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Wendy's Word #4


A riot is the language of the unheard. —martin luther king

John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe, all whitebluerose below his golden hair, wrapped richly in right linen and right wool, almost forgot his Jaguar and Lake Bluff; almost forgot Grandtully (which is The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Scotch); almost forgot the sculpture at the Richard Gray and Distelheim; the kidney pie at Maxim’s, the Grenadine de Boeuf at Maison Henri. Because the Negroes were coming down the street. Because the Poor were sweaty and unpretty (not like Two Dainty Negroes in Winnetka) and they were coming toward him in rough ranks. In seas. In windsweep. They were black and loud. And not detainable. And not discreet. Gross. Gross. “Que tu es grossier!” John Cabot itched instantly beneath the nourished white that told his story of glory to the World. “Don’t let It touch me! the blackness! Lord!” he whispered to any handy angel in the sky. But, in a thrilling announcement, on It drove and breathed on him: and touched him. In that breath the fume of pig foot, chitterling and cheap chili, malign, mocked John. And, in terrific touch, old averted doubt jerked forward decently, cried, “Cabot! John! You are a desperate man, and the desperate die expensively today.” John Cabot went down in the smoke and fire and broken glass and blood, and he cried “Lord! Forgive these nigguhs that know not what they do.”

--Gwendolyn Brooks

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