Whose Song? : And Other Stories
“Thomas Glave walks the path of such greats in American literature as Richard Wright and James Baldwin . . . he cuts to the bone of what it means to be black in America, white in America, gay in America, and human in the world at large.” — Gloria Naylor
The words to every song on earth are buried deep somewhere. Songs that must be sung, that must never be sung. That must be released from deep within the chest yet pulled back and held. Plaintive and low, they rail; buried forever beneath the passing flesh, alone and cold, they scream. The singer must clutch them to the heart, where they are sanctified, nurtured, healed. Songs which finally must be released yet recalled, in that place where no one except the singer ever comes, in one hand caressing the keys of life wounded, ravaged, in the other those of the precious skin and life revealed. The three of them and Cassandra know the words. Lying beneath them now and blind, she knows the words. Tasting turpentine and fire, she knows the words. -- Hell no, yo, that bitch ain't dead.-- A voice. -- Fucked up, yo. The rag's in her mouth, how we gone get some mouth action now?-- -- Aw, man, fuck that shit.-- Who says that? -- My turn. My turn.-- They know the words.
Night. Hell, no, broods the dim, that bitch ain't dead. Hasn't uttered half a sound since they began; hasn't opened her eyes to let the night look in again; hasn't breathed to the soft beating of the nightbird's wing. The turpentine rag in place. Cassandra, Cassandra. The rag, in place. Cassandra. Is she feeling something now? Cassandra. Will they do anything more to her now? Cassandra, will they leave you there? Focusing on flies, not meeting each other's eyes, will they leave you there? Running back from the burning forests behind their own eyes, the crackling and the shame? Will they leave you there? -- Push that bitch out on the ground, the one they call Dee says. -- Over there, by them cars and shit.-- Rusty cars, a dumping ground. So, Cassandra. Yes. They'll leave you there. Were they afraid? Happy? Who can tell? Three dark boys, three men, driving away in a battered car. Three boy-men, unseen, flesh, minds, heart. Flame. In their car. O my God, three rapists, the pret