The Falcon Dream Mind of Gladys Davis-Parker
Good. Good. Not hot. Whistle. No, no. Wind. No, too much. Something less. Not wind. Not wind. Water, sky, fall. Rain. Rain and, not wind, less. Blows like wind, but less. Summer, summer something. Sea, sea shore. No. Can be there but not sea shore. Not hot. Cool. Yes, cool. Cool-- what? Rain, water, wind, small wind. Oh! Small wind!
"And good morning Gladys."
Gladys. Gladys. Know Gladys. Yes. Me. Gladys. Name. Me.
"Guess what. Archy's comin' in later today."
What. Don't remember all words there. Guess. Guess is. Know guess, but, don't remember. Small wind is--.
"I'll bet that breeze is a little too much on you. Let me close the window for you, Sweetheart."
More words. Too many words. Too many. Please stop.
"Probably won't hurt to keep some of this rain off the floor over here, either."
No, no! Don't keep small wind out!
"Well, now it won't be so chilly on you."
What? Food? Beans, and red thing from garden. Thing really not plant. No, no. Really not vegetable. Yes! Yes! Not vegetable! Red. Something. And beans. Why here now?
"You know I just finished the book Archy wrote about your life. Jeeze! The way those big Hollywood studios treated you little kids way back then. Then, of course, you being black and all. Damn shame, all that money you got gypped out of. And your father wouldn't allow you to be in the race movies 'cause he thought most of them were worse.
"Whoop! Better squeeze a little water outta this sponge. Don't want to drown Little Miss Jasmine."
Yes. Yes. Cool water, soft soap. Takes sticky away. Please -- want small breeze back too.
"I still remember when they gave you that special Oscar back in the seventies. They had Archy present it to you. Like I've said, it must have been the proudest moment, your Pulitzer prize winning son giving you an Oscar on national television in front of millions of people. And all those important movie makers in the auditorium, finally giving you the standing ovation you deserved forty years before. I remember you telling Barbara Walters, or somebody, that you didn't hold a grudge for the long delay in recognition. You said 'Life is too precious to waste it in anger,' or something close to that. You're a better woman than me, Gladys Davis-Parker."
Good child. Sound words cool water. But don't know words. Child don't know. Child says words, knows words. But me don't remember words.
"Of course, I was only eight when the famous Archibald Parker presented his mother with her academy award statue. But,like I've told you a hundred times, now I've read all of Archy's novels. And, now I got 'em all autographed. Pays to know the author's mom, hey?"
"Hello, Mama. It's Archy. Sorry I haven't been around so much lately. Remember I told you I was going to Brazil to research my next book?
"Mama, you were right. It is a magnificent place. But, the devastation of the forestry would enrage you. You were always one to be enraged by such things.
"I'd planned on taking Benjamin, but he had some problems in one of his Spring semester classes, so he has to repeat it during the Summer. It's nothing serious. The boy's been trying to hold down a thirty-hour- a-week job at that television station, take more than a full load of courses, and then, there's that young lady, Geneva. I do believe one of them has their hooks in the other. I don't know which it is. Probably both.
"And I know you're probably lying there telling me that it's time to start treating that boy like he has his own business for me to stay out of. Just like you told me about David, Marian, and Laurence. Just like you let me have my own business when I was turning adult.
"I've been missing our talks a lot lately, Mama. It's coming up on four years since his death. I was sitting on a dock on the Rio Branco, in Boa Vista, and I was thinking about how Father and I never had any real conversations until those last couple years, when he knew the candle was almost out. But then, you and I. We've talked it all out, haven't we? You talked to me with dignity and respect from the get-go. It always counted, what I had to say. My thoughts, even when I was chattering little toddler, you listened to me like what I had to say had some worth to it. And you talked to me like I had brains enough to listen back. And when we were both at Howard-- most kids would've hated having their mother on the same campus. I was proud to think I was getting my degree where my mother was, at the very same time, getting her Ph.D. And you were, in a mother's way, one of my best college chums.
"Well, I know you're doing your best to listen now. And I know you're losing most of what I'm saying. And I'm sure you know that and it pisses you off. I apologize, Mama, but it's the right word for the right situation. Remember when I was writing Chicago's Chorus, and I came to you, and you knew something was up. And I told you that the "F" word was going to be in the book, a lot. Remember what you said to me?
"You said, 'Does it only show up when you know it's the only word the person would really use?' And I said, 'Yes, Ma'am, and only then.' You paused for a second then said, 'Then I suggest you use all caps.'
"Mama, I'm going to lunch. Then I'm going to come back and help you with the vocabulary flash cards.
"If you try to speak today, Mama, I hope you get something out. If you don't try, that's oh-kay, maybe next time."
Him again, child, part me. Puts mouth to hand. Soft thing to do. Know it. Means something very good, very big. Means, means, love.
"I got the cards, Mama. Let's see. How about this one. Just look at it for a few seconds. See if you can fish the word out. Are you going to try to talk today? Well, I'll just hold it here for a few more moments, then I'll say what it is."
Yes. Yes. Put words there. Say words. Same words. Yes. Yes. Good. Word, word, word there is -- flies, high, high, high, sand, dry, hot, sky, screech, scream:
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