African-American Writers’ Alliance

Hello, my dragons and dragon-lovers,

Occasionally, I plan to share information regarding literary and artistic organizations that I feel deserve more widespread acknowledgments. For that purpose, I would like to introduce you to an organization I have found through the grapevine: the Seattle-based African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA).

AAWA is a collective of Seattle writers of African descent that provides an informal and supportive forum for new and published writers. They host literary events, workshops, weekly readings and more in the surrounding Seattle Area.

Randee Eddins founded the organization in 1991, where she encouraged an exchange of ideas through the written word. In a mutually supportive setting, writers listened and shared their work without censure. AAWA has monthly meetings (Saturdays, Columbia City Branch of the Seattle Library, library opening until noon). For up-to-date information, please check out their website and consider becoming a member of this wonderful organization.

If you know of any other writing organizations in Washington or anywhere on the planet, please let me know to by commenting down below.

Thank you for reading and, as always, may you have peace, love, and pancakes my literary dragons!

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Sweet

My addiction to sweetness is killing
my body’s ability to produce
glucose regulating bland insulin.
Simultaneously, my need to know
what our politician are doing to
our air, our land, our water, our planet
is killing my ability to taste
the sweetness in a smile, in a laugh in
a clear sunny day, so I drown myself
in vapid suga.

Call Me Grandma

Human blood is my favorite drink, especially, young warm fresh blood. Thirty years old is just young enough to still have that sweetness of infantile wonder but old enough to have a tinge of disillusionment and a splash of mundane fears. On this day, I was finishing a thirty-year-old graduate student from the University of Washington. His blood was a mixture of one-night stands, homesickness, and too many bottles of mountain dew. Yet, his fear as I drained his body was worth the trip and I do love playing with my food.

They are so cute when they beg.

As I was about to leave through the pentagram on his hands (why do “edgy” humans make it so easy for us?), I heard a knock at the door. Usually, that was my cue to hurry up and leave but I was still thirsty. Maybe it was that girl he was texting. She was twenty-five and therefore so much sweeter.

I listened as the faint knocking continued. After the third rendition of “Shave and a Hair Cut,” I heard a feeble voice.

“Larry, Larry, it’s your grandmother, can I come in?”

A grandmother! Grandmothers are terrifying. They are so close to death, that they know not to fear it. Worst of all, the wisest ones know how to deal with demons…The last one I dealt with sprayed me with holy water and threw a saddle at me.

I began rushing to open the gate through Larry’s hands when I heard the door unlock. My foot was halfway inside the gate when Larry’s grandmother came walking in. She was bent over like a cane and have a pink floral shawl draped over her shoulders. In her hands she carried a casserole dish that smelled of tomatoes and cheese. Her face was leathered and creased like a good book that has been read too often, but her eyes were tiny blue dots behind huge thick glasses.

I stood frozen. Not sure how she would respond to seeing her dead grandson and a red naked demon.

But she didn’t even look my way.

Instead, she beelined straight to the kitchen and began fiddling with the dirty dishes.

“Larry, honey, where did you place the soap? Oh, never mind, I think I found it.”

There was a crash and I started to smell blood.

“Oh, Nancy look what you did not.”

Against, my better judgement, I took my foot out of Larry and left the living room. I took a peak into the kitchen and saw Nancy holding a dirty towel to her hand.

“Larry, I think I need a Band-Aid. Can you go get one for me dear?”

Without thinking, I looked around the kitchen and found a first-aid kit above the fridge. That was the only thing I found easily. The kitchen was a mess, dirty dishes piled high to the ceiling, a fold out chair covered in dirty clothes, and empty boxes of Mountain Dew assembled around a tattered table. I pushed the clothes to the floor, and guided Larry’s grandmother to the chair.

She had not looked up at my since she cut her hand.

I took her hand, cleaned the wound, and bandaged it up. How would Larry let his grandmother see the state of his domicile? Shameful.

By the time I was done bandaging her wound and patting myself on the back for getting rid of yet another neckbeard, I finally realized that Nancy had shifted her gaze upon me.

She was smiling at me. The sweetest smile I had ever seen.

“Thank you, dear. My eyes are not what they use to be and there seems to be a lot of sharp objects in the sink.”

I stumbled backwards and ran back to the living room.

“Wait!”

I stopped as I reached Larry’s lifeless body.

She was standing in the kitchen doorway, her tiny blue eyes locked onto my back. I could feel them burn into me like dry ice. The floor boards creaked as she walks towards me.

I spun around. My pride already dashed. Who ever heard of a Hell Spawn Demon being afraid of a hunched back grandmother?

“WHAT DO YOU WANT?” I say, staring right into her eyes and raising my claws into the air.

“I am so lonely. Larry lives right in my apartment complex, ignores me every day despite living rent free, and you see how he lives? I was hoping you might want to stay instead.”

I lowered my claws closer to her and tilted by head.

“WHAT?!”

“Stay. Live here rent free and take care of security around here. Larry was supposed to do that but, well, he never was good at anything was he? Except for tattoos. He was good at getting them. I designed the pentagram on his hand. Told him it would be his birthday present.”

At this point, my arms fell to my sides.

“You’re telling me you wrote the pentagram?”

“Yes.”

“To invite a demon, like me…”

“Yes.”

“To replace your deadbeat grandson?”

“Yes.”

I looked down at Larry’s body and gave it a good kick.

“Heh.”

I haven’t heard something that crazy in centuries. I knew I could kill her and leave her to rot by her grandson but the last time I said no to a crazy scheme I ended up being the only demon not apart of the music industry. Maybe security is the next best thing.

“How many young’uns cause you trouble here?”

“Too many to count.”

“And I get free reign over how security is run here?”

“And all my other apartments in the city.”

“And the catch?”

“Visit with me every week and for every holiday.”

I quickly drafted up a contract, with the regular Deals with The Devil clauses. I signed it in and had Nancy signed with the blood from her hand.

“I look forward to working with you, Nancy.” I smiled as I shook her hand, sealing the deal.

“Oh, please, call me grandma.”

A Clockwork of Stars

Nuclear fusion fueled
by hydrogen found
inside human spit

carbon cycles through
sweet spruce and pulsating hearts
shining stars and suns

celestial graveyards
rich in nitrogen give birth
to fields of poppies

stellar explosions
produced the oxygen found
in a child’s nose bleed

salty sodium
marks the ticking solar time
piece high above us

magnesium is
maintaining immune systems
of neon fusion

jagged formations
of pearly phosphorus shine
in a toothy grin

rotten eggs protein
fibers synthesized inside
sulfur nebulae

swimming in chlorine
rich star clouds breaking down our
bodily tissues

water is kept in
balance by potassium
flaring starlight cells

calcium remains
from ancient suns and planets
lives on in our bones

this humanity
floating through space time listens
to chemical gears
waiting for clock
to strike at midnight

Names

<Redacted> came from your grandfather on your father’s side, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from an English man who had no business buying slaves

The doctors were Roses. The nurses were Roses. My best friend was Rose. She took me to the hospital where there were Roses everywhere. I was being surrounded by Roses.

<Redacted> came from your grandfather on your mother’s side, who got it from his father, who got it from his father, who got it from a Spanish man who had no business being in Manila

Theresa came from a Saint, came from your aunt, my youngest sister, came from the feminine version of your father, came from the wishes I had for you, came from the dreams I had for you

Puto

Be me. Brown kid called Black or Black called brown, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Be me. Eating Puto.

What did you say?

Puto. I said I am eating Puto.

Be me. Answering the question of “what is that?” to a light-skin Latino boy from Hercules, CA. Be me, trying to understand why he and his friends are suddenly laughing and glaring at me like I said the worst word in the history of lingua. Be me eating puto as my afternoon snack.

What did you just call me?

Jose, I didn’t call you anything. You asked me what I was eating and I said…

You’re eating puto!

Be me. 11-year-old. Trying to understand the difference between a slur and my desert. The sweetness of a rice cake and the bitterness of being hated. Be me, a young queer
Black Pinoy eating puto.