14 Following

Cold Bean Porridge and a Virgin Milkmaid

Disgruntled Goodreads Expat

I keep going over and over this sentence, and I can't stop..., Part the Second

...Then suddenly, even though it's just another bone-cold night, and beautiful and terrible snow everywhere so that it is hard to get up the window to put the baby's bottle out on the sill, she goes to the place where she been saving the old man's letters and hurls them into the middle of the floor and lights the pilots of the jets on the cracked but savagely scrubbed-down white stove, with a flame upon the letters Daddy had written to get her back and tears streaming down upon her cheeks and she tells Malcolm, who is eleven months older than Iris, who is ten months older than Jamestown, to get the hammer and break off the ledge of the window, and the old lady hurls open the drawers of the bureau and throws her old bras and drawers into the fire and the washboards and the frame of hers and the old man's wedding pictures and her diploma (I had stole a whole heap of papers and give to my brothers and sisters from out the principal's office to put in the window, 'cause our place is like an icebox, and because I had on purpose got myself sent down to the principal) and the baby whose cough is getting worse hovering in Hilda Mae's titty-withered breasts.... And the flames making us all look crazy in the light off the bonfire now beginning to like wild towards the ceiling like Hilda Mae's hair, itself, standing end on end.... And Hilda Mae crazy hollering now; and me finally ripping up the windows, 'cause the room's getting smoky; and Hilda Mae giving me that baby to hold and then commencing to throw in the hairbrushes and the toilet seat (from the toilet outside the doorway) that she done jerked from off the toilet stool.... Hammer in her hand and hearing hammering hammering hammering at the medicine cabinet, glass breaking onto the floor like carter's little liver pills, and her throwing the frame into the fire; cutting off the legs of the victrola still playing Bessie's "Trouble in Mind" that she done rewind--into the fire.... And me getting the bucket from under the place where the water dripping to throw into the fire and Hilda Mae screaming like it's her last words on earth, but coming from not her but rather some other woman that I ain't never seen, or saw ever again... LET THE MAMMY-FUCKER BURN ON DOWN.... Get my BABIES--we getting out asses out of this funk-busting shit-hole....

(Leon Forrest, There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden, pp. 30-31)


(This following one of the bleakest descriptions of poverty I've ever read. Trust me, Maggie Ann Fishbond's bio/monologue is incredibly harrowing. This man Forrest can WRITE.)