February 22, 1951—I don’t judge myself.  I leave that to other people.  And how many blasphemies and altered states make up my life in these judgments!  It’s like splits from your past.  You are seen and a measure is made.  You are this in a moment in time.  But things keep moving.  The day goes forward the sun and moon day and night and then another day like today is Thursday and tomorrow is Friday the last day of work week and then weekend routines until Monday rolls around again and are you the same as last Monday on this Thursday being the same tomorrow on Friday and what you do on Sundays?  No it’s almost like they smell it on you.  Your judges.  They smell something on you so you are this or that and then when you are something else they want to bring you back to what they already judged and perhaps this why there are so many splits in your past so many yous running around behind you who you were to someone yesterday or a year ago what David was to Bethany and her folks and friends in Hemphill who he was to me and Duke and his brothers here in East St. Louis what he was in Mississippi and the people that knew in him Austin and New Orleans.  Yes so many of you running around behind you like some marked measure of how you were seen once and how people keep seeing you halting the progress for perhaps a millionth of a second but a minute later you want to say something or do something be something that alters the path of what was seen and maybe this why I don’t judge myself because there’s plenty of this going on and all I have to do is take a minute to let the judgments in and I’m all kinds of people just with the same name I’m Cleota but I’m more than just a mother and a woman and black—I’m old.  I’m old because there are too many of me running around and who I am for the moment just depends on who I’m with and what they see so when David came home before his thirty-third birthday saying he recorded another album the window in my husband’s pawn shop empty of his electric guitar for going on three years now ever since Bethany served him with divorce papers and went back to Texas I didn’t try to see him as he was and neither did William but then of course William didn’t have a clue about any of this because what he saw was what he would see and that’s how the judgments never got to him—it’s the simple things—what confounds the wise.

My son has a low IQ.  Not David I’m not talking about David—William—and on a bell curve it put him in a percentile where many were above and few below.  But then I think having a few above is a curse for even if you’re in the 99th percentile with only one percent the same or above when you put that into numbers into a population say like the town of Hemphill where Bethany’s friends and family were from where say the population is one thousand if you do the math that means ten people are above so one out of hundred people you meet one might be judging you from somewhere up above or when you take it into a larger scale like America and say a hundred million people that’s a million people so even if you think you’re pretty smart even if you’re in that top one percent it would be better if you were in the top tenth of a percent because even if there are so many people below you there are always people above and if there’s any correlation to success or wealth or fame better to be dumb and not know it than to be teased with knowledge that when seen when judged still leaves you mingling in mediocrity.  And I think that hit home for David when he came home this time when he talked to his brother his second album cut by some small recording studio in Austin the numbers the judgments for he was seen by many above and many below and by the time he turned thirty-three there was a lot of Davids running around in his past a lot of people who had judged him as friend or stranger and even if you stamp that bias based on where you’re at on the bell curve the people seeing you and making their measure he needed that—some fresh insight into emotion—David needed what his brother had to tell him.  He needed to be seen outside the count of numbers again…

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