i've already contacted blogger about this site's questionable content.
How could I not respond to a tag from one of my favorite people in blogverse? (And it's about books, too!)
1. Pick up the nearest book.
The nearest book was sitting next to my foot on the bottom shelf of my computer desk, and I'm sure it reveals absolutely nothing about my seriously nerdy nature.
Wesley, Marilyn C. VIOLENT ADVENTURE: Contemporary Fiction by American Men. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P, 2003.
2. Open to page 123.
The 6th section of the book which falls into Part Three: Interrogation of Community. Page 123 is several pages into "Detecting Power: Ernest Gaine's A Gathering of Old Men and Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
This lesson takes shape, first, through a series of mentors who teach Easy about the levels and types of violent power and, finally, through an enigmatic woman whose mystery abrogates the conventional categories of his experience.
4. Post the next three sentences.
His process of detection does not result in a unitary moral code; rather, the acts of violence Easy encounters call forth a bewildering variety of ethical responses. Through the adventures and the ambivalence of the black detective, Devil in a Blue Dress and subsequent works in Rawlins series enact a principle Michel Foucault would recognize: that power, like law, is not an order to be retrieved but the contingent result of specific circumstances that black men may understand through violence and adapt to their own needs for respect and freedom.
If, as the saying goes, "Knowledge is power," it makes sense that the race and class in charge has sought to curtail its access.
I remember reading this section of the text the last time I was on a flight to London. And that makes me smile. References to Foucualt doesn't. I do like the point that Wesley makes here as this section wraps up about black detective fiction and the way it repositions the concept of "knowledge" to put black figures and sometimes communities into positions of power. Although, I prefer Chester Himes to Mosley any day of the week. (In fact, now that I think about it, I was also reading a Chester Himes novel on that same flight.)
5. Tag five people.
darling doodling andre
Goddam Right, you should be reading this blog
Colin (the most boring person I've ever not met)
The sweetest person ever: Mermatriarch
and last but not least, the Super Suburban Hen
she doesn't care.
imogen is self-deprecating and has major problems with: insecurity, black eye liner, dominance, red wine, co-dependence, potato chips, relationships, words, naked photographs, and personal responsibility. really all she wants is someone who will regularly do the washing up, doesn't mind doing the laundry (this includes actually putting the clothes away), and having sex with her on a fairly regular basis. imogen is a driven woman who used to have really high expectations. she's learned a lot of lessons. and, so, these days. she doesn't.
why are all your heroes born again white men. do you wanna be. my. hero. do you. do you. know. no. hero.
i'm wearing polka dots again. but for different reasons. watching dancing bears stare. bless. off with their heads. I declare.
do you wanna be. my. hero. do you. do. you. know. no. hero.
i'm getting high on counterclockwise thoughts.
i call his number seven times in the space of an hour. no answer. no surprise. no thought to time distance or fatigue. or where he might or might not be, at the moment. fall into the puddle-and-drown version of me. and even though i don't think that well in the first person. i wait for the tone. each time. calm. methodical. the ring. the break. the skinned knees and weired-out crazy no-good fucked-up version of me just keeps coming out. every. single. fucking. time. like a bad video that i want to delete, but. can't. seem. to. figure. out. how. to stop replaying. the last time, when i hear his voice, and i am tired and worn, of these days, i just sob--stupid and still--into the deafening tones of the silence of an in-box, probably now, too full. even to record. and with the reckoning that he probably won't even listen to. these random belligerent and strange long-many-messages. from someone he doesn't seem to know. at all. if it was. ever. love. to be sure. he would have answered. the fucking phone. no, i'm not playing at games of 'loves me' or 'loves me not'.
this time. seriously. i am. not. joking.
at 3:30 this afternoon, i promised myself that i would not spend the entire weekend getting incredibly fall-down drunk.
every chance. i've got.
there's three shots of chambord in the freezer, tucked next to the last of the rejection letters i've received and the torn-off head of a bad-memory monkey,
and absolutely no crisps in the house.
this wind screaming madness, lately, leaves me feeling unhinged. wishing for window sills. and second floor falls. and the un-satisfaction of being a fallible fuck. i don't even wonder anymore how i so slowly steadily migrate from being the everything to the nothing. the wrong thing. the slow driving mechanical tick of madness that makes everyone i've ever loved. love someone i never was. and never will be. and won't ever become. only to rip the screens down from the porch and to wreck up every single memory of you that ever was. scattered and lost in the scream of the mad. of the wind. to loose myself from the dream of the lie. when it comes.
i told myself not to forget to observe a very important day:
official pants day
because it is a very important day.
perhaps from here on out, as this is the second anniversary, we'll agree that the last official friday in april will forever and always be. when we celebrate.
i love you. xx
i've always made jokes about accidental babies
but now that i've met you
i'm making accidental animals
bought you something today.
because you are special. and she likes to make surprises.
imogen feels all smiles and childhood greediness.
go out with beautiful younger colleague who you adore and who wants to talk about everything and nothing and gets that you are weird and strange and wonderful.
talk too much about your husband and fantastic relationship you didn't think could ever exist your entire life until now.
have great buzzy conversations all night.
know that your husband is waiting for you, because you've had a shit time recently and you have a bad cold, and you are super tired and feeling generally crap, to tuck you into bed when you get home. and not scold you for staying out. or for having a couple of beers. and to tell you that you are amazing and the most wonderful thing he has ever seen.
it's not that hard.
it's really lovely, if you actually want it.
in the middle of a saturday work day, her husband calls.
are you guys drinking, he asks?
no, she half-laughs half-shouts into the phone.
we find this hilarious.
no, she says, we're talking about 19th century novels!
oooo, are you having a party?
uh, no, this is just my shopping for the week.
don't worry. i get that a lot.
i bought you a packet of cigarettes at the store. got home and placed them on top of the red bookshelf next to the door. and waited. i ordered them the wrong way. and had to try to remember the word: packet. they're sitting there. staring at me. and even though you don't even live here anymore. we get into a huge fight in my head about how i got the wrong kind. and i tell you to get the fuck out. and you slam all the kitchen doors. and mutter mean things about me when i start crying on the couch. and i tell you to get the hell out. and we break up again.
all i can figure is it's better than flowers. the soft. the scent. the intangible thing not easily cut and stored. nothing you could take a photo of. capture in a video and cue off your hard drive. to burn to a shiny disc that spins.
my partner is brilliant. he whispers over cocktail hour and the stupid petty conversations we have with people we'd rather not be talking to at that moment. at any moment. at this precise long night stupid rain soaked tired too much cheap white wrinkle your nose up wine drinking one. she says it with skin.
tired winking glances over glasses and knock-off perfume and the unforgettable way we fill spaces with the sound of the way no one ever understands a single thing we say. stuffed with full hands into pockets filled with shredded tissues and gum wrappers collecting bits of tobacco. to hold onto. for later.
i just watched a mother, in the cold pouring down rain, carrying her wrapped-up baby in her arms and pushing another small child in a stroller down the street.
earlier today, i took a 7 dollar cab ride just to get my hair cut.
or adventures in vodka
checker1 and 2 behind counter.
them. quietly to one another.
checker2: dude, check it. she's fuckin gorgeous.
checker1: yeah, she comes in all the time.
some chatter ensues that i can't quite make out. something about asses and the way i've tied up my hair.
checker2: does she have a boyfriend?
checker1: midunno. don't think i've ever seen her in here with anyone.
me (carrying 3 kaiser rolls, 1 bottle pickled brussel sprouts with garlic, and a small block of english cheddar): these please. and a bottle of smirnoff.
checker2: hey, do you, like, have a boyfriend?
me (looking stupidly at my wedding ring then back to checker2): uuhhh. a partner. yes.
checker1: where's he at?
me: ummm. [why am i even having this conversation.] uhhh, right now, [glance at watch] ummm, i guess, london.
somewhere in here i manage to pay for my items.
checker2: no shit? whoa, what's he doin there?
me (semi-tersely): [?!!!!?!!!] ummm, my husband's an artist. and he went there on business. and also, he's british.
checker1 to checker2 (shaking head): pfft. figures
me walking out. shaking my head.
checker2 to checker1: no shit man.
i said--youre being off with me and then he sad--i;m not being off withyou uyou your just too drnk to have a conversation[ then i hungg upt he phwne.
writinng this downw so i can remembre what he said in the morningf. ecuker.
note to self:
never, under any circumstances, let anyone take pictures of you naked.
not even if they've promised on their mother's lives (or other sacred things) that they love you with all their hearts and that they are going to marry you and that the two of you are going to be together forever.
i call her name across the front lawn when i see the jacket of my best friend walking down the street. a woman turns, not quite her. i say her name again with a question mark. she walks closer and shouts that's not my name. shakes her head. you drunk or somethin? she walks away.
i just wasn't wearing my glasses.
it's all your fault, he pouts into my front lawn. pulling the lowest hanging branches down with his balled fists. heavy like the last few days of april rain we've only this afternoon gotten a winking break from. in the few seconds it takes him to run full thrust toward his father already unlocking the front door with a key to the building in which we all must have lived for the past few months, he hits the floor boards behind my back. in probably unwitnessed dust-stained sneakers and too-early-seasoned baggy grey shorts. shoving his fits madly deeply into the dark corners of his pockets he softly, bravely, says, i didn't really mean it.
i know, sport, his would-be father says carrying a canvas grocery bag a lot like the one i borrowed from my best friend the other day when she picked me up on a rainy soaking afternoon when i was wrecked with the thought of being myself and walking home in the rain and shopping at the corner store. without you. i know. and all of a sudden
i miss my dad.
the way he used to eat cherries from a white ceramic bowl--from the tree in our back yard that no longer exists--with a thin red rim in summer. the gentle way he knew how to speak to a kid. like me. how the weight of his hand on mine on the way to school when i was six used to feel like some kind of gift no other kid in my class--or maybe the world--with their gaudy loud mothers could or would ever in their lives understand.
just now, standing in the sunshine. i heard a man shout Esmeralda . . . Esmeralda . . . shortly afterward a little girl dressed like a princess ran through my front yard waving a pink plastic wand. trailing laughter and brightly colored ribbons and bows through the afternoon sunshine. esmeralda i smiled into the open palm of my left hand. to catch the moment before it got sneaked away. i'd follow. wherever you are going.
last night. standing in the kitchen. i realized.
i haven't eaten one single crisp since i left england.