Tasting Tears

(Continues from Tantalizing)

I tasted her misery on the wind.
It was wet with a sense of things ending.
In the gathering dusk where life begins,
a baby’s tears taste like peppered shirring.

From keep away signs to a sailless boat,
My search for stories leads to a scapegoat. 

There she huddles, dressed in white the salt spray made translucent. But the sight fails to arouse me. I pity the poor creature. She turns her back on the sun breaking through the clouds as black birds caw and circle. Maybe they’re vultures waiting for the maiden with streaked mascara to die.

Hers is a sad story. An immigrant’s tale of woe and one I struggle to understand. She speaks no language I can understand. In life, I learned few and in death none at all. Who needs speech when the mind can pierce all veils?

Concentrating hard on the girl, I tease images from the tumult. The dry taste of red wine, a spicy bite of sausage melts on my tongue and a sip of a sweet latte washes it all down. Her tears are turmeric. Her grief’s curried over a bed of bitter greens as she lays herself out on a grassy patch to wait. For the final feast, she’s prepared. She’s got a bun in the oven, and an illegal stash wedged up where the sun doesn’t shine.

When the wind pushes me away, sending me back to my search, she’s stinking like a mule rotting from the inside. And it’s time I moved on. Her story failed to save her. How could it save me?

Find the earlier parts of this series here.

For OctPoWRiMo, 31 poems in 31 days–all part of one story. Watch me do it.
All 31 prompts are pictured below.



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42 thoughts on “Tasting Tears

  1. The way you depicted the girl’s story, I could practically see it rotting and I could feel her desolateness. Well done, Melinda!

    BTW, I discovered recently that I have some sort Kindle App on my Macbook, so I downloaded your book πŸ˜€ (the free chapters for now) and I’m making my way through them. Super vivid imagery from paragraph 1! lol

    Liked by 1 person

              1. No I don’t have anything published yet. I’ve got three books written and on partially written. One is with an editor but it’s about 8 years (and 4 million revisions) since I last tried sending something to a publisher.

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                1. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one with multiple books written or partially so. I didn’t try the publisher route even though an editor told me I should. She said my book was what they’re looking for but I it’s better for an author to build his/her own fab base and let the publishers come to him/her. I’ve also read that publishers don’t market their authors well or enough. I can see why they don’t. Marketing is hard work

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                  1. I do remember last time I looked at some publishers they wanted an established fan base and wanted the author to have their social media all managed and controlled. Although self publishing at the time wasn’t as big I figured if I have to do all the hard work for getting the book out there I didn’t need a publisher I just needed a printer.

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                    1. I tend to ignore social media, I was thinking about self publishing a few months back but after talking to an editor I realised there is a lot more I can do before I worry too much. I could release them as is and they may well sell but I know I can do better so I’m going to do better.

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                    2. The first completed book I over edited. I’ve still got the first draft here but haven’t got the inclination to get it somewhere between draft one and the over edited v3 that I once sent to a publisher. The one I’m working is being edited, rather than reading and changing this edit is about padding and no padding. More so forgetting the word count and just adding meat where it’s needed and removing it where it’s not.

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                    3. Sounds like a good editing strategy. I went through mine and trimmed the fat. I wanted my book lean and all the cutting made the story move at a faster pace. I might have over edited it but I like how it turned it. How can you tell if a book is over edited? I ran across this podcast in my internet travels and wondered what your take on this is:
                      The second paragraph she edited is not grammatically correct but maybe that’s okay? I listened to 5 bestsellers this week and none of them had anything like the edits she made. (I love audio books. They keep me sane.)

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                    4. For me I knew it was over edited after the fifth edit and I was deleting bits I couldn’t explain well enough. eg I deleted a 5 page pole dancing sex scene in a book about payback and revenge because I’m male and can’t write sex scenes πŸ™‚ (there was a little bit more to it than that but that was a big reason for the deletion)

                      For me editing, podcasts about editing and even websites about editing nearly always contradict each other. They all say different things, offer different ideas and all claim they are right. I’ve only come across a couple of people capable of editing well who actually suggest the profession of editing is as much about personal preference as it is about being right.

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                    5. Thank you. I was thinking the same thing. I read a lot and often ‘hear’ things that should have been edited. (No, I’m not hearing voices. I am an audio book addict.) So I am glad to read your comment. I see what you are saying. Though, is the book better without the sex scene? Did the sex scene add anything to the story? If the answer is no, then you likely made the right decision to trash it. I skip the sex scenes in books. I prefer action sequences and great character moments.

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                    6. If I didn’t hear voices I’d have nothing to write πŸ™‚

                      For me when it comes to editing and wording because I think a lot of editors work on personal opinion and not actual right and wrong I tend to use one train of thought throughout a story or book and stick to it.

                      My problem with the sex scene had a lot to do with word count, the book is 135K words and while the sex scene worked to build the character I was trying to build it didn’t work because I think I explained it clumsily. It wasn’t hard core romance type sex scenes (like I say I’m male I can’t write that stuff πŸ™‚ ) it was just a very detailed scene that I think I struggled to explain

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                    7. less is more when it comes to sex scenes. I read a book yesterday that summed up the sex scene in two sentences leaving the reader to imagine the rest. And damn it if mind didn’t do just that. You could take that approach. My book beats yours length wise. Mine is 165K I think was the final word count. I cut out about 30K from it, maybe more. My main character leads a double life which makes it hard. I have to show both because they relate to the plot and he’s always doing something interesting. There’s one long sequence I could have cut but it’s fun to read (and imagine on a big screen). So I trimmed it and tweaked it a little here and there to make it integral to the plot.

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                    8. I needed my sex/pole dancing scenes to make the character disliked, the entire episode was all about making reader see how much the punishment was deserved by the end of the book. It was probably a little over done at five pages but the whole story was about making a dislike for two characters bad enough that when the final scenes played out no one felt sorry for them. There is a lot of anger in that book and there is no happy endings.

                      At one stage about 4 years ago I decided I wanted to get it published and tried hard to please publishers by changing bits and constantly editing and in the end I decided they wanted too much life edited from it with no guarantee that they would publish it. The constant opinion of 3 publishers I was talking to was that for a first novel 130K words was too long and they pretty much told me no publisher would take a new author unless it was a sure fire best seller with anything over 105k. So I walked away from them.

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                    9. Yeah publishers have strict word counts. What motivated you to write a story about unlikable characters who meet a bad end? If you hate your characters, the the reader will know. And it’s hard to read a book about characters the author doesn’t even like. Your book doesn’t sound like a fun read. But you should pursue it since you’re passionate about the story. You’d have to make sure your description let the reader know it’s not a happy tale. So those of us who like the bright side of the street will skip it. Otherwise you’ll end up with a lot of one star reviews and Amazon penalizes for those. If this book is your passion, you should pursue it. Are there any redeemable characters in this tale? Someone for the reader to like and identify with?


                    10. The whole idea of the book was pay back and revenge. It was never going to have a happy ending. I don’t necessarily dislike the character he was fun to write and even more fun to work out how to antagonise but I used to read a lot of books that don’t have happy endings. There is two characters who are doing the antagonising because they feel wrongly done by which people can like if they really want to but they are not the main characters. The original idea was to make the main character die but in the end he gets worse than that.

                      The book I’m currently editing has a similar feel, the entire book focuses on one character who ends up dead at the end because he did so wrong. If people want to feel for the torturers they can but they aren’t the main character.

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                    11. I don’t know what I’ll do with it yet. I haven’t given up on it but at the moment I’m editing a story I think is better and worth more time. Still not going to be roses and fairy tales but horror readers don’t want that sort of stuff.

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                    12. No they don’t. What’s the horror tale’s premise? Roses and fairy tales are hard to pull off. I like the main to end up in an okay place. HEAs aren’t always possible and they often come off as fake anyway. So I go for heartwarming. It’s makes for a satisfying end and it leaves room for the final twist. πŸ™‚


                    13. I don’t need a satisfying end in every book I read. Some end badly because they continue in later stories and some just end badly because they don’t need happy endings. I haven’t classified any of my novels in one genre, they play around with a few different genres but there is very little heart warming in my stories. The idea is to dislike the character because of what he did, because of what he continues to do and then when he dies the reader is not sad. If I do it right they actually end up being glad the guy is caught, killed or worse. If I do it really well I can even kill off a female character without the fem nazi’s telling me I’m picking on females (I had that happen to me with one of my stories about 10 years ago)

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                    14. Why does Stephen King write about evil things? Why did Richard Laymon write about evil people and creatures. Why was Jack Ketchum able to make some of the sickest and weirdest characters come to life. Books whether read or written are about escapism I don’t always want to escape into a world of fairy tales and unicorn farts, similarly I don’t want to escape into a world of make believe or romance.


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