- There was a ripping sound
There was a ripping sound, and I thought I tore the paper from the printer too fast. But the sounded lasted beyond the printing, growing louder and closer as if the paper wasn't in my hand. Then a hand emerged, throwing words in my face. I stumbled back wiping movable type from eyes surprised to find myself in a fight with my own character. One hand tight around my throat the other violently searching for the first phallic object she could find. A penknife: not quite pen and not quite knife, conceived during a failed attempt to write poetry while gutting poultry. Men can't multitask. I can't manage a description of the horror. Chest heaving, hair falling undone. Long legs like her grip tight as a cage. Skin glazed with sweat. Eyes full of rage. Voice like a Nina Mississippi Goddamn (Don't call her Sadie). "This is for over-sexualizing my sisters and me!" "But I love women," I plead, "love the way they sit and stand and 6 a.m. snore. The way they ignore catcalls and poor jokes. They way they fix the world. That's sexy to me. They way they earn Master's degrees and pay their bills. Their superior communication skills. I wish I could talk, listen, change the subject and at the end make everything all right." I felt her grip tighten, then loosen, her eyes moving left and right seeking a resolution. I felt the penknife through my cheek. Felt fantasy blood flow as I fell to the floor. She turned back toward the fourth wall and I heard her whisper as I cradled my fictional scar. "I may be fiction, but this is all you are." [End Page 491]
Quincy Scott Jones is an adjunct professor of creative writing at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pennsylvania, and an adjunct instructor of English at Temple University. He is the creator and host of New Directions of Black Poetics, a semiannual panel of writers and scholars discussing their relation to the African American community and literary tradition.