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
"Like brunette."
"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,


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.

See today's Utah discovery at