1. On the knees sucking a pestle. [Gripped in particular horrors: the stinked history of other inappropriate drills— being a girl.] Becomes revolving locale, cataclysmic obsession, a time-warp nightmare. In motel rooms: a ditty, a slim filth; asking questions such as when does one become whole, gentle whore? [Unfillable state.]
2. Which language rankles? Unsettling the tub of tummy? Sssith. Frozed. Sentenced. Fabric that is not fabric. A need for unrecognizable speech. Resisting the tyranny of the prosaic, the beautiful, the poetic utopia. “The language of ordinary life . . . use[s] convention and label to bind and organize us.”1 What are the limits of expression? Where does language go limp, break apart, or fall into pieces, stammers, glimpses, or just merely the black marks that make up letters?
3. A crooked finger pointing. Over there. No, there. No there. An approximation. A blurred vision. Attempt after attempt into oblivion. Opening and opening. This body is a cave. “To attempt becomes liberation.”2 The metaphor is a long process, an indefinite gesture, undone by any bell-ringing clarity. That’s crystal clear. It’s crystal.
4. Is there a blue fiery ice-ice to say this is joy?
5. I am speaking. I assert this. I must assert this. Entering into all that has already been said, written, carved into stone, reproduced, and reiterated into the very cellular makeup of the body. Ontology? [Strict, but not forgiving]:
Could not tell in the swarm what sound would be.3
Baring responsibility. A rock. To pull up from the layers of muck and shit some utterance, some something, that does not stitch me pinup doll, black rabid, black snatch.
6. Emergence on the outside. Fly. Spot. Chimera. Writing into—
7. Dancing here, too. Paly. Play. Which came first the black or the nigger? Who is reflected in “nigger jim” or the fat black smiling “mammy”?What is seen? The self. Or, hate. Rippled soldiers “that can be made, out of a formless clay, an inapt body.”4 Baring responsibility. A rock. To pull up from the layers of muck and shit some utterance, some something, that does not stitch me pinup doll, black rabid, black snatch.
8. fl a-m speak-ing] [langue] [whois] [clivage] [blown] [fragrance] [deadth] [catefory] [shape] [oh, seet molass] [brister-breaking] [dainty swerter] [glamos, glamos] [stritening]
9. When a father beats his son: “(Hint: breath from wood, swinging.)”5 The boy on the floor: “(Envisage: cock and dung-heap)”6
10. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
1. From Erica Hunt’s essay “Notes for an Oppositional Poetics,” published in The Politics o f Poetic_Poetry and Public Policy, ed., Charles Bernstein (New York_ RoofBooks, 1990), p. 199
2. From a 1999 interview with Myung Mi Kim conducted by Dawn Lundy Martin, unpublished.
3. From “The Natives,” by Dawn Lundy Martin, unpublished.
4. From Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punishment (New York: Vintage, 1995), 135. (Originally published in France in 1975).
5. From “(Narrative Frame) for My Brothers Story,” by Dawn Lundy Martin, unpublished.
Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2001 issue of Fence, as part of The Black Took Collective’s Call for Dissonance.