Conditions of expanse

Algebraic equations of death

Two postcard images of 'Broken Obelisk' at the Rothko Chapel in honor of Martin Luther King.

… in an altered time  my breath catches yours  my question to myself  what poem would I have written  if what has happened   already   hadn’t already happened  what song  would my throat have sung  in between the notes  moving with the breath of breath … what dance have danced me …

 

when i began this blog i felt as if COVID-19 stalked us, lurking behind doors, entering through keyholes —

 

when i began this blog the first thing i asked myself every morning on awaking was how many had died —

 

when i began this blog i once lay in bed and counted the number of lovers i had had and laughed —

 

when i began this blog i felt as if our fear petrified us —

 

when i began this blog we cowered behind our doors —

 

when i began this blog people baked sourdough bread —

 

when i began this blog I didn’t —

 

when i began this blog i thought of the Mazda advertisement with the refrain “Zoom, Zoom, Zoom” when i first heard about Zoom —

 

when i began this blog i had not yet come to hate the word pivot —

 

when i began this blog my mother and father were both dead, yet i was not an orphan —


 

OTTAWA URGED TO SANCTION CHINESE OFFICIALS

 

Life is what it is about …*

 

when i began this blog i had two brothers and one living sister who does not speak to me —

 

when i began this blog people gave each other a wide berth on the 

streets —

 

when i began this blog I fell in love with Audre Lorde’s words and wisdoms all over again —

 

when i began this blog i had to use the master’s tools —

 

when i began this blog i wanted not so much to dismantle as to destroy the master’s house, with or without his tools, and by any means 

necessary —

 

when i began this blog i enjoyed making white folk step off the sidewalk —

 

when i began this blog i did not know who George Floyd was —

handwritten equations on paper - "Algebraic Equations of Death"

 

when I began this blog i knew that Minneapolis was in Minnesota and that the source of the word was Indigenous —

 

when i began this blog i did not know that the Minne in Minneapoliis was a Dakota word meaning water —

 

when i began this blog i did know the word Minne ha-ha and I loved the sound of it —

 

when i began this blog i combed my hair every day —

 

TRUMP STEPS UP CHINA OFFENSIVE

 

If we were not so single-minded

about keeping our lives moving …*

 

when i began this blog my greatest fear was being in an airplane that was flying through
turbulence —

 

when i began this blog i mourned and rejoiced —

 

when i began this blog my toes were painted ox blood red —

 

when i began this blog Black lives mattered — 

 

when i began this blog the idea that police forces should be defunded or abolished was unheard of —  

 

when i began this blog Aunt Jemima still appeared on pancake syrup bottles —

 

when i began this blog the statue of the former slave owner Edward Colston had not yet been thrown into the Bristol Harbour —

 

when i began this blog three young Black girls had not yet danced on the plinth on which Colston’s statue stood —

 

when i began this blog I had no idea what deep and visceral satisfaction I would get from watching statues topple —

 

when i began this blog no statues of Robert E. Lee had been removed or pulled down —

 

when i began this blog all the statues of King Leopold were intact in Belgium —

 

when i began this blog the statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore had not yet reached its expiry date —

 

The obelisks of ancient Egypt represented the benben,

 the primordial mound upon which the god Atum 

stood at the creation of the world. ... 

The Egyptians believed a day would come 

when the gods would die and all 

would return to the uniformity of primordial chaos.  

— Ancient History Encyclopedia

 

 

when i began this blog the state flag of Mississippi had not yet been finally furled —

 

When i began this blog the Confederate flag still flew at NASCAR —

 

When i began this blog, we feared a virus that appeared to stalk us —

 

When i began this blog the populace sheltered in place or were shut down or locked down —

 

when i began this blog we did not wear masks —

 

when i began this blog the land had already been stolen —

 

when i began this blog the people had already been stolen and brought across the black waters —

 

For the artist Michael Parker, the unfinished obelisk 

raises questions about hierarchy, failed power structures, 

and the relationship between the power of a single person 

who commands over many.
— Maggie George (KCET)

 

when i began this blog the owners of the Washington Redskins did not intend to retire the name the team —

 

when i began this blog the owners of the Washington Redskins believed that the name would remain for another hundred years —

handwritten equations on paper

 

when i began this blog time appeared to have come to a stand still —

 

when i began this blog time appeared endless —

 

and for once could do nothing, …*

 

FIRM SAYS NEW TEST DETECTS VIRUS IN 5 MINUTES

 

when i began this blog Black Lives Matter did not have majority support among Americans —

when i began this blog Gwendolyn Brooks had already described John Cabot going “down in the smoke and fire / and broken glass and blood” —

 

when i began this blog i had only seen a police precinct under attack in movies —

when i began this blog America was the most powerful country in the world —

 

when i began this blog Gwendolyn Brooks knew that John Cabot would ask the the Lord for forgiveness not for himself but “these nigguhs that know not what they do” —

 

when i began this blog there was first the land, then the land and next the land and my is-land —

 

CANADA, US MAY EXTEND MUTUAL TRAVEL BAN INTO AUGUST

 

perhaps a huge silence

might interrupt this sadness

of never understanding ourselves

and of threatening ourselves with

death.* 

 

when i began this blog — 

when i began this —

when i began —

when i —

when —

 —

Once you move through cold, there is pacific.

Once you move through pacific, there is placid.

Once you move through placid, there is a condition of expanse.

And it was that condition of expanse that held me.  

— Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, from Noopiming: A Cure for White Ladies (forthcoming, House of Anansi)

 

*(All excerpts within the text are from Pablo Neruda’s Keeping Quiet)

 

(This is my last blog posting and I wish to thank Jessica, Divya, and Kenna for giving me the space to explore my thoughts, ideas, and feelings during a most difficult time.)