29-year old ERIC PAYNE began writing at the age of 7 when he wrote, produced and co-directed a play based on Charlie Brown and the Peanuts comic strip for his 2nd grade class. His work has appeared in print and online publications such as Timbooktu.com, Fyah.com and Papyrus as well as various poetry anthologies. He graduated from Cornell and Binghamton Universities for undergraduate and master's degree programs in psychology respectively, and is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Eric currently lives in New York City. He has held a range of jobs as a construction worker, an insurance salesman and claims adjustor, an auditor, a sales rep for an AM radio station and a managing editor at an Internet company.
It took several of Eric's friends along the way to inform him that he was a writer. He hated English classes growing up and initially didn't consider literature and poetry as something that black men did. During his sophomore year in college, he began keeping a journal. He kept on writing until he completed the journal and went on to fill three notebooks with poems and short stories exploring the job hunting and dating blues that he met upon entering the real world. He then enrolled in the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City. It was when his teacher invited him back to take an advanced class that he finally accepted what his friends and family had been telling him all along.
Presently Eric is working as a freelance writer while working to make his first fiction novel into a publishing reality.
Trade Paperback, 124pages
iUniverse.com, March 2001, $10.95
refreshing to read a black man's naked words. There is no hype here, just
pure, raw emotion that captures your attention and rocks you like a...dare I
say it'LOVER. Mr. Payne's work is an intimate one! Buy the book ' read it
over coffee, on the train to and from work or better yet ' take it to bed
'Bernice L. McFadden, author of Sugar and The Warmest December
Unashamed reflection and self-discovery, i see through eyes is in its 2nd printing as an expanded collection of narrative poetry and short prose. It explores the growing pains and celebrations of a young black man. From start to finish Eric Payne weaves a lyrical tapestry exploring and poking fun at themes usually ignored or kept secret by black men. He leaves no rocks unturned in his examinations of male vulnerabilities born out of racism & rejection, relationships & romance ' both failed & realized, and the eventual joy that comes with self discovery and loving God.
I shake the dust
It's not discouraging however,
VARIATION ON THE PHONE CALL
Three days pass and I receive a call. It's her. She sounds totally different from when we spoke before. She's cool as she sends her voice through the phone. She apologizes for everything. For not being up front with me. For not communicating with me. For neglecting me. I don't think I deserve everything she's offering to me, but I take it anyway. She tells me that she wants to make it up to me. She tells me that she wants to make it up with me. And then she asks if she can come by my spot.
'When?' I ask.
'How does ten o'clock sound?'
Words of agreement slip out of my mouth. I look around at the mess that my apartment has become. She takes down my address and asks for directions. Then she changes her mind, deciding to take a cab from where she's at in Brooklyn. After I hang up with her, I pause for a moment to listen to my heartbeat. It's pace begins to quicken inside me. I feel it thumping against my ribs. Pushing my blood more forcefully to my brain and lifting the flood gates that damn up my emotions. I look around again at my surroundings. A newspaper here. A pile of laundry fresh from the dryer sits down from me at the other end of the couch. I don't have much time.
The heated and liquefied wax begins to ease itself slowly down the length of the candles. The warm glow comforts me as I await her. Jasmine and lavender smolder from unknown places that only I know about. They scent the world that I create for her. The doorbell buzzes seven minutes after ten. I light the last candle and watch the match burn down. I blow on it softly, rendering its harsh flame into nothing more than the smoke of a memory. The light from the candle laps hungrily at the air as it breathes new life. A rhythm plays softly and slowly across the living room. I take one, then two, then about six more steps to the front door and I let her in.