Restless Flying / “i believe in echoes” / fahima ife with taisha paggett

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

We began the night in high intercourse. Considered ways of speaking without speaking. Considered ways of moving. In the nine-minute cut of “i believe in echoes” I find you, taisha paggett, move with you, follow the fragments you move with on the ground. Outside in the greater city across from the foothill city of my birth, you and your friends gather. You saunter an uneven length from one expanse to the next :: a composite field, a courtyard, a concrete ground in Los Angeles :: saunter the length in suspension. Solitary figure draped in fabric, a maroon bodysuit. I love watching you move. It’s as if your movement is a companion to the dancer who is my selfless self, the dancer who inhabits my bodiless body. In the recording of your dance, ground opens and it speaks— 

            move in a way that makes your breath visible

You move and keep moving as the apparatus eats the earth. Visible as in the ambient tracks you often move with. Is that your breath I hear inside the echoes inside the air? Visible inside me now, I breathe with you—{      } {           } {      }—visible in the words the sentence speaks. Visible as in your hands and feet clawing the earth, tracing a circuit of your breath, moving as if in quiet reflection. I begin to move in ceremony with you. As you dance in echoes you move slow, suspended, outside real time, in the loop of digital time, a public ceremony with an audience, move as nothing other than the contrast between house and field, move as nothing other than rehearsal. I watch you on a channel on the social apparatus. As the earth is eaten, the people gather and they watch. I sit among them on the other side of a screen. What had been on the ground is recorded. All I have is this nine-minute cut. Is it a group ceremony in black study yet? Spontaneous emergence held over, held in us. I was never there for any of your performances, we do not know each other on this side, and yet I move with you, outside time, in a loop. Ground opens and says—

            travel a circuitous path // this is the meadow

Meadow where we gather, I begin to walk the earth, begin to move with you as an invisible friend might, begin to write in adoration of your movements as an invisible lover might, begin to annotate your dance. Begin the errant search for broken words that speak from communal touch, common taste. Unhinge the social architecture of Western syntax. Make it all over inside the open. It occurs to me what I once mistook for sexuality was my first attempt at moving inside the sensuality of blackness. We never once called our way of loving queer, and yet it was always sensual, black. What we think we understand as queer, now, was once what we only knew as blackness. You once called what we did clear, as if we had moved from some place inside ourselves out into the public clearing only to fall back inside the quiet, the consent of our opaque commonness.  

In quiet, I love you as nothing other than what I attempt in blackness. In blackness, I love as serially as a poet. Series of lovers, sequence of fragments, then incomprehension, the slow transition back into friendship, then pleasure, the slow transition back into movement. Can we make a dance of it, our way of moving inside the nothing inside the gasp inside the architecture inside the ruin? Can we make a muted dance of it? 

You move as if no one is ever looking. And ground says—

            performance is a practice

None of this is real. I began to meet you in the practice of black study. Practice breaking grammar with you, on and in the ground, beside grain, beside you on the edge of a river, beside a tree. Drawn to you before I drew you. Held by you before you held me. As if we were waiting to join up in this porous ecological we. Then you smile and I love your teeth. The first feeling of love I have for you is for the bones inside your jaw, a mechanism you sometimes clench uncontrollably, whose teeth you cannot stop grinding. You who carry the weight of the world inside your mouth, reticent to speak, reticent to slur. I promise to fuck it up real good just once, it being the housefield, even if not yet, and we laugh and your jaw loosens, rhythmically through a red megaphone.

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

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