So, the public library called me back to do more temporary LA work. This time, it's in the biggest library in our city. I even found my high school yearbook in the archives/geneology section. I was part of the Spanish foreign language club for 4 years--though I must have been absent when they took the picture because I'm not in it for my senior year. I was probably at home with my daughter. I still can't believe I made my mother a grandmother when she was only a mere 32--she's my hero. There is one picture of me in a different yearbook wearing a huge sombrero in the 9th grade. Those were my second days of learning Spanish. I actually started in 7th and 8th grade. It was so strange seeing a snapshot of this time of my life.
In any event, at the library, I am off the reference desk at certain times and am able to walk around--shelf read, help patrons, familiarize myself with different sections and so on. Yesterday, Sunday, I checked out materials ranging from cookbooks to fiction: Nigella Bites to Carol Goodman's The Night Villa (picked it because of the cover and the first three lines, "When the first call came that morning I was with a student, so I didn't answer it. 'Don't worry,' I told Agnes Hancock, one of most promising classics majors, 'the machine will get it'." Don't know why I am so easily hooked for characters who are professors and their lives as such in fiction. We'll see if it's worth the random choice.
I walked around to other sections and found a folklore section. We have folklore for just about every culture one can imagine. I spent about 15 minutes browsing this area, looking for nothing in particular. What I did find however was a fascinating literature on African-American Folklore (could have used it two weeks ago when several of my students were writing essays on Baby in a Crib and Lyrics of a Lowly Life. Their anthologies seem rather limited in this genre. Don't know why. Anyhoo, it's not a secret that I have this extraordinary love-hate, win-lose relationship with my hair, its !at-times! power over me, its moodiness, its essential part of my being, its need to dominate my appearance, its stubborn nature, its need to kank--so when I read this folklore published in Dance's anthology, I felt compelled to share:
Why the Black Man's Hair Is Nappy
All right now, we going to our races; we going to find out where the Black people got their hair from and how they got it. When it was time for the Lord to give hair, He called all three of these men, and this is what he said. Well, first he called the white man to come on and get his hair. All right, the white man he went right on up there and got his hair. So the Lord called the Jew man to get his hair. So the Jew man went up there and got his hair, and said, "Thank you, Lord."
So when it got down to the Black man, the Lord called him. And do you know what the Black man said? Black man said, "Lord, ball it up and throw it to me." And it's been balled up ever since.
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old