A couple of summers ago, Tyehimba Jess spoke about his book leadbelly and writing in general at the community college the next town over for me. Though the book had been out for years by that point, I’d only just picked it up during a seasonal buying binge from Amazon, and was loving every point-of-view swap and key change. The only problem was that I found out about the event a month after it occurred while I was reading myself silly in the college’s air conditioned library. Since missing perfect events, then stumbling onto another opportunity years later is kind of a theme with me, I’m not too worried about getting another chance. For all fans of Lead Belly or poetry (and I hope that covers all the bases for anyone reading this), the book is nothing short of a joy to experience.
will you take this load... he came at sundown, naked of guitar, stripped of metal slide ring, his fingers fretless and filled with dirty sheets. said he wanted to know how come i never danced much at the jook, why i just sat there in the back next to the door, riding a slow nod, the silent wound in his womb of music he couldn't quite fill with flatted thirds. asked me to wash his seed stained, lipsticked sheets bright clean like sunday morning sermon so he could lay down hard in religion and wake up to rapture. then he lean in close as summer heat: what you know 'bout that word girl? you know what rapture mean?
leadbelly writes home, 1934 martha: lomax is carpetbagger to the core. truth slides itself slicked up and sideways out his mouth, dressed up in the way he wants to see the world. so i let him brag on how "he freed me" 'cause the fastest way to a white man's heart is through his lies, the fastest way out of his grace is truth.