Sunday, February 21, 2010, 8:47 PM
subject: Re: mp
so i know there’ve been times i’ve thought to myself that is when i fell in love with him and each time, each and every time, it’d be some different time … nothing consistent or whatever. but i guess it just means that there were several, various moments when i knew i had to love you. but that one time you called me all the way the fuck out? i guess now it’s hilarious but then? then, it was just hurtful because i couldn’t figure it out. sitting at a diner – as we always did – and me expressing to you
but i didn’t know you were really into me … i didn’t think i was attractive enough for you
you called out the bullshit i didn’t even know was there.
you must think everyone else in the world is shallow as hell … and you must think that you’re the only one who could possibly “like” [yeah…the finger thing you did there] someone for reasons both physical and otherwise. you must think you the smartest dude in the world and that’s the reason nobody likes you. that? that’s that bullshit. i’m sitting across the table from you right now telling you that i “like” you and you still won’t hear me?
and i sorta just sat there stunned. stunned because it made so much sense but i didn’t even know i was thinking it or something. like, with each enunciation of why are you into me was both a doubt and desire. so i guess doubt and desire sorta reside right next to each other, along the same sorta harmonic scale, though distance separates the two concepts. doubt and don’t … where don’t is what indexes doubt. i did not want to give in to the possibility of you. that i was – finally, though i’d been wanting it for a long time – i was falling for something that was real and i was vulnerable and who has the time for that shit?
of course, i didn’t argue with you then. you had that effect on me. but i’d argue, or resist a bit at least, now. it’s not that i thought i was smarter than everyone else. it’s just that i didn’t know what to think of myself. that’s all. unsure. doubtful. letting the don’t verb itself as a the constitutive force of my life, my love. so, sure, there may have been some narcissism or some egotistical baggage weighing down my misreading of you, making it appear that nobody could ever want me because i conceived myself as so unique and different – and though i think we’re all unique and different or whatever – i used that to buttress my resistance to connecting with you. not so much shallow as just ignorant. can i get off with a my bad? lol.
but i dunno. maybe there’s a hint of narcissism and shallowness whenever anyone declares that their difference is an impediment to connection. reminds me of one of my students last week. we were talking about the nature of all this gospel music i keep having them listen to. so after we’d listened to Emily Bramm Bibbey and Loretta Oliver, and after the subsequent conversation about their voices sounding “wet,” this dude – who NEVER talks in class – speaks up and says [i allow my students to cuss because, well…i cuss a lot in class…lol], he said
their voices do sound wet! and it seems like those voices are just dying. Professor A! i never listened to gospel music before this class but hearing all these voices, and how they’re on the verge of death, just makes me think about the slave stories you had us read and i was reading this guy named Orlando Patterson and how slaves are socially dead and i totally get it now!
it’s like…i wish i wore glasses just so i could take the glasses off my face, close my eyes, throw my head back, and give a looooong, pulsating sigh. it’s like…an affront to everything i’d been trying to teach in the class. those voices? those voices bespeak life…and to sound all like a bible, life abundantly. even on the very literal sense, a voice enunciating itself is made possible by breath…by animus…by spirit. and to think of a voice as enunciating death is to have made a declaration from a very particular, peculiar position that life was never possible for those voices in the first place. anyway. there was narcissism and not just more than a little bit of shallowness in his set of concerns. the sort that declares without reservation that some things for some individuals is not possible because of some unavoidable, inescapable condition. what’s so weird is that it took his emphatic, excited opening up that allowed me to see that i was totally against “social death” categorically but allowed the idea to animate the way i behaved with you. and that shit’s corny.
i only wish i had your eloquence to call him out in the ways you called me out. i said something hopefully, at least partially, helpful.
the idea of natal alienation and estrangement along with the idea of inhibited honor, i can do without. i’m not really into social death because, well, seems that it depends upon a continual misreading and misrecognition of the conditions of life, the fact of the irrepressible nature of life. it grows. those voices aren’t on the verge of death any more than any one of us is on the verge of death: death is a fact of life and not the other way around. the capacity for Bibbey and for Oliver to dig down more deeply and take another breath IS LIFE. the ability for the slaves gathered in brush harbors in secret, performing theological conviction with the ring shout for HOURS until, at the point of exhaustion, they’d fall out and laugh – using more breath after breath had been thought to be nothing other than evacuated – IS LIFE! Harriet Jacobs in her grandmother’s crawspace, unable to see almost anything but listening to the voices of her children, and her children hearing coughs from the crawlspace so much so that her son “knew” she was alive, there, caring and watching – literally – over them, and pushed other children away from the area so as to make sure no one else would hear her, him acting in a reciprocal moment of care and protection? that’s LIFE, dude.
then it hit me. sure. we were sinning, according to some. we went to diners and smiled. we went to the movies and laughed – loudly – together. we held each other and fucked a lot. we sang and played and made music. we held hands. we argued…too much. we loved. we breathed each other. every.damn.day. we could not be separated, not even when folks said all kinds of shit about us, youtube comments or just in passing. didn’t matter. because we had something in us, between us, that exceeded any of those desires to regulate and repress that which we had: life. couldn’t be contained. and a love like that is possible, not when one (me? lol) continues to believe their own hype about how great – and thus, unlovable – they are. the love to which we arrived was possible because breath exists, life exists and was waiting for us to realize it. or waiting for me to accept it.
i hate that you’re gone but all i do is think about your nearness to me. i have yet to have a night that does not remember you. and i am sad. maybe more some other time. for now, i just want to breathe in the body of this bourbon [a poor attempt at punning, i know].
this is my prayer,