Tuesday, August 24, 1999


Since Red Pop Revenge, it seems like the trip is always summed up, explicated, in what occurs immediately after. So here’s what’s happened in the airport: convinced myself through two concourses that the woman in front of me was Catherine; woke from an uncomfortable doze to find a cockroach crawling up my thigh. I stomped it.
– Inch speaks in singsong repetitions, sometimes labouring the same point four times just to roll the words on her tongue. Jim uses expressions like “distress raised a power of isolation”—at once murky and mathematical.

– Damn gotta finish Things Fall Apart. The stories in that are actually captivating. Gotta learn that.

– Inch’s masochism, rolling the rock onto her own hand … “My mother found me walking slowly home, balancing the water jug wth my good hand. Laili and Regane were running after her. They all looked scared, and mama was sobbing: what a brave girl could crush her thumb and not cry a tear? You’re my angel, my Poucette. I didn’t feel brave.
“I never told them I’d done it to myself, on purpose.
“At school my teacher beat me like a boy, and beat me, and beat me because I could take it.
“And still Mama loved me: because she loved raisins she would sometimes put some in my akasan. Papa would sometimes get so mad at me that his face would sink right back into his head. But he never hurt me, either: the only ones in the house that he ever beat were the dogs, and once he took a stick and hit a turkey so hard that it got clean broken and we had to keep it in a box until it died. That night I could hear it flapping, trying to get out, but when I looked in the morning it had given up, barely breathing, with its legs sticking out upside down from under its body. It flapped once more + and I screamed + begged my mother to kill it right
“Sometimes when Papa was happy we would tease him about beating the animals, and maybe he would laugh, but we were always nervous about these jokes because when it happened it never seemed funny. When the dogs were yowling under his cane we walked away, walked into the fields, walked until we couldn’t hear them anymore.”


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