‘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…
The Black Dog
W. H. C. Pynchon
In a corner of our country not far removed from two of its great cities, there is a low range of mountains, the hoary evidences of ancient volcanic action. Countless years have elapsed since the great tide of molten lava rolled over the region. Years fewer, but still countless, have passed during which the shattered and tilted remnants of the lava sheets have watched over the land.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
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Eleven years have passed since the town of Bruneville was founded on the banks of the Rio Bravo, just a few miles up-river from the Gulf. It was named after Ciudad Castaño, the legendary shining city to the northwest, which was razed by the Apaches. In appropriating the name, Stealman aimed to trade on the sterling quality of the original.