"John Henry" by Eleanor Davis
described as “The continuing legacy of violence towards black Americans by whites”
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I’m not sure how I had formed an idea of stripper naming conventions at that age, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I thought.
PREVIOUSLY ON SISTER CITY 73:
While in 3rd grade, a boy named No asked his Lesbian babysitters how you get a boy to like you more, and they answered, “No clue.” Romeo is No’s 34 year old godfather who wrote a grade school pageant about his own misadventures embellished with a few extra ex-boyfriends. No played Romeo in the original performance of the pageant. He has gotten a bad reputation for being fascinated with horror movie VHS box art.
Sometimes no clue is the best one to follow; as a 4th grader, No sails like the sweet breath of a zen archer into the lungs of a boy and everyone at school loves him for it (except for the teachers). Can this really be a place so close to uncomfortable dads having to tell their sons that it’s okay to be straight?! Can we do other than credit the success of Romeo’s pageant, which casually features love between men (which was as real in the playwright’s life during the events portrayed as the Santa he may someday get the opportunity to lie to a child about)?
What can being a significant other mean at age 10? It’s got to be mostly nominal. I think I remember that the girl I liked at that age was an ex of one of my classmates (empty boxes within empty boxes) and I thought her name was like a stripper’s (though I honestly have no clue how I knew what that was). No’s boy’s name is One Longfellow. With the cruel accuracy of a hawk playing fashion chicken, One identifies No—the kid who takes such pleasure in describing gory details to an empty corner of a playground—as the ultimate rhinestoned “world’s best grandma” vest that only he is capable of rocking with the confidence of a man who does not yet know his shirt is inside out.
For his own part, One’s image does not come between No and the page he strives to read, but every time a teacher calls on him, he’s playing with the binder letting of “No One” like the designer of the conquerer’s coin.