Restless Flying / On Holding, an Open Letter to [redacted] / Penda Smith

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Untitled. Fused silk. Photograph by Kevin Ryan.
Courtesy of the Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Foundation.

Dear [redacted],

We have to slow down, to remain, so we can get together and think about how to get together.
— Fred Moten, “Remind,” Black and Blur 

The derivative of loneliness translates as ‘to throw down lacking for with bread’. You arrive from a state of being to an action phrase that invites you to deject a lacking for with bread. ‘With bread’ reminds me of eating as a community, of the sharing of space with someone while nourishing the body, the potential of lack to be thrown down with intimacy. But we are in a time where we cannot gather together, and if I’m honest with you, I am so lonely.

There’s a loose woodened plank on your bed frame and it is so that when I inch closer to you, I dip into the mattress. We laugh like two small children as we lift the mattress from the bed frame to the floor. Now on an even surface, now that your couch is pushed toward your closet, now that my belongings are closer to the kitchen, now that we have made room for us in your small studio space, we get together, we hold eachother.  I wanted to remain with you. I wanted to depart from the flesh, and go inside to where the erotic throbs, to be a derivative of being, to be in what Moten calls “as arrivant in constancy, in the hold, held in the rub.”

Think about the breath Moten tells me. There is throwing down lack of with bread, yes, but what if slowing down was a mode of slowing down as well? And how else can one slow down if not first via the breath. Think about how the breath is a mode of transport into, that a deep breath stimulates the vagus nerve which sends parasympathetic supplies to the heart, which ushers and crues the body into a state of relaxation, “[The breath as] paradise as “form’s emergence in experimental exercise, in disruptive practice’, use the breath to slow down.

Moten looks at me from behind his glasses, what if this paradise is a disruption to the demands of capitalism that ask us to move quickly and automatically, and what if on occasion, we slowed down.  Breathing is not merely an inhale and exhale rather, an inhale, hold, and exhale. I was telling you about how sometimes I begin to cry when he speaks to me like this, like I am moving too fast and rushing to love someone with no beginning or end, only a memory wet with shame and even that, I can’t trust if I am who remembers or what is being remembered.

Tonight, there will be a departure. I want to take you with me, but there is only room for Moten and I at this time. He wants to teach me about the practice of meditation, not only in how I breathe, but in how I make love, how I wake up in the morning and speak a kind word to myself, how I dance naked, how I sip a fresh cup of coffee, how I sleep past noon and do not shame myself, how I journal and stay true to my feelings, how I watch the sunset over the Mississippi River, he wants to teach me how to slow down in all things.



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This is part of the cluster Restless Flying. Read the other posts here.

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