mantra of no return
a dialogue with Lee Maracle's keynote address
Note: above, a video of Lee Maracle giving a talk at Avant Canada: Artists, Prophets, Revolutionaries, a conference held at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, November 4–6, 2014. Kaie Kellough’s response to the talk appears below.
too much has been made of origins
all origins are arbitrary
too much has been made of others
all others are arbitrary
too much has been made of outbreaks
all outbreaks are arbitrary
too much has been made of outcomes
all outcomes are arbitrary
too much has been made of outfits
all outfits are arbitrary
too much has been made of outlets
all outlets are arbitrary
too much has been made of outlines
all outlines are arbitrary
too much has been made of outlooks
all outlooks are arbitrary
people arrived from portugal. people arrived from africa. people arrived from india. people arrived from england. people arrived from china. people predated arrival. people arrived from predation. people were arrayed. people populated. whips patterned rays into people. people arose. people rayed outward to toronto, montréal. people raided people. people penned the past. people roved over on planes. people talked over people. people rented places. people planted people in people. people raided plantations. people prayed. people refried. people died and didn’t get second glances. people won scholarships and vanished. people lived atop people. people represented people. people brain-drained. people studied for the common entrance. people paraded to new york, chicago, boston, miami, los angeles. people stumbled and tranced. people took two steps backward. people simmered and boiled over. people plantain. people orphan. people sugarcane. people stole knowing. people plantation. people horizon. people done run from people. people arrived not knowing their patterns. people arrived riven, alone in the world. people made their way from time. people hailed from climes. people fanned their spreading. people cleaved unto people. people writhed over/under people. people arrived over/under people.
the rainforest is a mixing board with infinite inputs and infinite outputs. holes and plugs. male/female. slithering, electric water. liana cables. bloodline is a wire entering. plugging arrival in. current will be routed through the circuit. you are an overproof, alcoholic signal. outputs reach to the distillery at the airport that spills you back across the world. the wires crisscross and multiply. male, female, splitters, turn the dial on the mixing board, increase the gain. we will be hovering in the mid-range. boost the lower end, swell the lower end, theorize the lower end, occupy the lower end, the 99%, the undertone, the southern hemisphere.
too much has been made of outputs
all outputs are arbitrary
too much has been made of outsiders
all outsiders are arbitrary
too much has been made of ovens
all ovens are arbitrary
too much has been made of owls
all owls are arbitrary
too much has been made of owners
all owners are arbitrary
too much has been made of ownerships
all ownerships are arbitrary
too much has been made of oxygens
all oxygens are arbitrary
too much has been made of ozones
all ozones are arbitrary
a body, a gathering of waters, a continental jut. i near who parents? foreign, afar, not nobody. could be anybody. know my privilege, and is this grandparents? i know where they home, can fingerprint from immigrant map. guyana is the elsewhere, on whom i have never landed. everything guyana may me unwritten, may be. south of the equator, family hemispheres. i knew my great-grandmother, and only knew stories of my great-grand. master narratives, i don’t know any further, grand, mother, slave, or father. i know 2.5 generations, and? i have glimpsed the blistered, creased photographic evidence. fermented sugar has spooked the oral history. speech distilled in my grandfather. in guyana the bloodvines line-out, windward, leeward, radiate, trade routes across a fingerprint. in guyana whorl. guyana the pool, last sojourn of the motile, last truth, don’t know, before setting foot into space. walking on the moon. upside down. spinning, atomizing, becoming no return. sometimes blood spoils when i try to tongue my lines. i can’t tell, can only vernacular contour, toil, circumnavigate anonymous drift, swarm the dark. delineated back to guyana, there is arbitrary origin. i could been anyone, searching backward into no return.
with thanks to margaret christakos for editorial assistance.