Major Jackson reads
Urban Renewal XVII
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What of my fourth-grade teacher at Reynolds Elementary, who weary after failed attempts to set to memory names strange and meaningless as grains of dirt around the mouthless, mountain caves at Bahrain Karai: Tarik, Shanequa, Amari, Aisha, nicknamed the entire class after French painters whether boy or girl. Behold the beginning of sentient formless life. And so, my best friend Darnell became Marcel, and Tee-tee was Braque, and Stacy James was Fragonard, and I, Eduard Charlemont. The time has come to look at these signs from other points of view. Days passed in inactivity before I corrected her, for Eduard was Austrian and painted the black chief in a palace in 1878 to the question whether intelligence exists. All of Europe swooned to Venus of Willendorf. Outside her tongue, yet of it, in textbooks Herodotus tells us of the legend of Sewosret, Egyptian, colonizer of Greece, founder of Athens. What’s in a name? Sagas rise and fall in the orbs of jump ropes, Hannibal grasps a Roman monkey bar on history’s rung, and the mighty heroes at recess lay dead in woe on the imagined battlefields of Halo.