William Faulkner Reviews An Uprising of Angels

The unheavenly, inexorably scorching sun beat down on a more than dusty road—a road beyond dust, connecting the past and future, beyond the irrepressible earth itself, into a throat parched dryness and heart stopping swelter of an afternoon from another era, another day, like the Los Angeles slum ridden and dark secret hidden neighborhoods in the book I was reading as I sat by the side of that dusty, dusky, infernal road to hell and back, my back against a weeping willow tree and a damp rag from mopping my brow in my hands, hands gnarled and shaking, angry hands as angrily I read about a riot and the never to be ended, never should have begun struggle of the races against each other that reaches deep into the nation’s past and soil and soul, from the South I knew to the western Pacific shores I didn’t, into a huge metropolis beyond anything I ever experienced, being from a postage stamp sized county in a state swarming with hatred and despair and immutable actions, unsilent words, unspoken deeds and bitter emotions, emotions rambling through centuries and eons of human relationships and uncivilized civilizations, only to end up carrying that weight of race and flesh and skin, those battles never unfought and never finished, into a riot of universal size with gangs of great-great grandsons of slaves and slaveowners, of sharecroppers, storekeepers, and barn burners’ descendents exploding once more, uncontrollable, irreconcilably turning streets into bloody highways saturating the dust and filling the skies with smoke and flames as if nothing has ever been learned and nothing could ever be learned, for how could it, if all that I have recorded and written about men and their hatred has never been assimilated into hearts or souls but rather turned out and ignored, my words having meant nothing to these Los Angeles men and their furious undiscriminating unassailable dispatching of death and destruction all so very many years since I myself  toiled my fingers on pen and paper, ink stained to pass a message that’s been unread, unlearned, uncared for, since as Baldwin writes, this riot erupted, this cataclysmic abysmal unfathomable eruption of hell’s deep darkness onto the earth where men still walk and breathe and live yet must fight and struggle with themselves and others over what, if not their own beyond interminably terrible destinies and drives, desires and indefatigable selfishness where justice is damned and no one is safe in their homes, their skins, their lives, all lives reduced to the rubble beneath  the passing years’ feet and I, myself, in my legacious state of misfortunate fame or infamy can neither affect nor change, despite all the books, all the stories, all the writing I did, so that Baldwin now must take up the pen and once again, as I and others before him have, to record the impossible, impenetrable, unending and unfailing misery befalling the never innocent at the hands of the always guilty men who fail to get along?

 

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