Photo courtesy unsplash.com

 

A View From Forever releases April 20, 2015.  Order now: Amazon | Google Play | Apple iBooks

Blah, blah blah.

That’s what the speakers have been saying for the last forty-five minutes at the reception at the American-Israel Friendship League.

Blah blah blah.

First they’ve been thanking people none of us have ever heard of for making cooperation between the two countries possible. A retired ambassador speaks, followed by someone from the Anti-Defamation League, then two speakers from the Council of Great City Schools. On and on and on.

“Check that girl out,” Mike from Chicago says, his voice none too quiet.  His eyes are on one of the girls from the Milwaukee delegation. She’s probably a junior, and she’s leaning forward with one knee crossed over the other.  She stands out in this crowd of preppies:  colorful spiked hair, a black leather jacket and bright pink combat boots. She’s cute, really—if anything, she kind of reminds me of Spot, a girl I used to know who hung around the Masquerade and a few other lesser alternative clubs. Spot—I don’t know what her real name is—was creative as hell, smart, cute, and addicted to painkillers.  Her parents had kicked her out, and there were a few times we ended up shacking up together. Not out of lust or attraction—she was strictly a lesbian—but out of a need to stay warm on cold, homeless nights.

Yes, homeless. See, my Mom is a parent of the tough-love variety, and when I dropped out of high school, she gave me an ultimatum. Go back to school and quit drinking, or get out. I couch surfed for a while—after all, I had plenty of friends. But parents of sixteen year olds become curious—too curious—when a sleepover turns into an extended stay.

I found occasional work in the fall—landscaping, day labor. Show up at the 7-11 in the morning and stand in line with the illegal immigrants and other homeless looking for a day’s backbreaking labor for 25 bucks.  Then I’d go hang out with the guys and smoke pot.

I met Spot the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I was standing with a couple of guys behind the dumpster in the back of the Masquerade having a smoke when I heard a short, muffled scream. I got up and walked down the alley, my friends trailing behind me.  In the dark I could barely make out what was happening—a big guy, maybe six feet, and built, was shaking a girl who stood maybe five-feet two and probably weighed 95 pounds.  Her head was flopping back and forth as he shook her hard, using his massive strength to shake her like a rag doll.

“Stop!” she squeaked.  He pulled his fist way back, about to slug her.

He didn’t get to throw the punch: Snatching up a loose brick, I lunged forward and hit him in the back of the head.  He went down, and the alley fell silent.

“Mother fuck,” one of the guys said.  “That’s Lonnie Wallace. Dylan, get the fuck out of here before he wakes up. I’m out.”

“Who is he?” I asked

“Dealer.  Dangerous man. Really dangerous. I’m gone.”

I shrugged, then looked at the girl.  “You okay?” I asked.

She looked at me, a little dazed. “Yeah,” she whispered.

I had my doubts. But I didn’t have anywhere safe to take her.  “You got any place to go? Someone we can call?”

She shook her head.

I sighed.  Then I said, “Let’s take a walk. Get away from here. I’m Dylan.”

“Spot,” she said.

Weird.  Whatever. Lot of people used street names. I grabbed her hand and said, “Let’s go. I don’t want to be here when he wakes up.”

“He’s got a gun,” she said.

Shit.

That changed things, didn’t it? I crouched down and touched the guy’s shoulder.  He wasn’t moving. I hoped he wasn’t dead. I leaned close enough to see and hear that he was breathing.  I rolled him over and, sure enough, a pistol was stuffed in his waistband. Automatic, I guess—I didn’t know much about guns other than what I’d seen on television and the one or two times when I was a little kid that my dad took me hunting. But we didn’t hunt with automatic pistols.

Dad had taught me basic weapons safety.  I slid the pistol out of Asshole’s waistband.  It took a minute trying to figure out how to eject the magazine, then I found the button and ejected the magazine, then pulled the slide back.  The chambered bullet went flying.

“Come on,” I said.  I left the ammo on the ground and threw the pistol in the dumpster. Just to slow him down, if he ever woke up. Then I grabbed her hand and we ran.

A month later on Christmas Eve, I ran into Spot downtown, not long after the trains stopped running for the night. It was raining and cold, and my jacket did little to keep me dry. I was looking for a good sheltered spot to sleep when I ran into her.  We walked together and finally huddled under the bridge under I-20. I’d slept there before, and knew the dozen or so semi-permanent residents who kept tents, clotheslines, mattresses and personal items stored there.

When we got there that night, a blazing fire was going, and two families were huddled around the fire.

“It looks warm,” she said.

“Come on, then,” I replied, and pulled her over to the fire. I could feel the heat against my skin, and the heat of Spot as she leaned against me.

Sometimes I wanted to track down her asshole father and punch him until he couldn’t see. I was just as homeless as Spot was, but I was homeless because of something I did—not because of who I was.  She, on the other hand, was a good kid with bad parents. They had kicked her out because she was a lesbian. Not because of anything she’d done—they kicked her out because of who she was.

That’s when it hit me. I could choose to go home any time I wanted. All I had to do was stop the drinking and pot.  All I had to do was go back to school.

Spot couldn’t go home. She had no one.

The mother of one of the two families who lived under the bridge began to sing. Her voice was clear and beautiful and the moment she heard the singing begin, Spot began to shiver. Then to sob.

 

Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant, tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

 

Silent night, Holy night

Son of God, love’s pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

 

Silent night, Holy night

Shepherds quake, at the sight

Glories stream from heaven above

Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.

 

I’ll be honest. I cried just a little too, as I held Spot and she sobbed.  I wished right then that I could find a home for her, find someone who loved her. But it wasn’t really feasible.  I had no resources, no money. I had nothing.

A few weeks later, I had signed up to go back to school. I had quit drinking and cleaned up my act. I had moved back home. And then I had gone looking for Spot. There were a dozen weekends over the months after that, when I went and looked for her, searching at clubs and under bridges—searching everywhere.

But I never saw her again.

Now, I’m slow to come back to the present. Now, my missing friend Spot seems far more real than the kids here in New York.

“Hello?” Mike from Chicago says, waving a hand in front of my face. “Are you awake?” I’ve heard him introduce himself that way to half a dozen people now. Hi, I’m Mike. From Chicago. It’s become part of his name.

I shake my head slightly. “Sorry. I guess I was stuck in a memory.”

He chuckles.  “Must have been a good one.”

I don’t answer. I go through the motions for the remainder of the reception, listening where I need to and saying what I have to, but never really focused on the present. I’m interested in the foreign exchange program, but sometimes it is difficult to maintain my sense of reality. I’m surrounded by people who think hunger was not being able to get your favorite appetizer and who flaunt clothing which is unimaginably expensive, just because they can. They’re public school kids just like I am, but they’re public school kids with backgrounds I don’t really understand: tutors and test-prep programs, expensive extracurricular activities and parents who sponsor scholarships, academic camps and God only knew what else.

I don’t belong there.

I don’t belong anywhere.

 

A View From Forever is available now at a special pre-order price of $2.99:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BDEIrr
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1CCyMUd
Apple: http://apple.co/19ompjk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25127374-a-view-from-forever

Author website: http://sheehanmiles.com

1420389_59805980Hasn’t everything already been written about love?

I don’t know. You see,
Love isn’t just about all flowers and shit.
it ain’t about the dance, or the ring,
it’s not about the house, or the romance.

Love isn’t lavender,
It’s not poppies
Or tulips,
Or delicate white roses.

It’s not the flesh of that first kiss
It’s not when you lose your virginity
It’s not the oh so sweet taste of the beautiful maidenly breast
And it ain’t a battlefield either

And you know what else? Love doesn’t always feel good. In fact sometimes it fucking hurts

Love is:

2 o’clock in the morning, when you’re wiping shit off a sick kid
reaching outside of yourself
learning how to say I’m sorry
and really meaning it

Love is:

learning from your mistakes
so you don’t make them again.
love is being patient, it’s letting people make mistakes
love is giving up something you want so someone else can have something they want

What I’m saying is:

Love is not a feeling

Love is not something that happens to you

Love is not something you find in a singles bar
as if somebody left it lying around to be picked up.

Love is not to be mistaken for lust, or that heady feeling you get when you’re infatuated

What I’m trying to say is: love is not a thing at all

It’s an action

Love isn’t something you find
It’s something you give

It’s not something you can lose,
it’s something you have to give away

Love isn’t giving a dollar to a homeless shelter.
It’s giving your name to a homeless person

Love doesn’t matter
Unless you do something about it

A View From Forever releases April 20, 2015.

A View From Forever releases April 20, 2015.  Order now: Amazon | Google Play | Apple iBooks

 

No politics on the first date (Dylan)

The woman behind the counter has hair cut about to her chin, longer at the front and shorter in the back. It’s dyed a bronze color, and I can’t tell her age or even her general appearance because the makeup she wears is thick as wood-grain veneer on cheap particleboard. Her eyelids, thick with glittery blue eyeshadow, flutter as she talks to a man behind the counter who isn’t wearing an airline uniform.  Actually, he doesn’t appear to be there for any other purpose than to flirt with the woman.

“Excuse me,” I say.

She ignores me and continues to smack her gum.

I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But if this is how everyone is going to behave in New York, I’d just as soon go back to the South.

Excuse me, Miss?”  I try my best to contain my irritation. I can’t go as far as Ma’am, though my Mom wouldn’t approve.  Mamma always told me to keep up my best manners even if the world was coming to an end.

“What?”  The look she gives me is anything but accommodating. Is it the Southern accent? Or because I’m a teenager? Or is she just normally rude? Who knows? Impossible to tell. What I do know is that she’s making me angry.

“I was on Flight 658, along with my friends.” I gesture to the others from the Atlanta delegation.  “None of our luggage has shown up at the baggage claim.”

She gives me a briefly scornful look, then picks up a phone and dials.  “Yeah, Gary? This is Bethany, in Terminal 4. Yeah, that’s me. I got some teenagers here, they say their luggage didn’t come off Flight 658.”

She pauses and tilts her head.  “Uh huh… uh huh …. Yeah? Well, that’s a bummer. All right.”

None of that sounds good. She hangs up the phone. It’s clear she’d rather be flirting with the guy, or doing a crossword puzzle, or just about anything else other than talking with me. “Sorry, but security diverted one load of luggage at Hartsfield.”  She doesn’t pronounce the -R- in Hartsfield, instead saying it like Hahhtsfield.  She continues. “It should catch up with you in the next day or so. You gotta fill out some paperwork, and give it to the TSA supervisor.  I’ll call him over.”  She’s already taking out the paperwork. A lot of it.

Forty minutes later—without luggage—we join up with the students from the other groups. Except for Tameka, I haven’t had a chance to get to know any of the others in my group.  Tameka lives in Virginia Highlands, a neighborhood in northeast Atlanta, and goes to Grady High School.  She’s a junior and heavily involved in sports and academics. They all are. The five of us had to attend a dinner where we gave short introductions a couple of weeks ago—these four girls are all high achievers at their schools. It makes me feel like I’m not up to scratch—a year ago I was a high school dropout and I still don’t understand why they let me on this trip.

As we approach the ground transportation area, next to the baggage claim, I see a woman holding a large sign: Council of Great City Schools Foreign Exchange Program. She is medium height with blonde hair, cut in a relatively short style with bangs. I’d guess she’s around thirty-five years old. She waves as she sees us approach. I wrinkle my nose—this part of the airport smells vaguely like piss and old-stale cigarette smoke.

A group of twelve or so teenagers stands in a loose semicircle around the woman. Harried and tired passengers stream by on their way to wherever they are going.  One girl stands to the left of the group and a few feet away as she talks on what looks like an iPhone. I’ve never seen one before–they just came out a few months ago and no one in my circle can afford toys like that. Her bags are on the floor and she has a pained expression on her face. What catches my eyes is her long, luscious-looking brown hair, slightly olive skin, and how her sweater hugs her upper body.

“No, Mom. We haven’t even left the airport yet.”  Silence, then the girl rolls her eyes, giving me a look at her deep green irises.  “Of course. Yes.  Yes.  I will.  Okay.”

A crease forms in the center of her forehead as her eyebrows draw together.  “No, I don’t think I’ll have a chance to see Carrie, we’ve got a pretty full schedule before we leave for Tel Aviv. But I’ll call her if I get some free time.”

When her eyes swing toward me, I quickly look away. Then I nearly jump when someone speaks almost in my ear.  “Jaysus, she’s hot, isn’t she?”

I jerk back.  The speaker is a guy with brown curly hair. He looks like a caricature of a teenager. Basketball-player tall, but with arms and legs more like a stick figure than a human, all elbows and knees. I’m not really up on the latest fashion, though a lot of my classmates back home are—homelessness, even for a brief period, gives you an appreciation of having any clothes at all. But this kid clearly hasn’t ever missed a meal, and he’s decked out in an array of corporate logos and brand names.

I instantly dislike him—then I back that off. I’m here to learn, not to judge the other kids. I know better than to judge people just by their appearance.

“Yeah,” I murmur. The girl is way the hell out of my league.

“I’m Mike,” he says.  “From Chicago.”

“Dylan.  I’m from Atlanta.”

“Oh, yeah? Southern boy, huh?”

“Through and through,” I reply. Is he serious?

He looks at me and asks, “What’s your politics?”

“What?”

“You know. Democrat? Republican?”

I snort. “I don’t talk politics on the first date.”

He chuckles.

“Okay,” said the woman. “I’m Marie Simpson; I’ll be one of your chaperones for the next several weeks. Please let me get everybody’s names.  We’ve got the Chicago and San Francisco and Atlanta groups here?”

She begins to read out names, starting with the students from Atlanta. Tameka is first, then two of the other girls, then me.  A few minutes later, after she gets the names of the five students from Chicago, she moves on to the San Francisco group—five of them.

The San Francisco group has four girls–including the one I’ve been trying to not obviously stare at. The fifth kid in the group is a vaguely Asian or Pacific Island looking guy.  Then she responds to her name, which I hear for the very first time.

Alexandra Thompson.

 

A View From Forever is available for pre-orders now at a special pre-order price of $2.99:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BDEIrr
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1CCyMUd
Apple: http://apple.co/19ompjk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25127374-a-view-from-forever

Author website: http://sheehanmiles.com

Hasn’t everything already been written about love?

I don’t know. You see,

Love isn’t just about all flowers and shit.

it ain’t about the dance, or the ring,

it’s not about the house, or the romance.

Love isn’t lavender,

It’s not poppies

Or tulips,

Or delicate white roses.

It’s not the flesh of that first kiss

It’s not when you lose your virginity

It’s not the oh so sweet taste of the beautiful maidenly breast

And it ain’t a battefield either

And you know what else? Love doesn’t always feel good. In fact sometimes it fucking hurts

Love is:

2 o’clock in the morning, when you’re wiping shit off a sick kid

Love is reaching outside of yourself

Love is learning how to say I’m sorry

And really meaning it

Love is learning from your mistakes

so you don’t make them again.

Love is being patient, it’s letting people make mistakes

Love is giving up something you want so someone else can have something they want

What I’m saying is:

Love is not a feeling

Love is not something that happens to you

Love is not something you find in a singles bar

as if somebody left it lying around to be picked up.

Love is not to be mistaken for lust, or that heady feeling you get when you’re infatuated

What I’m trying to say is: love is not a thing at all

It’s an action

Love isn’t something you find

It’s something you give

It’s not something you can lose,

it’s something you have to give away

Love isn’t giving a dollar to a homeless shelter.

It’s giving your name to a homeless person

Love doesn’t matter

Unless you do something about it

more details soon 🙂



to I AM

the most exalted one

 

king savior messiah

i’ve got a bone to pick with you

 

a dust devil of hate, the shamal of rage

flecks of sand tearing my skin

 

a turbine hot jet fuel 

dripping from the cracked fuselage

 

it bleeds

this hole in my chest

 

locust burrowing in

twitching and scratching and biting and clawing

 

we roll in the dirt infected pigs

fleeing over the cliff 

 

innocent bystanders for your demons

we suffer we die we agonize in Your name

 

the pigs are the children who got in the way

wrong place at the wrong time blackened and broken limbs

 

to love my enemy i must love myself

but if you only knew who 

 

i am

 

then you would hate me too

 

the hate suppressed causes pain in my chest

why do you lie why do we die

 

and seriously didn’t those egyptian kids deserve to live too? 

do you specialize in innocent bystanders? 

 

plagues and boils and locusts against the oppressors

especially the ones who were infants in arms

 

saul didn’t commit enough genocide for you 

so you found someone bloodier

 

the girls sold into slavery wasn’t enough

it wasn’t good enough for you because they weren’t all dead

 

moses left on the wrong side of the river because he didn’t 

kill enough of his own people for Your     taste

 

what is his name? moses asks. who should i tell them sent me? 

maybe you should have replied

 

I AM  

the unbalanced?

 

skin becoming wrinkle, hair turning gray,

pungent cortisol is all flooding my brain, aging my body, killing me in slow-motion

 

these times i need a drink or two 

the thrill of the bet

 

the calming elixir of sugar,

the rush under my skin, the touch of a warm body in a dark place

 

but these things no longer work

they leave me deader than before

 

older greyer

exhausted embalmed

 

i lash out in search of an answer

i seek solace without pain

 

the baptism of sex

the sacrament of addiction

the scripture of greed

gives me no salvation

 

maybe I’m from missouri

because i  want you to show me

 

no. who are you really?

 

sincerely,

 

I AM

 

 

 


A one room schoolhouse

Fields of grain

Soft sounds of rural life

Creaking of leather straps and wagon wheels

Manure and hickory smoke

The wind blows metallic terror

as a truck backs up into a nightmare

a man

torn by

        something

“I’m trying to find something”

he says to disarm

then he brings out the guns

The clatter of rounds in the chamber

A threat revealed

Some escape

Some are let go

adults with babies, and all the boys

hot with fear and sweat

but the girls are kept in quivering terror

zip ties cut into the flesh

trembling faith stretched thin by evil

Some real or imagined offense

far in the man’s past

brings murder to Nickel Mines

take me first, says one girl, that the others may live

a second girl asks for the same

One shot, two, three, then four, Five and six,

Seven,

Eight, Nine,

Ten

Acrid smoke fills the room

Naomi and Lena. Mary Liz and Anna Mae. Marion

all dead.

Did the killer believe in Jesus and

if so, was he whisked straight to heaven

How do you get justice when someone kills themselves after murdering children

When it was all over

the families sought out the wife and children of the killer

                and touched them

                offered help

                reconciliation

                love

for the families, how is it that the first thing they did

was

                       

                                        forgive?

copyright 2015 Charles Sheehan-Miles



interior-coverAndrea Thompson ist schlau, selbstbewusst und hübsch. Sie ist außerdem schrecklich einsam. Sie wird in Europa von ihrer Oma großgezogen und hat schwer damit zu kämpfen, dass ihre Eltern sie nicht bei sich haben wollen. Und sie hat keine Ahnung, warum das so ist.

Als Andrea einen dringenden Anruf von ihrer älteren Schwester Carrie erhält, stimmt sie zu, in die Vereinigten Staaten zu fliegen und ihr zu helfen. Carries neugeborene Tochter Rachel benötigt eine Knochenmarkstransplantation.

Was Andrea nicht weiß, ist, dass ihre Rückkehr in die Vereinigten Staaten eine Kette von Ereignissen auslösen wird, die Geheimnisse aufdecken werden, die seit Jahrzehnten gewahrt wurden. Geheimnisse, die die Thompson Familie erschüttern und einen politischen Feuersturm auslösen werden.

Geheimnisse, für deren Wahrung Menschen bereit sind zu töten.


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Xinxii 

 

If there is a God, he abandoned that home
or
i
did?

Just as I abandoned common sense
The pursuit of life
Liberty
Addiction

a gaudy parade of
flesh

Tiny puckered nipple
A captive audience

Sexy lingerie
A willing body
or
was
she?

Flashing lights and a club
raw sewage under the surface of my soul

If a man doesn’t hurt himself
does    he    exist?

Cash. Skin. White. Black. Cream and tan and everything in between.

What happens when they’re too old
to    be    exploited?

missing

Short snippet of what I’m working on, a prequel to Just Remember to Breathe. Alexandra Thompson’s point of view:

She arches an eyebrow. “Oh? Tell me. Wait… is it… a guy?”

I frown. “Carrie….”

She smiles. “You can tell me anything. Cross my heart.” She does, first making a sign of the crucifix, which would drive Mother insane if she saw it, then pretending to turn a key in her mouth and throw it away. But we’re interrupted when the waitress appears. Both of us order specialty rolls, and Carrie orders white wine for both of us. The waitress gives me a very skeptical look, but doesn’t ask for ID.

“There is a guy who fascinates me on this trip,” I say.

“What’s his name? Tell me everything.”

“I don’t know anything about him,” I say. “That’s why I’m so intrigued. His name’s Dylan Paris—he’s a senior, from Atlanta—and that’s all I know. He doesn’t really talk with anyone.”

“Stuck up?”

I shake my head. “The opposite, I think. All of the other guys are preppies. He’s not, and I think maybe he’s intimidated.”

Carrie smiles. “You should take him under your wing then, before you guys leave for Tel Aviv.”

“Well, I’d have to get up the courage to talk with him first.”

She throws her head back and laughs. “You’ve got a point, sister. Do keep me up to date. You’re running off to a foreign country with a strange guy.” She gives the barest of mischievous smile as she says, “It’s very romantic.”

“He’ll probably turn out to be gay,” I say.

 

A View From Forever is available for pre-orders now at a special pre-order price of $2.99:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1BDEIrr
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1CCyMUd
Apple: http://apple.co/19ompjk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25127374-a-view-from-forever

Author website: http://sheehanmiles.com