Douglas & McIntyre
How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired

Book details:

September 2010
ISBN 978-1-55365-585-5
Paperback - Trade
5" x 7"
144 pages
Fiction
$19.95 CAD

Douglas & McIntyre

How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired

A Novel

Excerpt / Additional Content

The Negro Is of the Vegetable Kingdom

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 I get up, steer clear of the shower and give myself a brisk face-wash in the sink. The cold water finishes the slow process of my awakening. Bouba must be on the Mountain checking out the girls getting a tan. The couch resembles an abandoned wife. Bouba will be back later; today is his weekly day out. Bouba is a true hermit. He can spend whole days without even turning on the light. The day passes; Bouba meditates and prays. He wishes to become the purest among pure men. He intends to accept the challenge issued to Muhammed: “You cannot make the deaf hear, nor can you guide the blind or those who are in gross error.” (Sura xliii, 39.)

Miz Literature left me a note, folded in four and stuck in the corner of the mirror. She had almost slipped my mind. She’s the McGill girl, the one Bouba nicknamed Miz Literature. That’s Bouba’s method. The girl we met the other day at a sidewalk café on St. Denis eating ice cream—he called her Miz Sundae. So as not to get Gloria Steinem on our case we say“Miz.”

Miz Literature used two long paragraphs to tell me she had gone to a“delicious Greek bakery on Park Avenue.”She’s some kind of girl. I met her at McGill, at a typically McGill literary soirée. I let on that Virginia Woolf was as good as Yeats or some kind of nonsense like that. Maybe she thought that was baroque coming from a Negro.

The room is awash in dark sweat. The fly has long since joined his comrades in the great beyond. Above, Beelzebub has been appeased. Green garbage-bags litter the middle of the room, their mouths agape. In a box (Steinberg cardboard special), with no semblance of order: a pair of shoes, a box of Sifto iodized salt, turned-up winter boots, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, books, rolled-up Van Gogh reproductions, pens, a pair of sunglasses, a new ribbon for my old Remington and an alarm clock. Idly, I stow it away in a corner, by the fridge. The sun comes slanting through the window in blades of light.

I pile the old newspapers into two stacks. It takes a while to bundle them up, then I stack them at the end of the table. I move silently through the darkness. I’ve sweated enough for a shower. The bathroom is tiny but at least there’s a tub, a sink and a shower—a miracle for this part of town. The old buildings in the barrio, if they’re lucky enough to have a bathtub, never have a shower.

Miz Literature left her scent in the bathroom. In his journal (Le Retour du Tchad), Gide writes that what struck him most in Africa was the smell. A smell of strong spices. A smell of leaves. The Negro is of the vegetable kingdom. Whites forget that they have a smell too. Most McGill girls smell like Johnson’s Baby Powder. I don’t know what making love to a girl (over twenty-one, duly vaccinated) who stinks of baby powder does for you. I can never resist going kitchie-kitchie-koo under her chin.

Miz Literature brought her bag of toiletries. Danger. What is she after? Is she intent on subletting the single room Bouba and I share? She must have a spacious Outremont apartment, full of light and fresh air and sweet smells, and now she wants to come down here to live! In the heart of the Third World. These infidels are so perverse!

Miz Literature’s open bag reveals a toothbrush (there’s already a constellation of toothbrushes above my sink), and a tube of Ultra Brite toothpaste (does she think the Negro’s sparkling white teeth are pure myth? Well, think again, WASP. No kidding, it’s the real thing. Ivory jewels on an ebony ring!). Special soap for dry skin, two tubes of lipstick, an eyebrow pencil, some tampons and a little bottle of Tylenol.

I never go anywhere without my little photo of Carole Laure. Hungry mouth and wide eyes next to the long, soft, refined adolescent face of Lewis Furey. The rich boy, intelligent, sophisticated, gentle, clever as they come—shit! Everything I’d like to be. Starring Carole Laure. Carole Laure starring in my bed. Carole Laure fixing me a tribal dish (spicy chicken and rice). Carole Laure listening to jazz with me in this lousy filthy room. Carole Laure, slave to a Negro. Why not?

Through a microscope, this room would look like a camembert cheese. A forest of odors. The teeming (like the tearing noise of silk paper) of shiny creatures. In summer everything spoils so quickly. A fuckfest of a million germs. I picture the planet that way and among those millions of yellow seeds, I dream of the five hundred out of the five hundred million Chinawomen who would take me for their black Mao.