You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops, Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise That I dance like I’ve got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame I rise Up from a past that’s rooted in pain I rise I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide, Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear I rise Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise I rise I rise.
Through a haze of sinister moving clouds a half full moon glowed in and out over the treetops at 4:15 a.m. in the morning in the tiny town of Johnsonville.
Rhett C. Davis had every intention of getting to his house away from home some hours ago in the village of Kingsburg, which was four miles east of center of Johnsonville. He would have been there by now via bicycle and far past the black night that hung over Lynches river like dark shadows and where spirits of restless dead black men lynched and thrown into the river still walked, except he ran unexpectedly into his old and dearest of friend, Taavi Ronaldo, whom he had not seen in some thirty years.
The sight of Taavi evoked tears of joy in Rhett’s eyes.
His dearest of friend was not alone. He was accompanied by his wife, Nancy, whom after thirty years had gained weight and she was very pale and no longer beautiful and was as wrinkled as old Rhett’s mother on the verge of turning 77.
There was something sad about the way she curiously at Rhett over and over again and, along with Taavi and Nancy, they were escorted by the couple’s only adult son, Tad, who smiled boyishly and shook Rhett's hand rigorously upon their introduction. Rhett had not seen the son, Tad, since he was a little boy and remembered Taavi loved to discipline the child in front of him and Rhett didn't like that and had told Taavi he was a mean father. Tad had was handsome and inherited his father’s Portuguese good looks with tight black curly hair and they both kind walked the same way--sexy and pigeon toed, and that made Rhett grin from ear to ear and Rhett only stopped when he caught Nancy staring at him again..
In the middle of the restaurant, a Mexican grill, which was the only restaurant and bar in a town that no longer had several restaurants and no department stores and no coffee shops, the grill as the lone drinking hole stood in the old Radio Shack and across the street directly from the jurisdiction of the Johnsonville Police Department and underneath the town’s imposing water tower.
For a long moment Rhett and Taavi embraced in the middle of the restaurant without seeing another living soul, save each other, and they kissed each other hard and passionately like long lost lovers and Tad was impressed and Nancy turned away..
In Johnsonville long after dark, downtown was not completely dead but alive with ghosts who walked the empty streets and if you listened closely you could hear them stumble in the darkness when the temp stood at 77 degrees and outside felt like a fresh rain had just fallen and all that was left was mist and steam from the heat that hovered above the vacant buildings and caused the street lights to appear blurry.
The two men were alone now without the wife and the son, and they sat on the high steps outside of old Hyman’s Restaurant, no longer in business like the entire two blocks of most of downtown.
In the steamy mist that hovered like San Francisco fog they sat very close and held hands and smiled talking about things they both remembered fondly like eating their first lunch together at Hyman’s and that crazy time when Taavi shared his sandwich and it was raining and they were in Taavi’s old yellow coloured Toyato and Rhett was afraid to eat the sandwich because Taavi had already bitten it several times and how Taavi had screamed at Rhett to eat it because his white mouth wasn’t poison and Rhett closed his eyes because Rhett never ate after anyone black or white or even family, and Rhett bit into the bread and meat where Taavi’s mouth had been, and Rhett and Taavi laughed and decided they were best friends from then on.
Were there any regrets?
Yes, but they had found each other again. In the moment of being alive among the ghosts nothing else mattered except they were together and happy with the other...
Lue Amie tells me that last Saturday night after all that booZing (thankS in part on my acct. of leaving my beautiful bottle ofJR Ewing Bourbon on a dresser in my guest room in her house & even more booze she sipped at Darrin's in the poolroom) made her very hapPy.
Without a hangover and a long dreamy slumber and feeling like 25 years old again and no care or responsibility, she admitted enjoying eVery moment of it and all that booze.
Prior to her arrival in HORRY COUNTY in a Myrtle Beach suburb at Darrin's on Saturday with Darrin's sad girlfriend who drove LA over hoping as always for marriage to USA Army military sergeant retired Darrin but any thought of marriage is already forlorn as Darrin grilled dinner in the yard by a lake for the family and declared he was no longer a practicing Muslim or any religion for that matter and Lue Amie danced a most awkward jitter with two of her now four grandchildren (none of them by CHARLES who wants not a child Ever unless SAK's insists they find a surrogate & SAK's sperm is used and not his own but Charles would have to select the mother for proper breeding to be artificially inseminated), LA aka Amie aka Lue Amie aka Ammie enjoyed herself and the company of her two sons-the firstborn and third-born and there was no mention of the middle son suspected by the firstborn and the third-born of being LA's favourite though none of them care one way or the other whom she prefers.
Later in sauna-like Carolina sweltering heat Amie confessed to Charles by the pool she asked her latest husband #3, Hosea, for a quick divorce. Hosea, the stepfather who was never a real father at all, is the despised father of none of the sons. Upon hearing this news Charles pretended to be totally shocked and hid his smile of contentment as he sipped a White Russian cocktail.
In spite of such tensions & wicked suspenSe, the couple & their grand-daughter, first product of their adopted foster daughter who has a second baby and yet another in the oven, they dashed off to a singing Church program in the late afternoon and was conjured into the UnivervSe in drunken words has been temporally suppressed...
I was supposed to return to writing tomorrow, 7 August, with the goal of finally completing PAINTEDPEOPLE in complete solitude with no distractions in the next 30 days...but my little brother (Darrin Jefferson) and his girlfriend (Ann) have now invited big brother TheCharles up to their house for few days in Myrtle Beach. They re-painting and refurbishing a guest room for my arrival...Perhaps, I'll write it there but ...since it's Myrtle Beach with some 15 million tourists from all over-- I can't imagine myself sitting still long enough to concentrate on writing when I would rather be out...photographing every perfect moment. However, one mad all-nighter with lots of coffee!!! and cigaretteS and walking back and forth and typing and walking back and forth again and dramatizing scenes all alone and putting that on paper is all it takes.
All these memories though visiting Johnsonville and Kingsburg and St. Luke Woods and so much sad beauty in what was and is no more has inspired a new story in my brain of a romantic/horror centered around St. Luke and St. Mark ...something like a Wuthering Heights novel by Emily Bronte where St. Luke is like Thrushcoss Grange, estate of the richer, snobby family (the Lintons--Isabel and Edgar) and the poorer and sinister estate of Wuthering Heights with black adopted Heathcliff and the Earnshaws, including devilish Catherine who marries rich Edgar Linton to empower Heathcliff after his abuse by the Earnshaws whom Catherine only loves more than Life but she loses Heathcliff to lonely Isabel in what becomes a hateful and abusive marriage arrangement since Heathcliff abhors and aims to destroy Isabel and esp. Edgar for marrying Catherine Earnshaw who is truly Heathcliff's evil soulmate, represents St. Mark...to be darker (Gothic!) ominous place with lots of Spanish moss draped over avenues of Live Oak trees...
A period novel??? set though, in America's JIm Crow age...would require much research.
South Carolina "White House" landscape
St. Mark AME Church, Kingsburg/Johnsonville, SC
White House, Old River Road, Florence County at Kingsburg/Johnsonville