A Beacon of Light


sketch by: JustPaperKid

As a writer I am involved in a social structure that consists of many talented artists, most of whom agree that some of the most beautiful, ingenious masterpieces have stemmed from tragedy.  However, my friends and acquaintences become obsessed with discussing/posting about nothing but the tragedies of this world, ignoring the beautiful and the good.

Lucky for me I stumbled upon a ray of sunshine in Tonya Mcoy’s sublime coverage of the everyday miracles that drastically impact this planet for the better.  It is her job to extract the joy of art, music, community and transcribe the metaphysical; a job she does well.  She has covered artists like Laura Wattles (JustPaperKid) who has created work for Aerosmith, Oprah Winfrey and Al Roker.  Miss Mcoy also has the distinguished honor of sharing the talents of artists who create art of a different nature.  For example, in “A Garden of Hope” (@Urban Magazine, March Issue) she explores a homeless shelter in Atlanta that, with help from the community, created a community garden, where the homeless don’t just feed their bellies, but their pride and self-worth as well.

A writer like Tonya is the very definition of “A Beacon of Light” as she sheds light on the everyday struggles, defeats and victories of talented artists and people who fight to make this world a better place.

For more work by the artist JustPaperKid

For “10 Years With The Poser” and other articles by Tonya Mcoy


Men in the Company of Women: A Provocative Anthology of Praise and Persuasion


Without certain women in my life I wouldn’t be where I am today.  I can’t tell you how honored I am to be a apart of this wonderful project.  Old, young, skinny, large, beautiful, ugly, angelic, demonic women are studied with a creative eye in this anthology written exclusively from the male perspective on the finer sex.

Excerpt from “The Trembled Evening”  by Jay Maul

The bright grayness is almost strange, as if the sun has melted and become particles of soft woolen light floating around her in the mist that turns everyone into wet-haired ghosts.

Her favorite is the Gemini tree.  It is nothing special, nor is the house it guards, but she loves the vision of twin trunks sprouting from one under-earth acorn for centuries more.  She looks up at the leaning twins, seemingly wanting to embrace her like a tall, caulicle mother.  She envisions their death: one of them gets sick and in the storm-night’s violence the weight of its dying body brings them both down.

Near the end of the walk is the silence park.  It’s a tiny park, tucked between a cul-de-sac and a parking lot.  She seeks sanctuary in this sacrosanct lot, but a man who lurks beyond the wall that separates her stronger self from the shell that once was shocks her with his presence.

He’s come to ask for forgiveness for leaving her with their dead child.

The rest of this story and many more creative, wonderful works celebrating the dynamic essence of women can be purchased here.  Thank you all for your support.

Winter River


“Land 2” Watercolor

by T Smith Knowles

What do you think the stars are made of?” Lilly asked me as we lay in the snow on the bank of the river that ran behind the houses we had lived in for most of our young lives.

“Your eyes,” I replied.

Her giggles were crystalline snowflakes on the eyelashes of angels.  “No, they’re made of hydrogen and helium undergoing nuclear reactions so violent it’s like if earth were undergoing a nuclear war.”

“My heart undergoes a nuclear reaction every time you kiss me.”

“Oh shut up.”

We kissed.

We let the silence relish the moment.  “What do you think is out there?” she asked me.  “We’re so small, even this earth is just a speck of dust in the vast expanse of universe.”

“You’re thinking in physical terms,” I replied.  “The impact of your laughter cannot be measured by all the scientific instruments in the world.  Just one of your tears is deeper than this river, than all the oceans in the world.”

She rolled her eyes upward, in the direction of her frosty breath.  “Where do you come up with this stuff?”

My eyes zeroed in on hers and held them captive.  “I don’t ‘come up’ with anything.  It’s already there.  Your very being gives birth to the words and then they just wait for me to reach out and pluck them from the air.”

I had just turned eighteen.  She was about to turn sixteen.  It may seem scandalous, but we were in love.  We fooled around with each other, but no sex.  Neither one of us had parents that gave a damn about us.  In fact the whole town would rather not even acknowledge our existence.  Well, not the whole town.

I immediately went on the alert when I saw a group of figures emerge from the woods.  “Come on, let’s go,” I said.

But it was too late.  The raucous laughter of the hunters stopped as they noticed us.  “Well, well, well,” one of them said.  The hair on the back of my neck rose as I recognized the voice.  Billy Morgan.  He harbored an irrational hatred for me.  “Two starstruck lovers out on a winter stroll, huh?”

“W-we were just heading back,” Lilly stammered.

“Oh were you?”  My heart dropped as he lowered his rifle and pointed it at us.

“Billy, what are you doing?” one of his fellow hunters asked.

Read More 

Like A Sleeping Child


Photo By: T Smith Knowles

My words broke the trembling silence: “It fills me with such beauty, such mystery.”  I spoke of the heavy fog that creeped along the tree covered mountains.

Blood had turned my sweet Dalia’s hair into mass of sticky red goo. With a look of loss in her eyes she turned to me.  But she said nothing.  That is, her mouth issued no sound, but her look gutted me with a sword of incredulousness.

Stupidly I continued: “Death…is a door to a mystery. Perhaps a beautiful one.”

“You don’t know that for sure.” Her voice was choked with blood, with horror, with an unstoppable descent toward into insanity. The sound of it made me want to cry, for there was nothing I could do to take her pain away.

And that was the worst part: the not knowing.   Not knowing whether the fog was isolated to our little hometown, whether there would be outside help, some sense of hope, or if the country, no the world, was already enveloped in unspeakable evil.

(Check out the rest of the story absolutely free, no sign up required at http://www.helium.com/items/2395500-like-a-sleeping-child)




Full Wish Pt. 6



After exhausting themselves, Sika laid out the plan as she lay in the Aylea‘s embrace. Then she rose and disappeared into the bathroom. When she reappeared she was still a little flushed from their amorous excursion, but her appearance was almost as pristine as when they first met. Aylea guessed she must be able to afford an Auto-Makeover Bathroom in every hotel she stayed in. Aylea would’ve been tempted to try it herself if the situation were different.

Sika said she had business to attend to and would return in a day or two. But their plan would carry forward from there. She was very business-like except for the small kiss she planted on Aylea’s lips. “Make yourself at home,” she said. “The bed is quite exquisite.”

Aylea stayed on the couch, cooling from their passion. She thought about how Jamison must know she was born a female, though he never said anything about it. One night they had gone to his house to work on a project, as was usual since it was on her way home from work. It was also usual for them to have a few drinks, but that night they had more than a few. Jamison started reliving his glory days, when he used to wrestle in college. Aylea, or Jake Liverpool, as he knew her, fueled with the fire of whiskey, challenged him. “I only wrestle bare-chested and in shorts” Jamison retorted.

So she borrowed a pair of his shorts and they wrestled. Though she was stronger, he had more technique. At one point, he had her trapped. Her knees were on the ground, pressed against her chest. He was on top of her. She could feel his bulge against her muscular rump. Then, she felt his hand slide up her thigh and touch the tip of her member. She jumped. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” she cried in alarm. They stared at each other, still heaving from the physical exertion. “I-I’m just not-I’m not wh-wh-wh-” in her nervousness she couldn’t decide whether to say “who” or “what” so she said, “I’m not whoat you think I am.”

He stared at her and she thought maybe for a moment he’d catch a glimpse of the woman behind the male façade. In fact, when he’d initially touched her, part of her shock came from the fear that it wasn’t going to be a man’s groin that he’d get a handful of. Finally he apologized and got up to make two more drinks. “Hey,” he said, “Please don’t mention this to anyone at the office. It’s not that I care if they know I like men. Can you believe at one time people were persecuted for who they chose to sleep with? Fucking barbarians.”

He brought the two drinks. She was calm now, but still wary. He sat close to her without touching her. The sweat on her hairy chest dried in the cool air. “If it were up to me, after every closing deal, we’d sit around and have an old-fashioned circle jerk.“

Aylea couldn’t contain her burst of laughter.

“I’m serious,” he said with a smile on his face. “Ladies and guys welcome. Just turn down all the lights, let it all hang out and relieve all the tension.”

Aylea couldn’t get a swallow of booze down her giggling throat. “Like a congratulatory pat on the back?”

“Yeah. But seriously. You know what a shark pool that place is. I don’t want them knowing that I…that I…care for you. I don’t want them knowing I have a weakness. They’ll exploit it. But please know, Jake-” Jamison put a hand on Aylea’s forearm and looked deep in her eyes, “I’ll never let my feelings get in the way of our professional relationship.”

From then on Jamison never hinted at knowing her true gender, but every now and then she caught a look from him, one that seemed to be able to discern that her actions had confirmed what he knew. He kept his promise of not letting his feelings jeopardize their professional relationship. In fact, he was the one who helped her meet Trinity. It was two months later and, being too hot to play football, they decided to hit the basketball court. There were kids on the bounce-ball court next to them, leaping off the rubber ground, deflecting off the dome of backboards, bouncing the basketball off of as many backboards as possible before sinking it in the hoop for extra points.

Both Aylea and Jamison preferred the old-fashioned court, pinning each man’s physical capabilities against each other. Trinity had been jogging around the park, distracting Aylea from her opponent. Her game became even worse when Trinity stopped at the court to stretch. Trinity’s skin was bronze, contrasting her blonde, bobbed hair. She was tall and lanky. The elongated muscles in her stretching legs made Aylea’s loins ache.

Jamison noticed her pain. “Hey Jake, think fast.” He made as if he was going to throw the ball right at Aylea’s face. She flinched and in that second he threw the ball just past her shoulder. It’s bouncing path lead right toward Trinity, who was bent over in full stretch, not noticing the ball was coming right for her. It hit her right in her little flat butt. She gave a little squeak and stood up, her brow furrowed in the cutest look of shock and surprise that Aylea had ever seen.

“I’m sorry, my friend is an asshole,” Aylea apologized.

“It’s okay,” Trinity smiled. “Who’s winning?”

Aylea looked back at Jamison, who was practicing his freethrow.

“Ah, he is. He’s much better at basketball than I am. But I can kick his ass in football. He can’t take the physicality of the sport.”

Trinity laughed, but said nothing in return. Aylea knew she had to keep the conversation going or the proverbial fish was going to swim away. “How long have you been running?”

“Oh. Oh gosh, probably forever. I used to run track in high school.”

“So I bet you’re one of the lucky ones that can eat a lot of carbs and stay skinny, huh?”

They stayed on the conversation of food, which led Aylea into the closing question: “I don’t know if you like Indian food, but a really good restaurant opened near my place. Would you like to go, sometime?”

Trinity wrinkled her button shaped nose. “I hate Indian food. I love just sitting at home with a movie and some chinese take-out.”

“Coincidentally, a really good Chinese take out place just opened up…”

It was their first shared laugh. “I’d love to,” Trinity said, wiping the humurous tears from her eyes. She touched her zebra-striped wrist band to Aylea’s gold wrist band, instantly transferring her phone number. “I’m free Saturday night, if you are.”

The attraction was strong and mutual. They had sex on the first night, spilling containers of lo-mein and crab ragoon on Aylea’s marble floor. It took Aylea only a week and a half to make her confession.

“Not to offend, but I thought maybe you could be, you know, open-gender.” Aylea was offended, but Trinity continued, “You’re very good in bed, and I think it’s not just because of your… uh, strength, but the your insatiable passion as well.”  Aylea didn’t know what to say.  But Trinity, an angel of empathy, put her hand on Aylea’s hand and said, “Why don’t you take the suit off and let me experience all of you.”

The Disaster Sisters


Three exquisitely diverse ladies stood on the shore of the tiny island with their arms crossed as Randy approached from the ocean.

Isn’t this just lovely? Randy thought as he waded up to the women.

“How did you get on this island?” the cinnamon colored woman asked.

“I doggy-paddled. No, bitch, I was in a fucking boat that’s at the bottom of the fucking ocean right now.”

“How did you survive after your ship crashed into the rocks?”

“What do you mean? My ship has been long gone. I’ve been drifting on a raft for three days and all of a sudden I heard Donna Summers floating on the wind. I started paddling in the direction of the voice. Was that you guys?”

“It was, honey. Did you like it?” the ebony woman batted her eyes at Randy.

“Sure, it was fabulous. Say, is that a pack of cigarettes over there? You really got a pack of smokes on this shit-sandwich?” Randy went over to the pile of what looked like trash, but as he rummaged he saw it was men’s personal effects. He kept an eye out for the shady women until he found a match and took his first drag in seventy two hours. “Oh God, that feels so good. Say, who are you ladies and what are you doing with a pile of dead men‘s belongings?”

“We’re the sirens. You’re the first man to step foot on this island and not fall at our feet.” the cream-colored girl pouted.

Randy waved a hand. “Ha! You Neapolitan ladies are scrumptious with your chocolate, vanilla and strawberry appeal, but you are barking up the wrong tree. The last vagina I touched was the day I was born, and I have not looked back. Besides, the whole sitting-on-a-desert-island-waiting-to-destroy-men-thing is so passé.”

“Are you judging us?” all three asked.

“Oh honey, no. I’ve wrecked many a man’s life. I’m just saying you could do so much better for yourselves. Live in penthouses while men below destroy themselves for you. I tell you what, you get me off this island and we’ll take New York together. I live in a dump right now, but with looks like yours we won’t need money. I’ll show you how to manipulate men, and you cut me in, deal?”

Randy and the sirens left the island that night. When they landed in New York, Randy kept his word. He and the sirens were squished in his basement apartment for only a couple weeks before Randy helped each woman land themselves a gullible fish. The sirens are actually kind of famous now. This writer is not at liberty to mention their names, but one had a reputable acting/singing career. The second purposely leaked a sex tape of her with someone famous and landed her own reality show. And the third made a moderate career of politics, despite the photographs of her holding a machine gun, wearing a skimpy bikini and a man-killing smile.

(This and 3 of my other short stories will be published in the upcoming anthology “Men In The Company of Women” by Edgar Allen Poet publishers.  More info soon!)

Full Wish Pt. 5


In darkness Aylea slept, despite fear and confusion. When she woke she was in a hotel room draped in pure white with silver accents. Two large men dressed in black tuxedos were watching her. One nodded to the other. The second rose, walked over to a white door and knocked on it.

Senator Sika Sullivan walked through the door. Aylea was only mildly interested in politics, but she knew who Sika Sullivan was. She was a force to be reckoned with. Her charm was as radical as her ideas. The media kept her under constant criticism for her aggressive handling of political affairs, but the voters loved her. And Aylea knew that when it came to women, the word “aggressive” was often interchangeable with the word “assertive.” Sika’s black hair was tied up, shimmering under the hotel room’s white light. Two strands of silver hair hung down on either side of her temples, the tips blending in with the silver robe that all Senators wore. Her waist sash was golden, her shoulder sash plush purple. Aylea wasn’t sure exactly what the different colors meant, but she did know those colors were of the highest regard. Aylea wasn’t sure if her jaw literally dropped, but something betrayed her shock. The senator’s eyes sparkled like a dominant animal that commands the jungle.

With hardly a look from the senator, the two men were dismissed. Sika did not speak until they were gone. “Stand and undress, please.”

“I-I-” was all Aylea could stammer out.

In a small fluid motion, the senator undid her sash and her robe slid down her body into a shiny pool on the floor. She was a beautiful blend of Asian and Caucasian. Her shoulders were slender, but strong, her hips full and curvy. Her breasts invited soft secrets whispered with wanting. Her arched back magnificently curved down to a small, yet fully round butt.

“And if I don‘t?” Aylea tried to sound defiant, though she was in awe of the senator’s eye-seducing body.

“Nothing. You’re free to go.”

“So you’ll cast me out to the wolves as a fugitive escaped from justice.”

“There’s nothing I can do. Besides rally for your release.” Of all the naked people she’d argued with, Sika was by far the most graceful.

“It’s bullshit!” Aylea yelled, already feeling naked inferiority, though she was the one fully dressed. “It’s all bullshit! The constitution has never been anything but a joke, a doormat for people like you to trample on.”

“I know. But if you want to be a part of my plan I need to be able to trust you. The only way I can know for sure I can trust you is if I know you trust me. Now, if you don’t mind, take off your clothes, please.”

Aylea opened her mouth to object. The senator cocked her head. Aylea closed her mouth and unzipped her jacket. She took off her tank top, then dropped her shorts. The senator circled around the muscular body. She ran a hand down the cleft of Aylea’s mountainous shoulders. Aylea shivered. The senator came around the front. “Stay still, please,” she said, her face inches from Aylea’s. The senator reached down and gently took hold of Aylea’s penis. Despite her discomfort, she could not control the slight hardening. The senator held her professional demeanor, but she wasn’t shy about showing her approval. “Very nice,” she said as she stepped away. The senator leaned against the back of the white hotel couch. “Technology is such a marvelous thing, isn’t it?”

Head bowed, Aylea nodded.

“Now, now. Don’t pout. It ruins that handsome face. I know this isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you were planning your future, but I promise that if you play along a little longer, you won’t be disappointed. Now, I want you to take off the suit.”

Aylea stared at the senator. She wanted to rip the smug look off her face. She wanted to pin her to the ground and crush her esophagus under her large foot. She wanted to give up. She wanted to go home and crawl in her bed and take a nap with Trinity, and a tiny baby that smelled like fresh milk. But Trinity was a traitor. Trinity demolished all of Aylea’s dreams and left her with this.

With her right arm, Aylea reached under her left armpit and found the mechanism. It had to be turned three-quarters and then there was a switch above it that had to be flicked up. As soon as she found it, the image of the muscular man faded. Aylea’s face appeared, sweaty and defeated, peering out from a black suit interwoven with spaghetti-sized electric blue tubes. Aylea unzipped the suit from the back and peeled it off. Her skin was red in spots and covered in a sheen of sweat.

“You must be very athletic,” the senator noted.

Aylea nodded.

“Tell me, why would you want to wear the suit everyday when you can get a one-time operation?”

She had never explained this to anyone before. Only a handful of people knew she was open-gender, and they were so close to her she didn‘t need to explain herself. “I like changing back and forth. I like that when I’m Jake Liverpool no one can find Aylea. And when I’m Aylea no one can find Jake. Haven’t you ever felt like you were two people in one body, senator?”

The senator laughed. “You’re smart as well as athletic. It will take someone strong to carry out the next portion of my plan.” Sika moved toward Aylea again. This time Aylea wasn’t as intimidated as she was tense with anticipation. The sweat started again. Sika ran a slender finger down Aylea’s wet bicep. “You seem very, very strong.”

Sika looked Aylea in the eyes, all of her charisma pouring into her. Sika let her hair down. The silky blackness cascaded down to her shoulders. Aylea had a quick flash in her mind: a mental picture of her holding Sika’s hand on a warm summer night as they snuggled on the couch that sat on her parents porch in Scarlet, Massachusetts. An innocently beautiful fantasy.

Aylea grabbed the senator by both her arms and kissed her furiously before pushing her backward. They tumbled onto the white leather couch, flesh caressing flesh.  The senator had stripped her of everything, inviting her to enjoy her feminine splendor.

Long Live Bosko The Sock Monkey











I don’t know about stories, but I certainly have memories.  When I first started at the Big Apple Circus, he was the Spot Captain.  After a few months he was promoted, so I took his spot.  I knew it was big shoes to fill, but I wasn’t scared because I knew he was right there to guide me.

I remember riding the bike trail in Dulles, Virginia with him.  We had a show later that day so we had to turn around, but we almost made it the 20 miles to D.C.  He could’ve made it, but he had to keep stopping and waiting for my slow ass.  He still had the Nishiki at the time.  I was honored when he sold it to me, and I’m honored to say I use it often, as it is an excellent way to get around town.

I remember when he taught me to make sock monkeys.  All these tough gangster wanna-be dudes would walk into the cookhouse and see us two grown men sewing dolls and they’d be like, “What the hell are you doing?”  And Tchaka would be like, “If you can sew a sock monkey, you can sew a wound.”

We had headsets that we’d communicate to each other with during the shows.  Often I’d become bored and one day I decided to make nicknames for everyone.  The spot op to my left was “Jameson” because he dropped a brand new bottle of Jameson and shattered it.  The spot op to my right was “Iceman” because he was Russian.  Our boss was “Mother” because “You don’t want to make Mother angry.”  Tchaka was “Short Bus” for obvious reasons.  I didn’t know what to name myself, but Tchaka said, “For the PBS documentary I’m going to buy you a pirate’s hat with a giant sequenced skull on it and call you ‘Captain Sparkles.'”  The guys thought it was fucking hilarious and the name stuck.

I remember when he got his short bus.  He let me ride in it from Queens to Long Island because it still had seats in it.  People in other cars stared at us, so I put on one of Tchaka’s bike helmets and acted “Special.”  It was cool.  When we got to BAC headquarters in Walden, I’d go to the warehouse late at night to shower, and Tchaka would be in there, working on the bus.  When people ask me what the circus is like, I always tell them about the guy who gutted a short bus and installed bamboo flooring, track lighting, custom-carved cabinets, computer desk, etc.

One time the Head Electrician threw us a party.  Every time we’d go through a bottle of Tequila, Raul would come out, crack another bottle, and put in Tchaka’s arms.  I went light on the drinking and was the only one to show up to work on time the next day.  Our boss told me to go get the rest of the guys.  I went to Tchaka’s room (he didn’t have the bus at the time) and knocked on the door.  One of our spot op’s shirts was hanging on his dresser because the previous night Tchaka had been standing up next to the guy who was sitting, and vomited all over him!  I didn’t know this, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to make a gay joke at his expense.  I pointed at the shirt and said, “Oh, it was that kind of night, huh?”  “Fuck you, Jay,” he retorted.  “Hey, just because one Mexican made you sick (referring to Jose Cuervo)  doesn’t mean you have to take it out on this Mexican”

Every town we went to, BAC would hire temporary workers.  It’s a shame that it’s so hard for a person to get a full-time job nowadays, but one look at most of the temps that come through, and you can tell most of them don’t want to work at all, and love temporary work, because it is exactly what it is: temporary.  Anyway, we had these two mammoth-sized temps.  One of them starts yelling at the other: “You ain’t doing shit!  You’re doing absolutely fucking nothing!”  So they get into a fight and I look over and Tchaka is in the middle.  Tchaka is not a small guy, but at that moment he looked like a mouse between two elephants.  And Tchaka’s like, “Look, I know it’s tough, but everyone’s doing their time.  Everyone’s working, then we’re all going home, okay?”  And these two gigantic humans just turn and walk away.  If i had half as much bravery as Tchaka has in his left testicle, I’d be one courageous nut.

Time in the circus is not like real time.  A day feels like a week.  A week feels like a month.  A month feels like a year.  I spent two and half years serving as his Spot Captain.  I could do a hundred more.  Though I left the circus and resigned my official title, I will always and forever be Captain Sparkles.

A co-worker played this the other day.  It came from Tchaka’s music library.  I think it’s very fitting.