Carl L Lane
English degree with a creative writing minor. Published in The Ampersand Review, The Bayou Review, etc. 2012 winner of The Fabian Worsham Creative Writing Prize. Also a member of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.
- Top Story - November 2023
Too BlackTop Story - November 2023
I was pretty dark, even for a black kid, and the Texas sun I grew up playing in didn’t move me any closer to what the TV and the magazines said was beautiful. In elementary school, I was the constant subject of children’s jokes that began, “You’re so black that…”
- Second Place in Chapters Challenge
Mourning the Mother I Never KnewSecond Place in Chapters Challenge
I sometimes wake up feeling that my mother has visited me in the night. I have memories of a shrouded figure just standing quietly and watching me sleep, or a pair of kind eyes appearing out of the darkness. I don’t know if it’s true or even possible; I’m not a religious person, so there is no built in belief of such things. Perhaps it’s just me wishing I had another chance to spend time with her, to laugh with her, tell her that I love her. Maybe I need to apologize to her. Maybe I need to tell her that I forgive her.
Being homeless and alone at 16 made me stronger than a life of privilege ever could
I'd grown up being sort of passed back and forth between the families of my drug-addicted mother and my sporadically present father. I found myself homeless at sixteen, hoping to make it through the last couple years of high school and somehow find a way to college.
The Beauty of The Broken Heart
I once had a girlfriend of two years who left me for another man. She said I was a starving artist, and she couldn’t even imagine me filling the metaphorical fridge. He was practical, realistic, came from a family that owned stuff. She was leaving, she said, because it was simply time for her to go. When she went into what was then our former bedroom to pack, it was right before I had to get ready for work at an Italian restaurant where I was waiting tables, and I cried big, plump tears as I ironed my shirt.
The Sweetest Things
In the hood, on good, clear days, when it wasn’t too hot outside, groups of pretty girls would put on shorts and lotion their legs, and take leisurely walks through the neighborhood together, just to pass the time; driving young boys insane with the discovery of themselves. On some days, not as often, but with their own quiet regularity, the two men would take that same walk.
Everything is Beautiful
He had gone into the garage and cried when the power went out the night before. Jason had hidden his tears, having no right to shed them. But something within him had been broken when the power went out as the winter storm blew into Houston like a slap to the face, after a year had passed since he'd been laid off from his sommelier job due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His little girl, Hope, had only been able to continue having a roof over her head and food to eat, because her mother, his wife, his good woman, was able to do her work from home.
The Preacher in The Garden of Evil
The preacher is on Thursdays, after bible study. I've been going since the year I turned sixteen. He tells me to go around to the back door of the church, where there is a green lightbulb for the porch light. But don't knock, he says, and when the last car has pulled away and there is only the big black one left, he pulls the door open and points me to his office. By now I know just where it is, but still, he points.
Keisha and The Bull
Walking down Broadway with her mother, Keisha saw him for the second time in her short life. The first time had been the winter before when he had defied the snow, and icicles hung from his opened mouth like fangs. They said he had been there, in that same spot, on Broadway, near Wall Street, since before she was born. He had not moved, not one inch, since they put him there. But his body was a mass of movement.