These Hands

When it comes down to it we must demand – demand – that the spaces that we end up creating make room for us. Which is to say that we need to be very conscious that our needs are takeninto account when spaces are created. After all, it is only when we create spaces for ourselves that we can really make room for others like us. It is only when we expand where our bodies are allowed to occupy that we can make room for other bodies, like ours, to step into those same spaces.

Baldwin speaks of intent – and how we were not intended to be. And it is seen in the design itself that these spaces were not designed with you in mind. They were neither made for you, nor to make room for you. Rather, they were designed to destroy you. To kill that very thing inside you that allows you to be free. To kill that very illusion that you have convinced yourself that you are chasing.

So it is no simple feat to demand that spaces make room for us. After all, the imagination can only be informed by that which is around it. And so capitalist minds continue to reproduce capitalist spaces. In creating spaces for ourselves we continue to propel this same culture of extraction, appropriation, and exploitation. Even in the spaces we create we eliminate ourselves.

But bodies with a stubbornness that cannot be ignored.

And breaking bodies speak loudest.

So even as we fight to erase ourselves our bodies demand. Our bodies demand that the spaces we create create space for us. Our bodies demand that the spaces we create allow us to live. And it is just the complicated nature of this task that kills spaces as soon as they are created.

The complexity that demands that spaces be self sustainable, and imagined differently that pushes us right to the edge of delirium. We look for different everywhere. Instead we find the same poorly imagined spaces. What then remains, but for us to look, demand and create?

Perhaps to support and imagine with. To let go of the idea that we, and we ourselves must be the sole proprietors of such spaces. And, if the goal, as it has always been, is carefree black bodies – then black bodies must be allowed to be carefree. And to imagine carefree – that’s a tall order. It makes more sense to allow for carefree and adjust oneself in relation to the shape that carefree takes.

To demand that we, like others, must be free.

Or that others, like us, must be free.

Because when it comes down to it, we must demand – demand – that we are creating our own freedom. For what is the point of breaking free if we’re only fashioning newer, tighter, cages? In the end our freedom will be the work of our hands. And that work – that work is all we have.

 

Undreaming

I went

in search of dreams.

Instead I found nightmares

masquerading through the streets.

No one asked me to join the party.

 

What is this of the freedom that I seek? What is it, you ask, of the demons that I know, that I don’t know. That they too must also be seen as the emotional equivalents of 17 cycles, a sore throat and two drops of lemonade? Which is not, of course, to say that lemonade is the work of freedom but perhaps to imagine that art, like all things is about turning nightmares into dreams.

Turning nightmares into dreams.

It sounds like the thing of dreams, until nightmares. Which is sensible right? That nightmares, inevitably, are the stuff of dreams? That the very things that we work so hard to figure out are just evolutionary waves, washing away at the sands of time. Often as silently and soothingly as waves themselves do – if you give yourself a large enough perspective.

The problem, then becomes opening up a perspective large enough to diminish the problem at hand. But how big is the problem? And how large is the solution?

The problem with writing, it seems, is that everything that is written comes out sounding so crisp. So neat and tidy. Organised, neatly hidden between the words of any pages are often years of any real life. But are they worth digging into? I say this not because I think that many of the words above would be worth digging into but rather to ask – what does real life look like?

What does real life look like?

That’s what you’ve come looking for in the lines of a poem isn’t it?

A taste of something real. Hejinian says that perhaps the work of art is to put us in complicity with things as they happen. I guess its anyone’s guess what we’re doing here really. Turning nightmares into dreams, putting us into complicity with reality, there are many theories. Generally, however, we agree that we are fucked. Artists, non artists, dancers, typists, singers, accountants, everybody agrees that we’re generally fucked.

In fact, we’re so royally fucked it’s kind of laughable isn’t it?

Like, no one’s even arguing about it anymore. Used to be there were some “we’re gonna be okay” guys. You know, the kind of guys who just felt like they had to say we’d be okay otherwise we’d not only be completely royally fucked, we’d also not know whether or not we’re going to be okay in this soon to come state of being fucked right? So now, beyond being royally fucked you have to sit and consider this douchebag’s behavior around how royally fucked you are and whether or not you are okay. Which you aren’t right?

Because you’re royally fucked. 

Sometimes we think

about coming up to breathe

and we hear the crash.

But that’s just the waves.

The waves don’t die.

 

But at the same time, you’re not. And that’s the thing. You’re another wave. And yes, you are going to crash. Hopelessly, probably and with reckless abandon, probably, and drop.

And even as you drop, you get smaller.

And the top gets farther.

Always allow yourself to fall

further.

 

Further.

 

Further.

 

Further.

 

Further.

 

Further.

 

At first, touch will be pain. Of course, to be experienced after the experience of having oneself to yourself will be a mess.

Allow the pain to seep in – it too has its purpose. It will stretch you as thin as you think you can ever be stretched.

Then comes the explosion. A pulse really. You can feel it now. The birth of a moment in space time.

You watch it spread

As it spreads it becomes everything that is in its path. At first you think this pulse is engulfing, destroying and there’s panic. But, in the end, it is only becoming what it isn’t. Slowly changing to fit the spaces that are being accorded to it.

And then another, behind you this time. Again it spreads.

And another.

And another.

As the pulses increase so do the waves. They violently crash into each other and the waters get more disturbed.

 

You’re frantic now. Having become accustomed to the stillness of solitude the pulses are an unwelcome disturbance. Worse still is that you can’t seem to figure out what is causing them and thus you have no idea how to stop them – the further you stretch yourself in search of stillness, the worse it gets.

 

The thing is, you too are a pulse – and you too are a wave. The more you become, the more the waves become you. Which means that a crash is not only a possibility – it is inevitable. So you reach back, inhale and head for the shore. And with each crash you dislodge more sand. With each crash more of the shore becomes the sea and more of the sea becomes the shore.

And so the dance between time and memory continues. And the dreamers keep crashing and remembering. Remembering that nightmares are only moments before the next…

crash.

 

And Breath

Dwell.
Wait.
Gather.
Create.
Expand.
Accept.
Pull.
Consult.
Study.
Restate.
Step.
Dwell.

Wait for
Gather with
Create for
Expand with
Accept to
Pull with
Consult on
Study with
Restate to
Step with
Dwell and

Wait for those you
Gather with to
Create for others to
Expand with those who
Accept to
Pull with the rest as we
Consult on the journey and
Study with each other. We
Restate to love every
Step with which we
Dwell

Mine

And therein lies the lie.

That there is a form a knowledge, of possibility, of being, of doing, that is outside your reach. That there is a way to be that is not only available, but readily tailored to your needs. That somehow, to exist is not only to defy them, but to destine oneself to a life of never ending torture.

And this, as has been created, has formed of itself a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In the ways that stories create space for reality the prophecy has made room for itself.

In speaking as if spaces don’t exist the narrative has taken over room. Slowly eliminating spaces around it. Just like it has eaten and depleted physical resources, it has eaten and depleted mental and emotional resources. There is nothing left, there is nothing left, there is nothing left – they kept telling us this. And, in nothing being left, we took the only option we had.

 

Old paths

can only be trod upon

by those whose feet

have met time

and memory

and learned their dance.

Guilty feet

have got

no rhythm

Careless Whispers

 

But a monolithic world is about as interesting as waiting for the internet to come back. And freedom is nothing more but possibility. Imagine we are in a room. We have planned to stay in this room for the rest of the week. If a friend locks us in – have they taken away our freedom? Now imagine a thought. Singular. Independent. Imagine it alone in a void. Around it a sea of nothing. Now imagine this thought is you.

How does it feel?

 

Between the stones

There are souls

 

Make sure your feet are

Clean.

 

Now zoom out until you can see another thought slightly distant from the first.

Move out further.

And another.

And another.

Until all that is left is a sea of independent thoughts bobbing to the ebb and flow of consciousness. Tell me that there is a place in this sea that a thought can’t reach. Tell me that there’s a place, save for deliberate action to stop an idea, that an idea can’t be held.

And thus it is the lie.

 

That somehow it is not yours to take.

 

Weary fingers

can’t grip

fractured souls

 Broken nails

let sighs fall

into the dark.

 Slipping

 

You reach out your hand.

In Search of Words

What, then, is there left to say?

That somehow, amidst creating what seemed to be a path to the beginning that it will begin to implode? Or is it that to begin is not necessarily to understand that there is a step taken but perhaps to take that step. Or is it to say that in the midst of the chaos there was a bird perched daintily on a branch, its feathers glistening in the rays of the sun? That chaos, like all other forms of organized thinking, starts with an idea – and has no discernable end.

If not that then what?

What?

Show me the words.

Give me the vowels that I might mix them with consonants and find a way to quantify this constant – change.

Seventeen shillings, palmed by a boy at a shop, particular care given to the one shilling coins. So easily lost. So easily forgotten. Dropped.

Like a collection of knowledge put to a broken beat and sold for 99 cents on the iTunes store. Like a downloaded album, listened to once and forgotten. Like a song on replay, lyrics held close as if somehow they held the key to the secret of immortality. As if somehow living forever is not only a thing that is aspired to but is also available at the shop for 33 shillings.

As if the fifty bob note in your pocket is enough to buy you freedom – forever.

Freedom.

Forever.

Concepts that neither start nor end. Space and time unchained and set loose on a path that is supposed to lead to the beginning.

Unmoving.

Circling each other.

Anxious.

Waiting for the right words that they might begin to move.

But what, then, is left to say?

Footrace

The still interrupted maybe, by a question: What do you know of the freedom you seek?

The peace we seek

The silences that we can manage.

The chains that we think we can carry. The weights we think we can bare.

Or, maybe then, freedom is a trap so tight – you can go everywhere with it.

If then, freedom is this – this ever elusive nothing that we chase in the escape of ourselves. This thing that we grasp for and never really touch.

Yes, freedom as a possibility, as perhaps.

Maybe freedom, then, is a thought. At the point. A thought from which thought can sprout. A not yet there.

Or perhaps it is that it is a word, whispered in the middle of the night to the unyielding moon.

Is it a song, that it might be sang and played again on repeat – circulated for a few days before dropping out of the sky?

What do you know of this freedom that you seek?

Where do you go when you search for freedom?

Tell me, what do you mean when you speak of freedom?

What then is it to speak to be heard? To tell stories of freedom?

 

“(I am) the speak with intent to offend offender”

  • Mensa, FOKN BOIS

“Lock my body, Can’t trap my mind”

Jay Z

“What you want from me? Is it truth you seek?”

  • Kendrick

“Freedom freedom, I can’t move, freedom – cut me loose”

Beyonce

You keep running.

Where it Hurts

You will begin to forgive when you understand the many ways in which the world has killed those who try to survive it. When you see how the scars have drawn themselves like maps on their bodies. And, like maps, the scars will show you how to reach the pain. You have followed this path lined by scars for so long that you criticize the quality of scar tissue.

Show me your scars, you asked.

Show me where it hurts.

Here, they said, they came one night and destroyed everything. Here, they said, I was nine years old. Here, they said, I was trying to walk home. Here, they said, I was in my bed – asleep. And there. And there. And there.

You thought that knowledge  – or at least memory – would work as an armor against feeling. Having known it becomes simple to disassociate. That’s what it’s supposed to be – simple.

But nothing is simple. And knowing that fire burns doesn’t prevent scalding.

So while you knew what was coming, you weren’t ready for the pain. Weren’t ready for the scars. Now you continue along your journey – an eager traveler runs up to you. Their backpack looks new and their eyes carry that a brightness that is seen by those who are yet to be touched. Show me, they ask, show me where it hurts. You sigh and sit down.

Here, you say, I wanted to understand.

Cutting Back

NMG to fire staff, shut down Nation FM, QTV

June 30, 2016

 

Even as they fell us.

Even as they fell us.

We watched.

(did it happen?)

Even as they fell us

Even as they fell us

We gathered.

The rain of bodies

and minds

falling in the abyss is similar

to the cosmos.

Only from the ashes

does the phoenix

Still, like Maya,

we

rise.

*pop*

Soma kijana, siku zazidi badilika

  • Sauti Sol

A change is gonna come.

Sam Cooke

 

Of course, to say it is beginning is to ignore the millions for whom it is yet to even touch. To say it is beginning will then be to say that something, that is yet to happen may or may not happen for you in the future. To speak to a start is to speak towards a continuum. Then, for those that it shall never happen – did it ever start?

The problem with bubbles, as always, is their precarity.

So then to begin is maybe to say that there was an ocean somewhere. And to say that somewhere on a beach a child pours some shampoo. And a single drop, praying for foam, turns and says – it begins. And rallies entire oceans beyond to the foam. It is maybe to say that the sky, as little himself put it, is falling.

And thus, like a fallen child with a bottle of soap there is cause. And the cause, and the effect continue to propel.

Still, children have friends. And children make friends easily. So perhaps it is to say that there really isn’t an ocean, there is a puddle. And there is a group of children pouring shampoo into it with the desperate madness that only a child can possess. And that little bubbles slowly rise from the pond singing songs of freedom and liberation. Floating above the heads of the playful children. And that all it takes is a stray…

In the shadows a figure stands. In their hand is a bottle and their voice is enticing. Little child, they say, it’s raining outside. Little child, do you want to play in the rain?

Tenena

If your walls could talk they’d tell you it’s too late

  • Kendrick Lamar

There was a time when you knew.

When your drowning held itself with grace.

Grace; that rampant, violent riot that calls itself a form of love. You can only be calm when the outside is drowning if the inside is in the same state.

Balance was never meant to be peaceful.

 Now it is time

to create my own path

but the bush

refuses to yield

to my panga.

  • Something Quite Unlike Myself

But all you were doing was creating and occupying space. You spent so much time throwing your energy at beating out a path that you never looked back to the overgrowth slowly creeping back into place. Now you try to look back to the time you knew and find yourself toe to toe with all the questions you thought you had answered.

What were the answers?

The cheat sheet that you had in your pocket has long been drenched in sweat, large chunks of material erased by time and malice. All you have left is a few words, letters, written in the braille of memory. You try to read but your fingers are weary from all the manual labour – and the symbols are strange.

Inside, you continue your graceless fall. Outside you sit still. Occasionally stopping to listen to the sound of the mosquitoes.

It is here that she found you – waiting.

She came from a different direction altogether.

You never expected it.

Expected it.

Expectedit

Experdetit

Hesperdit

Hisperdit

Whispered it.

The wind just took the words out of your mind and blew them in her direction. Now she wills you to get up. To, once again, find the answers. You look to the walls for a response but all you see is the bush.

You reach for your panga.

The work has only begun.