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Michael Holley, Bruthaman Boston Globe sports writer, covers the Celtics - in the '96-'97 season - loss to loss.

It's the old teams you see at night in visions, the teams with faces as rare as not having names, brothers who played in places not recorded. Or it's the single champions like Jack Johnson grinning and dueling with monsters, men training rifles on his left jab - Jack in the long cars with white women stacked around him. It's the hurrah coming up from around radios each time Joe Louis punched holes in the racial mountain. In ears buried in your past perfect, you hear the soft patter of Wilma Rudolph's feet turning dry dirt to flames spiraling like small ballerinas behind her. You hear the tease of Ali's gloves bringing the bear down, busting the veil with Elijah's hallelujah, Allah.

Let's tear this sucker down.

In the appeal for grammar, you gaze over your monitor at your success, the intoxication of the world coming in and out of this nerve center where you braid the strands in words so indelibly perfect that it is scary to think of this humanity, words as clear as the invisible. It is a facility with language, and sometimes it is wishing all of it, this credibility, was something you could revise with a goddam ice pick, spinning it down the hall in inner-city under-class afro-american finesse, putting punctuation on somebody's ass.

Sheeeet, it ain't nuthin but a word.

There is always whimsy. "Fuck it, I'll play polo. I'll be a real subversive." You ain't stopped by no lack of commitment, but by your mama wit or your own wisdom you have from being an uncle or being who you are. It is simple.

Riding a palomino being a bourgeois negro is not the ballgame you can go home and write or brag about. The polo audience is not gifted with insight, will not understand why you think Shine is preeminent among sages, why sometimes an icepick is not enough. It is more a matter of a twenty-two that won't hurt nobody a whole lot but just sorta spray the editors' desks, a contemporary-style book.

Kiss my ass. I'm having a bad day.

So you put a little english on the English, eight ball in the corner pocket in a room where the cigarettes are Kools, the talk f women a difficult love turning on the word, as a bitch is anybody who fucks with you just cause they ain't got nuthin better to do. In this room it is sane to be profane.
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Author:Weaver, Afaa Michael
Publication:African American Review
Date:Mar 22, 1999
Words:410
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