A CIRCLE OF FRIENDS written by Brandon BrawnerDEDICATED TO ALL MY FRIENDS WHO HAVE TOUCHED MY LIFE A CIRCLE of FRIENDS you are to me,You lift me up and set me free;You open my eyes when I cannot see,To show me what I can be. Each of us with a wisdom,Different in our view;Wisdom from experience,And we offer it to you. From you to me it passes,Around our circle of friends;There are no situations,For which we cannot make a mends. Within our circle grows,A love that’s stronger still;Each of us we know,How this can be real. It can be real with goodness,And caring attitudes;Reaching out to others,When they feel the blues. As one link can weaken,The others will be strong;And within this CIRCLE,LOVE will be the bond. A bond that lasts forever,In this life and past;Together we have forged a CIRCLE,That throughout time will last. Each we walk our own path,Living the life we must;But when we come together,We form a CIRCLE of TRUST. Lean on me my BROTHERS,And my SISTERS too;For when you cannot walk alone,Your FRIENDS are there for YOU. It’s the building of a foundation,Relationships are the key;Listen to these words for a message,Of what you mean to me. Consider yourselves to lucky,That we all are who we are;And TRUST within this CIRCLE,Whether you’re near or far. A CIRCLE of FRIENDS you are to me,You lift me up and set me free;You open my eyes when I cannot see,You are more than just FRIENDS;YOU ARE MY FAMILY! © Brandon Brawner, February 11, 2002
Bailey is an anorexic girl and her world begins to change shortly after she begins at another middle school. She meets many people including friends and enemies. She wants to be a professional dancer when she get older but something crushes those dreams in tragic accidents. Her world crumbles and a piece of her world leaves.
April's Fool is the story of John and April Walker, a couple about to celebrate sixty years together. As the clock moves towards December 13th, memories come flying by, but why is it not appropriate to celebrate the occasion?
You're lying in my bed, and I'm supposed to sleep? Lying there so beautiful and smelling oh so sweet Listening to your breathe and caressing every curve I want to wake you up but I haven't got the nerve So I lie here my heart pounding wanting you so bad I ache Thinking of what I'd do to you if only you were awake But lying there so peaceful and so very pretty To take you from that state seems like such a pity So I'll just watch you sleep and breathe all of you in Cause who knows when a moment so beautiful will come again
CRISPER: THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE BEAUTIFUL Copyright 2016 by JERMAINE REED “You ready for this shit, Midnight?” Turning around, Midnight saw his friend Roland entering the boxing gym. Slung over his should was a thick duffle bag, one he balanced as he bounced onward. Jogging over to Roland, Midnight dodged through a crowd of cheering men who hung loosely around the boxing ring. They were chanting their advice to the two men sparring “Let me get that for you,” Midnight said, reaching for Roland’s bag. When he grabbed at it, Roland tugged with equal resistance. “Just let me help you.” Roland pushed his shoulder forward into the center of Midnight’s chest, causing him to stumble backward. At the same time, Roland lost his footing and slid across the floor. The men surrounding the ring bellowed with laughter as they called Roland a chump and clown. Midnight moved forward to help him up but then came to a halted stopped. While Using one knee to balance himself, Roland used the other to try and stand. He yelped and slipped down again, this time face-first. The other men broke out in giggles, but he eventually found his way up. His chest heaved up and down and saliva pooled readily at the corners of his mouth. Beads of sweat dotted lines across his forehead. “I don’t need your help,” Roland said to Midnight. “I’m not a damn cripple.” Midnight threw his hands up. “You need as much help as you can get.” “This is just child’s play. Once I get my Crisper injections, I’ll be like new again.” Together, they walked over to the small punching bags. Before they started, they stretched for about ten minutes, touching their toes and extending their arms as far they could. Midnight popped his neck and closed his eyes. He pumped his shoulders up and down and then shook them back and forth. Through his peripheral vision, he watched Roland, and peeped the distance between Roland’s fingertips and toes. The punching bags shook to the rhythm of Midnight’s tags. In his mind, he counted to the tune of a beat only he could hear. He could hear Roland’s raspy gasps and see the airy punches he waved. He began counting but soon lost the number of misses Roland gathered. “You know what?” said Midnight, taking the gloves off. “I’m tired. I’m not feeling this.” He wiped at the phantom sweat on his face. Roland tossed his gloves to the ground and doubled over, hands on his knees. “I knew you couldn’t hang.” They went to sit on the empty benches toward the back. Midnight wet his mouth with a sip of water. Roland downed a whole bottle but then it was immediately on the floor and hid gym shoes. The fluid was thin and rank with bits of partially dissolved food. Roland wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Midnight saw that the other men were still engaged in the fight. “Man, you need to go to a hospital,” Midnight said. Roland dry heaved. “I’m cool. I’m fine.” “You don’t need to be putting that Crisper stuff in your body man. It messes with your DNA. What if it doesn’t fix your leg?” “Crisper is a guaranteed solution. You can’t name one person it didn’t work for.” Midnight opened and abruptly shut his mouth. A wave of vertigo overcame Midnight as he thought back to a conversation that he and his wife had had about a week ago. Roland was saying something. Midnight knew this not because he heard what Roland was saying but because he saw his lips move. All at once, he was back in the family room of his home. # Midnight had walked into the house and tossed his manila folder onto the coffee table in the family room. Crinkled, stained resumes floated aimless on the air before landing on the hardwood floor. An invisible cloud of compressed air hissed its way from his lungs. He pressed the tips of his fingers on his eyelids and rubbed. His neck was craned downward. “Hey, honey,” Ashley said, as she sat the makeup kit on the table. Her eye lashes were thick and cord-like. He came over and kissed her on the forehead. “I didn’t even see you in here. I’m so distracted.” He flopped down on the large couch that sat directly in front of the big-screen television. The cooking show was on mute while the host made gestured at the food. “Any luck?” “None. Nobody’s hiring. I’m glad we still have our savings.” A brief pause, and then she cleared her throat. There was a bowl of mints on the table. Her nails were a crane as she plucked a mint and plopped it past the red of her lips. “About that,” she said. “About what? Our savings?” He scooted to the edge of the couch, making its cushions into furry stress balls. “Tell me you didn’t go blow our savings on one of your shopping sprees, woman.” “No. I didn’t, but thanks for having so much faith in me. I was about to say that Sasha’s birthday is coming up.” “I know. She’s five years old. She’ll be happy with a new doll from the dollar store.” Ashley stood and strutted over to where he was. She was a lioness on the prow. Her hips swung with the hypnotizing grace of a pendulum. By the time she straddled him, his pulse shook his skin. His hands were on autopilot. Her slender thighs were roads to her plump behind which seeped from the cradle of his palms. A taste of mint teased at his taste buds when his tongue met hers. “I figured out what to get Sasha for her birthday,” she said, her mouth breathing into his. “Birthday?” he said. “Yeah, birthday.” His eyes were slits now. His lap was a furnace where she had been. Drifting down from the clouds, his eyes locked on Ashley’s behind while she switched away. On the television screen, the host of the show was fanning a flaming pan with a towel which caught fire as well. Finally, a stagehand rushed in and sprayed both the host and the pan. Midnight chewed on a peppermint. When Ashley came back, she carried some sort of brochure. On the front of it was a pale child with eyes the color of anexotic turquoise fruit. He stood with his arms spread on a balcony that overlooked the ocean. Without opening the pamphlet, Midnight tossed it on top of the table. Ashley picked it up and tried to hand it to him. “You didn’t even read it.” “What is it?” he asked. “It’s the Crisper booklet. I took the money we had saved and made a down payment.” “A down payment on what?” “A procedure for Sasha. It’ll make her skin lighter. She can have whatever color eyes she wants and she can get any grade of hair. Now, I won’t have to struggle to comb through her nappy head every morning.” He snatched at the paper in her hand, causing it to tear between their grips. With his part, he unfolded it and shredded it even more. His hands shook and rattled as he threw what was left of the publication toward her face. Now, his fists were veiny stones. “What the hell is wrong with you?” she asked. “I’m just trying to make it better for her than it was for us, for me growing up.” “By changing her DNA? By changing who she is?” “Every day, those kids tease her. They call her blackie or nappy head or any other name to hurt her feelings. She needs this to feel good about who she is.” Midnight pushed past her and went to his office. It was a small, simple affair, having just a chair, desk, computer and few other things. The air was stale with cigarette smoke. Sitting down, he took a Newport from his back pocket and lit it. His leg shook relentlessly as he tapped his foot. Ashley was standing in the doorway staring at him, but his eyes were glued to the computer screen before him. Ashley cleared her throat. “How did you get your nickname, Midnight?” “You know how I got my nickname,” he said, still looking at the computer. “Is that what you want for her? To have those little white kids ridicule her so much that she has to accept a degrading word as her name?” “We can’t afford Crisper.” “I got a call back from Christina from work. They need me back. I start next week. I was going to surprise you.” The cigarette was bitter. It set fire to the back of his throat with each inhalation. He took the pack of smokes back out and turned the box over in his hands. Then, he jerked another smoke from the box. He lit it with the ember of the burning butt. His chest expanded with heavy gray smoke. His foot still beat violently at the floor at the floor. She came over and sat down on his lap. Gripping his chin between her thumb and forefinger, she turned his head towards her and placed a kiss on his solid mouth. With her other hand, she rubbed at his crotch and batted her eyes at him. When she kissed him this time, his lips were malleable and responsive. His hand came to her breast and she exhaled into his mouth. As Ashley stood, she adjusted her black leggings, the ones that were a glove to the curves of her body. “Sasha needs this. It is not for us. It is for her. I just want her to be confident and pretty. Doesn’t she have the right to be beautiful?” Midnight pursed his lips and blew out a long defeated sigh, his neck a wilted stem. “I’ll think about it.” She bent over and kissed him one more time. Her voice was low and raspy. “I promise you won’t regret it. Do this for her and I’ll do anything, anything for you.” When she got near the doorway, she bent down to pick something up from the floor. Midnight got a long look before she picked up whatever she was fumbling with. His jeans tented upward and he rubbed his brow. It was time for a drink. There was a picture of Sasha on the computer desk. All of his friends and family said he and her could be twins. Unlike any other moment in his life, he could finally see himself, his features in her. # “It’s the God gene,” Roland was saying, as Midnight came back to . “You need to stop listening to those conspiracy theorists.” Midnight shook his head. “It’s not a conspiracy theory. Crisper was not ever supposed to be cosmetic, but now it is. People can choose to look however they want now.” “That’s the point. It’s the right to choose to be beautiful.” “What does that really mean? What is beauty?” They sat for a few moments in silence. Even though the boxing ring was further down, Midnight could still see some of the action. The taller guy was bigger and threw harder punches, but the little guy was quicker. He ducked nearly every fist threw by his larger opponent. Then he threw his own and connected but they were not enough to sway the big man. It was a good match, an oddly even one. Midnight figured that the fight would come down to who had the most energy. Roland placed his hands on his knees and stood. One shoulder was awkwardly situated further back that the other. Midnight watched him fumble with the heavy gym bag before he actually managed to sling it over his shoulder. Roland stumbled but regained his balance. “I gotta get going, bro,” Roland said. “Ashley told my wife you two might get Crisper for Sasha. You better because the world is becoming more beautiful by the day and without Crisper, Sasha will stand out like an ugly birthmark on a pretty face.” Midnight nodded, his bottom lip tucked behind his teeth, as he watched his friend limp out of the gym. When Roland was gone, Midnight stood up and went to the larger punching bags. The gloves were three-hundred-pound weights on his hands. His stomach turned and flipped, seasick. As his lips moved, no words came out. While his arms flew, he could not help but stare at his dark skin glistening with sweat. While he hurled hard, relentless blows, sweat burned at his eyes. He heard someone yell that both boxers were down. For a short second, he turned to see for himself, but the match had already been called and the boxers were up. Someone was saying that nobody had won, that the fight was a tie. But the boxers vehemently disagreed. Midnight turned back to his own sparring bag and the let the noise fade away. Tossing the gloves to the side, he took out his phone and called Ashley, hoping that what he was about to say was the right thing. # Midnight gently shoved the swing in which Sasha sat. With every forward motion, she threw her legs and giggled. She kept demanding that Midnight push her faster and harder. But she was small for her age and should have been in the other swings, not this one. So, he told his daughter that he was pushing as hard as he could, but she was too big for him to push any higher. “You need bigger muscles,” said Sasha. “Mommy knows how to push better than you.” The wind made Sasha’s shirt puff up like an umbrella. Midnight glanced to the sky, saw that it was a clear, deep blue. When he stepped forward to grab the swing, he almost bumped two boys who were chasing one another. Sasha wildly threw her legs like she was running upward against the wind. The colorful barrettes clacked together, as her braids met each other. As the swing slowed down, she leapt out, landing on feet and palms in the woodchips. “Are you all right?” asked Midnight, helping Sasha up. “I’m good,” said she said. She dusted off her hands and knees. She pointed to a group of girls in the sandbox. “Can I go play with them, daddy?” There were about seven or eight girls over there. They were using their hands and sticks to fumble around in the sand. It could have been a page from a home and garden magazine. All of the girls were dressed alike, with flowered blouses and blue jeans. All of them had blondish hair and colored eyes. Maybe they were related, thought Midnight. He looked to the girls and back to Sasha. A moment’s hesitation and then he said that Sasha could go. Although Midnight could not hear what was being said, what he saw was enough. As soon as Sasha came over, the girls stopped playing and turned to her. A tall pale girl stood up and said something to Sasha. In turn, Sasha nodded her head and pointed at Midnight. Then, she sat down with the girls. Two of them took turns fondling with Sasha’s hair. Afterward, the tall one grabbed Sasha’s hand and ran it through her own long, blonde hair. Once the introductions were done, the group got back to their sand work. They gave Sasha a stick and a yellow bucket. Midnight saw that they were building something. The wind was picking up and the sun was starting to lower itself. It was about time to go, but Sasha was really in her zone. So far, she and the girls had made several structures out of the sand. They were laughing and giggling. Then, a chubby boy jetted past them and stomped their sand buildings down. He ran off, but the tall girl gave chase. “Let’s go, Sasha,” said Midnight, reaching out his hand to help her up. She said goodbye to her new friends and they left. The ride home was quiet for a while, the only sound being the wind beating against the windshield. Midnight glanced in the rearview mirror and saw that Sasha was still wide awake. She was mouthing numbers as she pointed toward the sky. Midnight saw that the night was flickering with the light of a thousand distant stars. And the moon was full and round, vibrant as if it had been polished recently. He felt that if he got close enough to it, he would be able to see his reflection in it. “Sasha, have you thought about what you want for your birthday?” asked Midnight. “I want something that makes me happy,” said Sasha. “I don’t want a doll.” “Well, I have a secret. Your mom and I have decided to get you Crisper.” “Isn’t that what mommy used to make her eyes like a cat’s?” “Your mom says that girls in school sometimes make fun of your skin tone.” “I feel bad for the ones that make fun of me, because they don’t know any better. I like my skin because it’s dark and pretty.” Midnight smirked. “Your mom says Crisper makes people beautiful.” She smiled. “Well, then I don’t need Crisper. I’m already beautiful.” For the first time in an eternity, Midnight looked at his daughter. She was more than beautiful. “You’re right. You’re gorgeous and you don’t need Crisper.” During the rest of the ride, Sasha told him about what she and the girls in the sandbox talked about. They had asked her where she was from and if they could touch her hair. They asked if she had a daddy. Then, they played. One of the girls said that she knew another girl that looked like Sasha. Were they sisters? Throughout Sasha’s story, Midnight watched how excited she was, reveled in how comfortable she was. He thought about what her mother would say about his deciding Sasha would not be getting Crisper. Then, he pushed the thought out of his mind and focused on the road ahead. ### The End
Emerald Star Written by Brandon Brawner DEDICATED TO AUNDRE BARNES I look into your eyes, With awe at what I see; Not just the eyes do I gaze, But the person standing before me. The Eyes of Emerald Beauty, With Love and tender care; And I can feel the sweetness, That flows within their stare. The Emerald Eyes are gorgeous, But there’s someone who’s inside; And that is someone special, A person who I’d confide. You are a beautiful person, This is known from near and far; Now it should be known – You are an Emerald Star! © Brandon Brawner 1996
At inception, this was supposed to be a classic Science Fiction novel. Now that I am several lightyears into it, I realize that this is turning into the tale of a hopelessly unsuitable love and a tribute to human passion instead. I theorize about a very distant, almost incomprehensible future, but always based on existing and solid research; there is no Fiction blended into the Science I cite and wherever appropriate I substantiate this claim with footnotes pointing at the prevalent state of the art and associated publications. Don’t be disappointed if I refuse to employ death rays or warp drives. No Physical Laws were harmed in the making of this novel! I toy with a multitude of cultural, religious and sociologic presumptions; pointing at their absurdity by elucidating them against the backdrop of a fictional world that discarded traditional terrestrial values; I also aim to contribute to two technologic debates:1. The feasibility of interstellar travel.2. Artificial Intelligence: Propitious potential versus latent risks. Some last minute disclaimers: If you blush easily, take offense at authentic language or if you are a staunch Creationist – don’t read any further! You most likely won’t enjoy what I have to say. And – as long as you are not ready to answer some rather specific questions around procreation – don’t pass this book on to your prepubescent kids; no matter how interested they are in space travel. Consider yourself warned!
In dedication to Dementia Awareness Week, Find Your Partner is a romantic, short story based in the 1960's. An elderly man recalls a teenage romance, which started in Middlesbrough's Astoria dance hall and after a series of dates flourishes into devotion for one another. Thir blossoming romance is trimmed away however, as the boy leaves unannouced on a seven month voyage around the world with the merchant navy. Realising his the scale of his mistake, he spends the journey depressed and down trodden, her absence leaves him sick to the core. When he returns, will she be there for him?
The way she changed my world is the way I look at life. It's beauty is every mornings blessing when I get to wake up to her kiss. She changed my sight of dark to light and now I can't get enough of that glorious slight... She's my morning cup of coffee and my kick start to a bran new day full of possibilities and dreams ready to be made.