Friday, November 21, 2008

How Dark Are You?

For my Humanities class I read a short story called "Telephone Conversation" by Wole Soyinka. I really loved his use of sarcasm and the way he stood up for himself. So, I thought I would share it with you!


The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. "Madam," I warned,
"I hate a wasted journey--I am African."
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was foully.
"HOW DARK?" . . . I had not misheard . . .
"ARE YOU LIGHT OR VERY DARK?" Button B, Button A.* Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfounded to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis--
"ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?" Revelation came.
"You mean--like plain or milk chocolate?"
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wave-length adjusted,
I chose. "West African sepia"--and as afterthought,
"Down in my passport." Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. "WHAT'S THAT?" conceding
"DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS."
"Like brunette."
"THAT'S DARK, ISN'T IT?"
"Not altogether. Facially, I am brunette, but, madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blond. Friction, caused--
Foolishly, madam--by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black--One moment, madam!"--sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears--"Madam," I pleaded, "wouldn't you rather
See for yourself?"


After every reading we have to do an artistic interpretation. I decided to try my hand at painting again. It's no Chocolate Buddha, but that's probably a good thing.



Blogfully yours,
Summer

4 comments:

kel said...

Love the art.

The Odd Duck said...

It's sad how common that question is.

C.S. Perry said...

I really, really hope that Obama doesn't read this post.

Erin Alberty said...

That's such a good story! Awesome.

-Erin
See today's Utah discovery at http://www.findingslc.com.