Monday, June 05, 2006

I reviewed the directions my neighbor Volker had written out for me, periodically checking back and forth between them and my pocket M├ętro/RATP map as the train sped towards the Bastille station. Volker, who lived in the apartment across the hall from where I was staying during my research sabbatical in Paris, had told me that he visited this bar at least once a month, and he'd assured me, though we'd only had a few conversations and hadn't discussed my particular bar tastes, or tastes in men for that matter, that I'd like it. For a moment I wondered if I should get off at the next stop and try to find my way to one of the other bars I'd picked out myself, or even just go back home and read through the lone paragraph that I'd written based on three weeks of archival work on Louis XIV's edict of 1685 -- which had become the code noir -- and the regulation of slavery and black bodies. I could see its opening sentence as if it were now sitting on my lap: "The question of the humanity of any human being should never be a question." The thought of the next sentence, from which I couldn't summon a single word, and of the paltry few that followed and failed to fill out even half a page sank my spirits, so I refocused my thoughts on my destination. Evenings out had always recharged me back in Chicago.

Black Code by John Keene


Found at Blithe House Quarterly

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