‘Boy’ by Bret Anthony Johnston
|July 15, 2011|
From The American Scholar:
Twist your fist when you connect and tear the other man’s skin; aim for the bridge of his nose, his throat; if there’s something heavy to swing–a pipe or board–pick it up before he does and lay him out; drive a truck with a manual transmission; carry a knife, sharpen the blade on wet stone; when buying cedar for a fence, look for knots and warps in the wood; when your son grabs an asp on a tallow limb, take the chewing tobacco from your mouth and press it to the sting; open doors for women and pay them compliments as they pass; make eye contact like a man and not like the coward you’re so bent on becoming; this is how you drive a nail; this is how you hitch a trailer and change a tire; this is how you run a horse; this is how you clean its hooves; always watch the other man’s chest, not his deceitful head; the chest can’t feign; is it true you cried when the tow-headed boy whipped you?; mow the yard in the morning and water at night; when a dog is dying, don’t hassle with the vet; feed him fried hamburger until he stops eating, then carry him into the cotton field; this is how you load a pistol; this is how you fire a pistol; this is how you clean the barrel after a pistol’s been fired; but he didn’t whip me and I didn’t cry; eat steak with yellow mustard, the same with biscuits; this is how you walk with a woman…
How Western Europe Developed a Full Scientific Method
The lone survivor of traditional Western European ‘scientific’ culture is science. It has survived because it is now the handmaid of technology, without which contemporary civilization would collapse utterly. Anyone who doubts this should try to get a research grant for genuinely “pure” research.
William Kentridge and The Benefits of Doubt
He had started the series from inside Plato’s cave, so when William Kentridge launched his sixth and final Charles Eliot Norton Lecture with a retelling of the story of Perseus, he gave familiar things back to his audience — the myth itself, and art’s gesture of circling toward origin at closure.
Where Rivers Meet
What is a map, and which maps are memory’s or imagination’s to invoke, and then how? What lies in the incantatory power of names, or in the pull North or South, West or East? What is time, what is memory, and what’s imagined about these plain facts here, or about writing as close to them – those descriptions and settings – as possible?
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They’d all felt sorry for her. She snickered into her tissue with which she then scooped a pool of UltraFair 100 from the crevice outside her right nostril, where blackheads once grew like aloes thrusting their roots into the smallest rock aperture they could find. She caressed the empty crevice with a corner of tissue. There was a tiny tickling sensation, at which she giggled, delighted, and she blessed her next best possessions after her tube of foundation. She thanked the Lord, especially because she wasn’t a believer, for her tablet and phone.
After Uhuru, a new scramble began. A race for wealth and riches. As one member of parliament who cared about the country’s future put it: with Uhuru had come, sadly, a new contest for lucre. In an ordinary race, runners start together from a single spot. But this mad scramble for riches did not keep to the rules. When this contest began, some runners were already well ahead of others.
He began having trouble sitting down. After only a few minutes in the chair the blood inside his legs would thicken. His thighs would become tight and hard until he couldn’t feel them. When he tried to stand he would often fall unless he waited posed and frozen like a urinating dog to let the platelets loosen up and flow back through his body. The mornings were the hardest. Sometimes getting out of bed took longer than the increasingly spotty sleep itself.