“The art of losing isn’t hard to master.”

“Those Winter Sundays”

“Fridays, he’d drop me off at the movies, and then go, himself, to the movies—those marvelous western serials of the ‘thirties and the ‘forties in which good and evil in timeless battle thrilled us all.”

“It was a dream that burned like a fiend at my boyish brain the season of that riot.”

“It came as a shock, of course, and with painful clarity I understood that war meant bullets and blood, and death relentless as the tide.”

“The night descending like an angel to embrace us . . .”

“I was frightened by the relentless dumbness of all the black men in my life armed with knives, whipped by clothes hangers, bottles and switches.”

“There is, clearly, a long measured look in his eyes.”

“You must require what you desire.”

“So you spot a toilet; you take a leak.”

“There’ll be tomorrow, yes: tomorrow she’ll be purring beside me. Besides, I’m tired, nothing at all will keep me awake.”

“What business does the rain have brooding, gloomy, meddling about in this dry valley, staring at the crooked crosses, shining palely on the backs of screaming horses?”

“Two ladies: One tall, one slightly hunchbacked, both deliciously fashioned of smoothest chocolate there is. Their clothes created for touch.”

“Composed under the formidable static of the accidental hailstorm.”

“Children with the vice of being sometimes black, a tarnished bronze—and yet beautiful!”

“The wastebasket is filled with snow.”

“Stealing away like that on carfare that should have gone for an anniversary present!”

“Lord, I’m tired, nothing at all will keep me awake.”

“My dear, don’t search for me, I’ll be in a whorehouse in Moscow.”

“You must require what you desire!”

“Carrying on, the black men.”

“When I went he’d cut my hair.”

“We stand frozen in a nightmare. I said to him: Lord Jesus, lead me. To him, I said: Father.”

“Suppose you’re lost, but suddenly on the road again (the one leading to home): would truth be redemption if it turned out a lovely lie?”

“Harlem Gallery—Book I”

“They come. The car lights tick on and fade.”

“So last and endless summer scorched and ached over me. It startled and remembered itself into those violent nights. And then it left me.”

“This is a ritual still repeated. The women come each time trailing their rust-colored skirt among the willows: among the mourners the women come each spring to mourn the implacable elegance.”

“And Dick button on the radio, lodestone turntable and magic transmitter of sound—they do some flips and double flips till the air shivers with motion, dances, traffic.”

“Whose vision of ourselves and the world his brother necessity makes us choose to celebrate. ”