathom the more you execute

It could be the greatest of imperfections…but at least it will be the truth

“Retrospective” By Robin Chapppell

Photo by Sam Kolder on Pexels.com

Don’t take me back there

To those cold nights when the sky fell on my head

The stars were thrown at me like sharp spurs

And I took the pain of every single one

Instead of red, I bled the color of a deep blue

The midnight one in the hundred color crayon box-

I would often show off for you like that

Pulling out the variety box in front of the entire class

Complete with the sharpener on the back…

Just for them all to realize exactly what they lacked

I gained more during those times with you

More than I ever knew could be realized

When I drowned in the midnight blue of the skies

A deceptive feeling of beauty between the ugly lines

I was crossed out as if I could ever be placed on a list

No access for me inside of a melancholy place like this