Mother Mary

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Chapter 3

Lavender oil is great.

Check messages and go on with life.

Mary Alice

… the park is by the river

the river comes down from a bend they call the spitting devil where the water is white

there are whirlpools in the river my daddy told me never go in the river

there is a tall iron fence blackwith spikes on top of it to keep you out of the riverone day bobby was going swimminghe had his towel over his shoulder and he tried to jump over the fence and one of the spikes went through his handone of the boys ripped his hand off of the spike and all the boys wrapped their towels around his hand but the blood just kept coming throughit kept making all the white towels red and the boy was crying for his father

his mother came and carried him up marble hill to his building

never go in the river

the park has a basketball court

two black boys are playing basketball on the court with t-shirts on white t-shirts against their black skinsweat catches the light a little when they jumpsweat runs down their hard arms bent in mid airthrowing the ball in an arc until it disappears into a haze of sun and comes backto clank against the backboard

he held me in his arms against the muscles of his chest and i saw him in the light

one bumped against the other and grabbed the ball

foul he yelled

ain’t no foul motherfucker the other one yelled

my ball the other one said and grabbed the ball and said my ball check itmy ball

he slapped the ball to the ground and it came back

his shoulders rippled and snapped beneath his white shirt and sweat dew glistened on his forehead

mary alice i heard the girl they call my sister say are you okay

i’m still

are you okay mary alice she asked again aren’t you gonna playaren’t youhuhit’s your turn mary alicehello earth to mary aliceearth to mary alice

one jumped toward the basketball hoop and let the ball out of his hand

mary alice

the other one put his elbow in his chest and knocked him down to the blacktop and he fell on his elbows

why the fuck you do that man he got up and pushed the kid who knocked him down

mary alice are you okay it’s your turn mary alicedo somethingsay somethinghello

who you pushing nigger

who you callin nigger nigger

man just take the damned ball out game point

the one who fell wiped his elbows against his white t-shirt and red blood smeared

i looked at the girl they call my sister and she says to carmen the girl who is playing squares with us that something is wrong something is wrong with mary alice

what is it Carmen asks what is it

i don’t know one of her spellsshe has spellsshe must think one’s coming onshe must be having a spell

what kind of spell

they’re bad

i run away up marble hill to our building and i run up the stairs

my father is reading the paper in his chair and i stand in front of him and i can’t say anything

the paper crumples as he crushes it on his lap

what is it mary alice what is it mary alicewhat’s wrong

he held me against the muscles of his chest and i was warm on the front that faced him and warm on the back where the sun came through the window

not again mary alice mother said and my god look at youdirt all over your hands and kneeslook at you for the love of god almighty

in the name of the father

tell me mary alice my daddy says

did something happen down there

my father tells me all the time that he can see everything we do no matter where we are in the neighborhood in the dark or in the light in the morning or at night in the apartment or at the park or at carmen’s househe can see everything we doand he can fix it

i don’t know what is wrong all i know is that i am dirty and my mother is mad because i am dirty and i don’t want to go down in the cellar with her again ever again but she is mad trying to wipe the dirt off of my dressi don’t know what is wrong

for the love of god mary alice this will take me forever to clean

what happened my father asks

white t-shirts and black skin glistening you take the ballgame pointwhat was that motherfuckertake the ballarms bent in the air frozen stillthe ball disappearing into the light and coming back

two black kids i say

what my mother says and she dropped the hem of my dress

two black kids

what about it my father asks what about it

two black kids i say down at the park playing basketball they said horrible things

motherfucker niggermotherfucker

god damn it my father says and throws his paper down and puts on his sweatshirt that says manhattan college on it and says i’ll be right back

don’t do anything stupid my mother says and don’t get in trouble and don’t hurt your hip and he walked out the door

where’s your sister my mother asks and i stay still real still as she tries to clean up the dress my lord in heaven the way this neighborhood is going we’re going have to move across the river and get ourselves a house my lord what ever happened to this neighborhood when a decent catholic girl can’t play in the park without those colored people causing some kind of problemwhat did they say

motherfucker niggermotherfucker

well tell mewhat did they say

i can’t

why can’t you i’m your mother you have to tell me

i can’t

why not she licks her thumb and finger and rubs the dirty spot on the white dress between themwas it too horrible to saythat’s a good girlyou don’t want to say those horrible things anywayleave those things for the colored people and the puerto ricanskeep your mouth clean

my daddy comes in the door with the girl they call my sister over his shoulder crying

daddy got into a fight she says

barney i told you not to do anything stupid

they wouldn’t say what they did so i had to my daddy says he puts the girl they call my sister down on the couch and my mother pats her on her curly hair and says to quiet downshe’s not doing any good with all her crying she’s not doing any good with all the waterworks

my daddy stretches his fingers out and my mother says dear god look at your hands come over here and she drags him into the kitchen

put your hands under the tap she says and she turns on the water

ahh my daddy says as the water hits his hand and red blood swirls down the drain with the water diluting swirling and twisting down the drain until its gone and more blood drips from his knuckles into the swirling water and i feel …

The Journals


God get me thru tomorrow. I always worry about the weekend and was very baked.Didn’t get out of here but for a few minutes – no place special to go.L really is sick & I’ve given him up completely.Yes, I still grieve but it will work me forward.


Sorry for your bad attitude L –

A very boring but not so stressful day, I’ll be okay tomorrow and see Ruthie and she’ll relax me and make me laugh. What a strange life we all lead.Perry says 24,000 dollars/year I say the same to pay everything and then I could live at Cherry Hill.New Jersey is humid and crowded & not for me.Will C&A be surprised at T-giving.Maybe L will be in New Orleans and I can invite someone for Turkey Day or go to New Jersey.I must learn to drive there even if it takes me all day.

Carol understood, Mom & Dad are great and so is Mary Peel.Leeanne is great & Ash is giving her clothes.

The hassles will start again tomorrow and boy today was long !!!

I ate salmon, baked potatoes,

sweet potatoes, collards & spinach,

just want tooth out locally.

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