Friday, June 19, 2009


Tired and worn down, I could only sit and read today!
by Charlie Leck

Plenty has caught up with me this morning. I can’t get my engines started. They are stalled out. I just want to sit and rest up and not move, except between my very private easy chair in the living room to the bed in our bedroom.

I give in to it. Sometimes our systems need days like this. So I do nothing.

A major golf tournament is on television, but it bores me. The golf course has taken lots of rain and it has been made susceptible to the wishes of the players. It is more like they are playing darts and the event has lost its excitement.

I have only a few chapters left to read of Toni Morrison’s novel, Song of Solomon. There is just enough energy to do that and I leaf slowly through the book, wondering why all the experts call Beloved her finest work. As wonderful as that novel was, this one pleases me more and I turn each page with anticipation.

For those of you who know the book, this is Guitar speaking to Hagar, who is in a stupor that has gone on for weeks as she mopes over a lover, Milkman, who has left her.

“’You can’t own a human being. You can’t lose what you don’t own. Suppose you did own him. Could you really love somebody who was absolutely nobody without you? You really want somebody like that? Somebody who falls apart when you walk out the door? You don’t, do you? And neither does he. You’re turning over your whole life to him. Your whole life, girl. And if it means so little to you that you can just give it away, hand it to him, then why should it mean any more to him? He can’t value you more than you value yourself.’”

He stopped. She did not move or give any sign that she had heard him.“Pretty woman, he thought, Pretty little black-skinned woman. Who wanted to kill for love, die for love. The pride, the conceit of these doormat women amazed him. They were always women who had spoiled children. Whose whims had been taken seriously by adults and who grew up to be the stingiest, greediest people on earth and out of their stinginesses grew their stingy little love that ate everything in sight. They could not believe or accept the fact that they were unloved; they believed that the world itself was off balance when it appeared as though they were not loved. Why did they think they were so lovable? Why did they think their band of love was better than, or even as good as, anybody else’s? But they did. And they loved their love so much they would kill anybody who got in its way.”
Shortly following, we see the incredible scene in the funeral home where Hagar lies in her coffin and her mysterious and greater-than-life grandmother, Pilate, sings over her.

“Conversationally she spoke, identifying Hagar, selecting her away from everybody else in the world who had died. First she spoke to the ones who had the courage to look at her, shake their heads, and say, ‘Amen.’ Then she spoke to those whose nerve failed them, whose glance would climb no higher than the long black fingers at her side. Toward them especially she leaned a little, telling in three words the full story of the stumped life in the coffin behind her. ‘My baby girl.’ Words tossed like stones into a silent canyon. Suddenly, like an elephant who has just found his anger and lifts his trunk over the heads of the little men who want his teeth or his hide or his flesh or his amazing strength, Pilate trumpeted for the sky itself to hear, ‘And she was loved!’

“It startled one of the sympathetic winos in the vestibule and he dropped his bottle, spurting emerald glass and jungle-red wine everywhere.”
Somedays, perhaps, it’s good to be so tired you’re dizzy and nearly immobile. “You can’t do nothin’ – only sit and read.”

Sugargirl don’t leave me here.
Cotton balls to choke me
Sugargirl don’t leave me here
Buckra’s arms to yoke me

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