Can’t Write Scared

dVerse~ Poets Pub OpenLinkNight #196


Can’t Write Scared

At university

the stoned poet said

“you can’t write scared”–

I continued

each word precisely penned

attuned to imaginary readers

whose lips curled derisively

on occasional lapses

of censorship.

I was an egg

concealed in a flimsy shell

like another half-dozen

cosseted caricatures

playing writer

spinning trite phrases

of sweet sounding words

imaginings of pink packaged

saccharine sentiment

but then I succumbed

to non-consumption.


On rebirth I cried

“you can’t write scared”

and I didn’t, for a while

developed succinct style

of hewn craft on drafts

pinched words like pennies

wanted bennies, not

in my twenties anymore.

Fear pervades the core

bores into the brain

insane unremarkable drivel

pours through pores

I wrote scared

but scarred surfaces

surge upward

like polished wood

trampled on daily

til frailty exists no more.



Sascha Darlington

(oops. I had farce in there, but deleted it.)



Review of Lola



by Melissa Scrivner Love


March 21, 2017

Blurb from Goodreads: The Crenshaw Six are a small but up-and-coming gang in South Central LA who have recently been drawn into an escalating war between rival drug cartels. To outsiders, the Crenshaw Six appear to be led by a man named Garcia . . . but what no one has figured out is that the gang’s real leader (and secret weapon) is Garcia’s girlfriend, a brilliant young woman named Lola.

Lola has mastered playing the role of submissive girlfriend, and in the man’s world she inhabits she is consistently underestimated. But in truth she is much, much smarter–and in many ways tougher and more ruthless–than any of the men around her, and as the gang is increasingly sucked into a world of high-stakes betrayal and brutal violence, her skills and leadership become their only hope of survival.

An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman who combines the genius and ferocity of Lisbeth Salander with the ruthless ambition of Walter White. Lola marks the debut of a hugely exciting new thriller writer, and of a singular, magnificent character unlike anyone else in fiction.


Lola is a gripping, character-driven mystery novel in which the title character, Lola, is caught in the middle when the Crenshaw Six are supposed to disrupt a drug buy that goes awry. Presumed to be the “girlfriend” of the leader of the Crenshaw Six, Lola’s life is put up as the motivation to rectify the busted deal.

I found Lola to be a compelling read, mainly because we’re in the head of a woman who is smart and observant and who is trying to compete in what has been predominantly a man’s world. She has to make tough decisions and be tough, knowing that to do otherwise would compromise her credibility.

But Lola isn’t the only tough, capable woman in Lola. There is also Andrea, a DA, and Mandy, the wife of an upscale drug dealer, Lorraine, the mother of a drug dealer, and Lucy, a child, who reminds Lola of herself and whom Lola tries to save from the life that made Lola who she is. In fact, it’s the women in Lola who are invariably multi-dimensional, whereas the men seem mostly unaware, guided by ego or sex or power.

While it was the comparison to Lisbeth Salander that brought me to this book, upon reading I didn’t observe much of Lisbeth Salander in Lola except for perhaps a detached grittiness. Lisbeth and Lola are on two different ends of a spectrum for this reader. In all of the ways that Lisbeth put herself on a particular fringe of a society via piercings, tattoos, and dress, Lola has put herself into its pockets as the unseen woman and it is here where she is successful.

If you’re looking for a page-turning, intriguing, well-paced novel, you might want to give Lola a go for something out of the ordinary.

I was won a copy from the Shelf Awareness giveaway, which in no way affected my review of this novel.

From AmazonLola

rating:  4-and-a-half (4 butterflies and a ladybug)





I jog down the steps, my eyes wet, I go to the river. The path runs long. The moon full, shines a long path on the deceptively calm water. Not much below the surface, the current kills, so swift. The gentle breeze chills, dampness fills every molecule. I feel it’s cold on my cheek.

I swerve between sitting on a boulder and running down the path. Every time I close my eyes, I hear him, his voice, his songs.

Everyone warned me. Musicians live different lives, abide by different rules.

He jabbed his skin, needle piercing. I saw the silver into pale.

He called me a coward when I rejected the syringe, but that was the least of what he said. On the edge I understood he wanted me to be needy, he wanted me to be equal to him as he faded into someone else.

In the water slurping, in the wind spiraling through leaves, I hear him on good days, clear voiced love songs wrapping around my heart. I imagine him the last time, fingers curling in his chest hair, ear pressed to hear the beat of his heart, his finger tracing my ear, so gentle, so beloved. He sang softly, his breath cinnamon, his words poetry.

Mine, he said, until.


S. Darlington