God's Gym: Stories

God's Gym: Stories

John Edgar Wideman

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0618711996

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In God's Gym, the celebrated author John Edgar Wideman offers stories that pulse with emotional electricity. The ten pieces here explore strength, both physical and spiritual. The collection opens with a man paying tribute to the quiet fortitude of his mother, a woman who "should wear a T-shirt: God's Gym." In the stories that follow, Wideman delivers powerful riffs on family and fate, basketball and belief. His mesmerizing prose features guest appearances by cultural luminaries as diverse as the Harlem Globetrotters, Frantz Fanon, Thelonious Monk, and Marilyn Monroe. As always, Wideman astounds with writing that moves from the intimate to the political, from shock to transcendence.





















Muttered insults. We were visible proof somebody was sneaking around after dark, breaking the apartheid rule, messy mulatto exceptions to the rule, trailing behind a woman who could be white. Nothing special about the scene in Krogers. Just an ugly moment temporarily reprieved from turning uglier by the cashier's remark, which attributed her surprise to a discrepancy in height, not color. But the exchange alerted me to a startling fact—I was taller than my mother. The brown boy, me, could look

intent on cleaning up a mess they'd made, her thin back looking even smaller with her little girl's shoulders hunched forward, both arms invisible from where he sat, only that once had he almost said to anyone other than his father, I'm going to be very sick and soon after that I'll die. Dressed for court in elegant business suits with short skirts and double-breasted jackets, shiny pantyhose encasing shapely legs, black hair precisely bobbed, Lisa could transform herself into a cartel-busting,

Floating through the air with the greatest of ease. Hang-gliding. Flip-flopping. Flip-floppety-clippety-clop. The horse-drawn caravan clomps up and down Hinckley's skimpy grid of streets. Disappears when it reaches the abandoned, dead-end, former black quarter and turns right to avoid the foundation of a multi-use, multistory, multinational parking garage and amusement center, a yawning hole gouged deeper into the earth than the stainless steel and glass edifice will rise into the sky. Is dat

holes, a little more rounding, squashing, to be perfect for bowling. And you know you can always find people willing and happy to do the dirty work. Turn us into something useful. Squeeze some more. Peel our skin, burn it black. Bore holes. Ask Emmett Till. Ask James Byrd, Malcolm, Martin. Check out your children. Check around your own body, sisters and brothers, for fingerprints. For work-in-progress. Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. The other afternoon walking into work I glanced up and noticed

Pow-pow ... Boom. Boom. Boom. We got 'em. We got 'em. They's down. Both of 'em. Dumb niggers running like they could outrun bullets. Damn. They sure a mess laying there, ain't they. Got 'em both good. Lookit the ass on this one. Looks like a woman's ass. This one's got a big fat nigger butt on him too, and long nappy hair like a girl. Oh, shit, man. This ass too fine for a man. Shit. I think we shot us a woman. And goddamn. She's still groaning and gurgling. Shit. Groaning. You sure it's a

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