Come now upon an online review of a “new” previously unpublished novel, The Man who Lived Underground, by Richard Wright, published 2021 (written 1941or so), and next thing I knew I was at the library and the book fell into my hands. I read it in a day, it was better than I anticipated in some areas but even in the not quite as good areas it zipped along, furious, in and out of urban surrealism.
Brought to mind Miss Peebles. And it was an iconic university in the middle of a world city. Talking to her before class, talking not about the American writer, Richard Wright, although then we were studying Native Son, because her body had me studying, in and out of urban surrealism.
Back in them days the professor of “Black Studies 410, Harlem Renaissance and Beyond” was all Mister this or Miss that and we students addressed each other similarly, just to be unbelievably clever. Miss Peebles I’m sure had a cool first name.
Come now upon Haiku, by the selfsame Richard Wright, written in 1960 and prior, four thousand of them, from which 817 were collected and published in 1998. Among my favorites:
17 In a misty rain A butterfly is riding The tail of a cow. 204 To see the spring sky A doll in a store window Leans far to one side. 366 A cow is licking With long slow strokes of her tongue, Spring rain from her thigh. 423 Settling on the screen Of the crowded movie house, A white butterfly. 451 As though sleepwalking, A gray cat crosses the sand In a yellow moonlight. 484 The horse’s hot piss Scalds a fragile nest of ants In a sea of foam. 673 A flood of spring rain Searching into drying grasses Finds a lost doll 708 A wild winter wind Is tearing itself to shreds On barbed-wire fences. 715 Before blossoming A cherry bud looks eager, As if about to speak.
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