“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison
This book was soo good! It was recommended to me by Michael Mullen. He said my poem, This City, reminded him of it. What a compliment! The main character, the invisible man, is unnamed throughout the novel. It is a story of his journey living in a world of bigotry and defiance to change. In the meat of the novel, he takes a role in a cult-like “progressive” group called The Brotherhood stationed (mostly) in Harlem. This truly is a “nightmare journey across the racial divide [telling] unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds both victims and perpetrators.”
Far too many of my favorite quotes for you to enjoy:
“You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real world, that you’re a part of all the sound and anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognize you.”
“Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form.”
“The unheard sounds came through, and each melodic line existed of itself, stood out clearly from all the rest, said its piece, and waited patiently for the other voices to speak.”
“[…] his blue eyes blazing into the black face with something like envy and indignation.”
“Heat rays from the late afternoon sun arose from the gray concrete, shimmering like the weary tones of a distant bugle blown upon still midnight air.”
[All of page 110 about the feelings of the chapel - LOVE]
“Somewhere in the audience an old woman’s voice began a plaintive wail; the birth of a sad, unformulated song that died stillborn in a sob.”
“’Be your own father, young man. And remember, the world is possibility if only you’ll discover it.’”
“[…] I was understanding something fully and trying again to answer but seemed to sink to the center of a lake of heavy water and pause, transfixed and numb with the sense that I had lost irrevocably an important victory.”
“A thin voice with a mirror on the end of it […]”
“Two huge women with soiled-cream complexions seemed to struggle with their massive bodies as they came past, their flowered hips trembling like threatening flames.”
“[…] I throbbed with guilt and puzzlement. I wanted peace and quiet, tranquility, but was too much aboil inside. Somewhere beneath the load of the emotion-freezing ice which my life had conditioned my brain to produce, a spot of black anger glowed and threw off a hot red light of such intensity […]”
“’It’s all cataracted like a cross-eyed carpenter and it doesn’t saw straight.’”
“’They’re like dead limbs that must be pruned away so that the tree may bear young fruit or the storms of history will blow them down anyway.’”
“The clock ticked with empty urgency, as though trying to catch up with the time.”
“- the traitor self that always threatened internal discord.”
“[…] their shadows flying like dreams across the sparkle of snow and darkness.”
“His eyes seemed to crowd my face as I nodded yes.”
“The coffin floated like a heavily loaded ship in a channel, winding its way slowly above the bowed and submerged heads.”
“Yes, but if I hadn’t been shifted, I would still be living in a world of illusion. But now that I had found the thread of reality, how could I hold on?”
“She lay aggressively receptive, flushed, her navel no goblet, but a pit in an earth-quaking land, flexing taut and expansive.”
“The words struck like bullets fired close range, blasting my satisfaction to earth.”
“’And man, that crazy sonofabitch up there on that hoss looking like death eating a sandwich […]’”
“There is, by the way, an area in which a man’s feelings are more rational than his mind, and it is precisely in that area that is will is pulled in several directions at the same time.”
“No indeed, the world is just as concrete, ornery, vile and sublimely wonderful as before, only now I better understand my relation to it and it to me.”
AND MUCH MORE!
Hot Water by Betty Leigh Verbeke
Dear Hot Water,
Where did you escape to tonight?
I terribly missed your hot drops of purity rolling down my neck and back.
You know how I love it when you flush my cheeks to the proper pink.
Your cold friend showed up, yet again, and spewed forth from my faucet an incessant stream of chilled disappointment (like usual) for a full thirty minutes before I finally turned her off.
She wasn’t even warm enough to cause an inch of fog on the sink mirror.
I was fully awake and did not need to be woken up any further, nor did I have a raging boner that I could not manage to tame myself.
Needless to say, the amount of coldness provided was just unnecessary.
I cannot seem to fathom any other engagement you must be attending that is momentous enough for you to send in your mediocre friend in replacement of yourself.
It better not be that hott blonde down the street persuading you into her bathtub for a second time.
You know I don’t like her.
Also, why do I pay you $XXX per month for you to occasionally assign your terrible substitute to my shower and expect me not to notice the extremely noticeable difference?
I know we do not have a “formal” relationship, but it would be kind of you to send a note, e-mail, call, or even text stating you will not be in tonight, but will be returning in the morning.
Can you at least manage to do this for me next time?
Better yet, how about not causing a next time and just sticking to our schedule?!
Your currently livid lover,
Betty Leigh Verbeke
I am so unbelievably happy I was privileged enough to spend my 21st birthday with my sister, dad, mom, uncle, and aunt in Las Vegas! I love my family so much! We had such a good time! I am so glad my first legal drink was a shot of Tawaka (not great, but it’s an easy shot) I took with DonNell! And I wasn’t even carded! I am so glad I won $85 in my first 2 hours of gambling by playing craps! It was awesome! I love that I was able to gamble the entire time! We were going to go to a show (Blue Man Group or Cirque), but we decided against it! I was able to play craps, Spanish 21, join a “strip” poker tournament, and play some slot machines! I love that we spent some time at Red Rock Canyon (now deemed Chapped-Ass Mountains! Bahahahah!) It was the perfect 14-mile drive during sunset! I love my family so much! We are annoying and hilarious! My dad stole a spoon from a diner in Luxor! I am so glad I spent 2 nights down town at the 4 Queens and one night at Excalibur on the Strip! I love the contrast! I am so glad I left Vegas with $145 more than I went there with! I am so grateful for all the free drinks (while gambling) and the amazing buffets the hotels have to offer! I am so glad the hotels are also the casinos! I am so happy for the ridiculous amount of visual stimulation Vegas has! I am so happy we only spent 3 nights there! Next time we are going to spend more time in the mountains! I am so glad we got to eat at Jack Adams once we got back to Austin with Jennifer Reeves! I am so thankful that Jennifer and Cliff helped out with the transportation to and from the airport! I am so glad there is so much more to tell about Vegas, but I didn’t want to put it all in a post! Got to save some stuff for conversation, right bloggers? Hahah. I love my life! PS- Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you!
Invisible Lover by Betty Leigh Verbeke
I do not know you
Yet you haunt my dreams
Your sex ambiguous
For your body masks itself in a cloak of invisibility
You look like nothing but a heat wave
Creeping into my room at night while I sleep
Concealing a gun in your hand
With the same magic in which you conceal yourself
Although I can’t see it, I feel its weight
And cool temperature
As you rest it against my temple
Drag it down by cheek
In between the two mounds of flesh and fat balanced upon my ribcage
Leaving blood-red scratches and traces of gunshot residue
Drawing your cynical sketch
My torso your canvas
You pause at my pelvis
Then ease the barrel between my thighs
Putting immense pressure on my delicate pink rose bud
Bruising its petals
You turn me on with your tease of torture
I do not understand
You are only a figment of my imagination
But you leave and return to me repeatedly
Your attendance comparable to that of a lover
I do not know you
Yet you haunt my dreams