The Turner House

Ain’t no haints in Detroit,” was more famous within the family than the story behind it. It first gained a place in the Turner lexicon as a way to refute a claim, especially one that very well might be true—a

as if being a single mom meant she was some solitary mule humping an unbearable burden.

A woman without no options is waitin for a man to come by an ruin her.

Cha-Cha favored short, earnest prayer, and he often wondered what took others so long., It had something to do with excess supplication, he suspected. He never presented a long list of specific requests to God, had always felt uncomfortable with the presumptuousness of "Ask and you shall receive." This might have been a result of pride, or his own middling ambition, but mostly Cha-Cha's prayers were a series of thank-yous and I'm sorrys.

Cha-Cha should have stopped running. Better to walk as if he’d been walking all along, then make a slow circle back to his truck. But he couldn’t stop himself. He wasn’t skilled at acting natural.

Either she stopped calling the men or they her, the mutual interest petering out like the last few seconds of a song.

Everybody else cain't be wrong all the time. Sometimes it's gotta be you.

He had set it up this way, encouraged her to stop working, practically forbade her from working. He facilitated this metamorphosis into pushy caretaker, clingy nursemaid. It had made him feel like a man, an old-fashioned, all-capable man like his father. Now he felt like a child. Trapped in the cage of condescension and coddling that he'd built for himself.

He had set it up this way, encouraged her to stop working, practically forbade her from working. He facilitated this metamorphosis into pushy caretaker, clingy nursemaid. It had made him feel like a man, an old-fashioned, all-capable man like his father. Now he felt like a child. Trapped in the cage of condescension and coddling that he’d built for himself.

He look like the type to bring a list with him into the bedroom, and he ain’t done makin love till he check off everything he got in his mind to do.

Here is the truth about self-discovery: it is never without cost.

Humans haunt more houses than ghosts do.

Humans haunt more houses than ghosts do. Men and women assign value to brick and mortar, link their identities to mortgages paid on time. On frigid winter nights, young mothers walk their fussy babies from room to room, learning where the rooms catch drafts and where the floorboards creak. In the warm damp of summer, fathers sit on porches, sometimes worried and often tired but comforted by the fact that a roof is up there providing shelter. Children smudge up walls with dirty handprints, find nooks to hide their particular treasure, or hide themselves if need be. We live and die in houses, dream of getting back to houses, take great care in considering who will inherit the houses when we’re gone.

I don't just sit around hopin for nothing. I do shit. It's the 'hope' part that fucks that line all up. You should change it to somethin like, 'We fight for better things,' or 'We work for better things.' Or 'We plan for better things.' That's what's wrong with this city; it ain't about the mayor. Too many people busy hoping shit will get better to actually figure out a way to make shit better.

Insomnia was its own kind of haunting.

It was a particular sort of Turner weakness: self-sabotaging self-righteousness masked as self-reliance.

It was frustrating, the way this siblings worshipped their parents. What part of their worlds would crumble if they took a good look at their parents' flaws? If there was no trauma, why not talk about the everyday, human elements of their upbringing? Call a spade a spade.

Says you and your family. Sooner or later you’re gonna realize that just cause a Turner thinks a thing is normal doesn’t mean it is. Not at all.

She considered Ferndale, with its coffee shops and pet stores, a decent place for her daughter to live alone with a baby. It was home to a sizable gay community, and the trim, muscled white boys who jogged through the nearby park posed a stark contrast to the folks she’d seen on the street on her drive over.

Slavery. Did there ever exist a more annoying way to try to make a modern-day black man feel like his troubles were insignificant, that he should be satisfied with the sorry hand society dealt him? Cha-Cha thought not. The line of reasoning was faulty; it was precisely because his grandfather’s father was born a slave that he should expect more from life, and more from this country, to make up for lost time at the very least. “I’m

That was how he existed in their lives: suddenly there, on his own time,

There ain't no haints in Detroit.

The same quality that read as dependable and even-keeled in his youth had crusted over and become stubborn and pitiable.

The things we do in the name of protecting others are so often attempts to spare some part of ourselves.

The truth, when finally revealed, is sticky like wet dough. The majority of it stays in place as one handles it, but pieces break off and adhere, making certain facts seem larger, more portentous, than others.

The words settled on her shoulders like a curse, and one thing was clear: there was no one to save her but her.

Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of Detroit’s African American Community, 1918–1967

Where do the homeless make toast?

You got a child to feed and a life to get on with.

You're worried about her forgiving you...but you need to be worrying about why you're acting up in the first place.