God's Gym: Stories
John Edgar Wideman
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hymn they toot and tap and whistle and bang thrashes and ripples like a tiger caught by its tail. Folks form a conga line, no, it's a second line hustling to catch up to Monk, who's just now noticed all the commotion behind him. The twelve white horses pulling his coffin are high steppers, stallions graceful, big-butted, and stylized as Rockettes. They stutter-step, freeze, raise one foreleg bent at the knee, shake it like shaking cayenne pepper on gumbo. The horses also have the corner boys'
my goddamn figures or not. It's vexing, vexing. Standing there on the sidewalk not knowing what I did or didn't do. Come next morning I think about putting my numbers in and damn, realize I ain't checked what hit yesterday. Forget to check, forget if I played or not, forget there's a goddamn lottery, forget all that money white people owe me. What I'm trying to say is I know you already told me once, but I can't keep nothing straight in this feeble-ass mind of mine anymore. So tell me again, son.
forgotten. Upon which subject I would expand if I could, but forgotten means forgotten, doesn't it. Means lost. A category whose contents I'm unable to list or describe because if I could, the items wouldn't be forgotten. Forgotten things are really, really gone. Gone even if memories of them flicker, ghosts with more life than the living. Like a Free Marcus button you tucked in a drawer and lived the rest of your life not remembering it lay there, folded in a bloodstained head kerchief, until
you. I'm trying to reach Mr. Williams's imprisoned son to offer my belated condolences. If you possess the son's mailing address, could you pass it on to me, please. I appreciate in advance your attention to this matter. *** In response to your inquiry of 6/24/99: this office did execute Mr. Donald K. Williams's will. The relevant documents have been filed in Probate Court, and as such are part of the public record you may consult at your convenience. P.S. Wish I could be more helpful but in
from the slough of the ghetto black Horatio Alger thing, a jock who could read and ace exams and submit without too much fuss to microscopic examination within the glass cage immuring him. Jack, the first of his penniless family, maybe his race, to achieve this or that, Jack who recalls the first September of his matriculation at an Ivy university, dressed up and in the company of his new white basketball teammates, mostly poor boys themselves also on scholarship, gunfighters all with mile-wide