The morning air still smelled of smoke. Wood ash mainly but there was also the acrid stench of burnt plastic and paint. And even though I knew it couldn’t be true, I thought I caught a whiff of putrid flesh from under the rubble across the street. The hardware store and Bernard’s Stationery Store were both completely gutted. The Gonzalez Market had been looted but only a part of its roof had been scorched. The corner building, however, Lucky Dime Liquors, had been burned to the ground. Manny Massman was down in the rubble with his two sons, kicking the metal fixtures. At one point the middle-aged store owner lowered his head and cried. His sons put their hands on his shoulders.
~ From Little Scarlet, Walter Mosley
I’m free but I’m focused, I’m green but I’m wise
I’m hard but I’m friendly, baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing, I’m brave but I’m chicken shit
I’m sick but I’m pretty babyAnd what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
I worry, I weigh three times my body
I worry, I throw my fear around
But this morning
There’s a calm I can’t explain
The rock candy’s melted, only diamonds now remain
By the time I recognize this moment
This moment will be gone
But I will bend the light pretending
That it somehow lingered on
In night time we cry, we say we born and raised to be free people and now we slave. We doan know why we be bring ‘way from our country to work lak dis. It strange to us. Everybody lookee at us strange. We want to talk wid de udder colored folkses but dey doan know whut we say. Some makee de fun at us.
~ From Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston
I’m taking my time with a book and, for the first time, I’m enjoying it. I usually abandon books that take me too long to get through, but Michael Chabon peppers his story with sentences I have to stop and think about. It’s exhilarating.
She is getting old, and he is getting old, right on schedule, and yet as time ruins them, they are not, strangely enough, married to each other.
The Russian’s shoulders hunch, and he ducks his head, and his rib cage swells and narrows. It looks like laughter, but no sound comes out.
For an instant he handles the bones, horn, and leather of the old man’s hand.