So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgment.
Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks His inside business. He told me.how surprised y'all is goin' tuh be if you ever find out you don't know half as much 'bout us as you think yo do. It's so easy to make yo'self out God Almighty when you ain't got nothin' tuh strain against but women and chickens.
The one who makes the idols never worships them, however tenderly he might have molded the clay. You cannot have knowledge and worship at the same time. Mystery is the essence of divinity. Gods must keep their distances from men.
Sometimes she stuck out into the future, imagining her life different from what it was. But mostly she lived between her hat and her heels, with her emotional disturbances like shade patterns in the woods—come and gone with the sun.
Cudjo meetee de people at de gate and tells dem, You see de rattlesnake in de woods? Dey say, Yeah. I say If you bother wid him, he bite you. If you know de snake killee you, why you bother wid him? Same way wid my boys, you unnerstand me. If you leave my boys alone, dey not bother nobody!
I don't know any more about the future than you do. I hope that it will be full of work, because I have come to know by experience that work is the nearest thing to happiness that I can find. . . I want a busy life, a just mind and a timely death.
Years ago, she had told her girl self to wait for her in the looking glass. It had been a long time since she had remembered. Perhaps she'd better look. She went over to the dresser and looked hard at her skin and features. The young girl was gone, but a handsome woman had taken her place.
There is something about poverty that smells like death. Dead dreams dropping off the heart like leaves in a dry season and rotting around the feet; impulses smothered too long in the fetid air of underground caves. The soul lives in a sickly air. People can be slave-ships in shoes.
Once upon uh time, Ah never 'spected nothin', Tea Cake, but bein' dead from the standin' still and tryin' tuh laugh. But you come 'long and made somethin' outa me. So Ah'm thankful fuh anything we come through together. Thanky, Ma'am.
I god, Ah can't see what uh woman uh yo' stability would want tuh be treasurin' all dat gum-grease from folks dat don't even own de house dey sleep in. 'Tain't no earthly use. They's jus' some puny humans playin' round de toes uh Time.
All these words from the seller, but not one word from the sold. The Kings and Captains whose words moved ships. But not one word from the cargo. The thoughts of the black ivory, the coin of Africa, had no market value. Africa's ambassadors to the New World have come and worked and died, and left their spoor, but no recorded thought.