dear moth's powder,
isn't every voice a bit of a fugitive? a figurative thing we hear that, once spoken, already exists - in what this philosopher dude Heidegger would say - the ago. and then, of course, that we wait for the soon to come of the voice too? the voice is a fugitive, it steals and is stolen, it steals away home because, really, it ain't got long to stay here. here, of course, is in my throat. i gotta say something to you and you gotta listen to it. i tried to hold it in for such a long time but i can't. i literally - quite literally, quote literally - can't. the voice agitates from the inside, expansion of cords, suck in breath, give out life. that heavy breath, pant, sigh? that's me not wanting to say what my voice will undoubtedly say in the first place. i'm just biding my time. you see, i'm sure. listen. hear it. in that space between breath pant sigh and the break when voice escapes: that is what we call the music, i think. or maybe: a music.
isn't every voice a bit of a fugitive? and i don't just mean this metaphorically (but, i guess Lacan would be on some everything you say is metaphorical, words speak lack, they point toward something they cannot seize shit. this inability to get that shit that it wants? that's desire. words and desire belong together. and i guess if you can't get with Lacan, try Addie Bundren. she's righter than he is. more righter than Lacan ever could write). well. if words attempt to seize something, the voice is the the release from seizure, it makes pretty (and?) plain the fact voices try to go somewhere but never get there. so we keep on singing, we keep on moaning, we keep on whistling, we keep on keepin on, i suppose.
isn't every voice a bit of a fugitive? no, this is not some condition that befalls the voice but is how the voice emerges, for what the voice itself is (Heidegger, again to be fanciful, would say "presences"). it is that thing which, of necessity, must escape its being held. it must be given, it must go out there. to be as voice, voice goes on its journey out from that which contains it. the voice is a metaphor for the capacity to resist being held before being held. previous to having words, previous to having thought, my friend N.- might even say, previous to situation, the voice is that which is voice(d) only insofar as it leaves, that it produces by way of ephemera.
i said or hummed or moaned or sang some it and then it's gone. that is how it works.
well. this is no poem, kind sir. i had all of this anxiety about the letter form i use when writing you. i learned very early on - as, i'm sure you had too - that in order to write a letter, it had to have five essential parts: the address, the date, the greeting, the body, the closing. though most of what i write you has a date and greeting - i enjoy writing and thinking your name - they lack official closing, i suppose and definitely have no address - yours or mine, actually. and most letters, i'm sure, don't begin mid-thought as most of mine do. i learned and duplicated this form of letter many times as a kid and got many an A on an exam because i could do it so well. but of course, there are many other forms to write a letter and i was so worried about sounding like what i should sound like that i was afraid you'd dismiss my content for my style. of course, i realized that my style is my voice and i learned to sing in church through imitation and still sing with some same melismatic, falsetto and growling mimicry that i'd heard and learned and performed way back when i was five in Ohio and sang "Jesus Loves Me" while standing on an organ bench because i was too short for people to see me and it was broadcast on the radio. i guess i never told you that i've been on the radio, at least that once ago.
at least people don't say well he sounds just like sister so-n-so and brother such-n-such but are moved even when they realize - as i do - that the voice i have is only in relation to all of the other voices i have heard and have been allowed to hear. of course, to send letters with no address on them is, to me at least, lazy. but i guess it's something more too. no address? just like the voice can't go back into that which once contained it, i throw these letters out into the atmosphere and don't wish for them back. i want response; this, of course, is my call.
i promised to never write you again and i will make good on that promise. i just needed you to know that i, in fact, did recognize that the leader of that university choir - yes, i still am obsessing over it after all of this time; if it had only been him or that one instance, i would not have noticed but his performance and posturing was but one of many such episodes with different people and different times and different settings with the same dismissive and elitist strains running through them all - i recognized that that university choir leader wanted to not only sing the song our church group sung by singing it "correctly" but that he also desired to suppress our voices and privilege his own. and i might be down with many things but the suppression of fugitives is something that simply is not cool because fugitives are most of the time right and those who try to capture them are usually wrong. (sorry: i've been reading a bit too many slave narratives lately and the characterization of the enslaved who escaped, shit...and the ones who remained as fugitive has been rubbing me - and my throat - the right and wrong way for the last couple of weeks. i've developed an insistent cough and notice it only when i try to speak of these particular narratives; it feels as if something is squeaking in my throat, from the bottom of my neck going right up behind my left earlobe in the thinnest most annoying line of mucous that i would love to cough out but can't but when feeling this, it'd block my voice ever so slightly and the sensation causes me to tear up a bit in my left eye.)
i love how Harriet Tubman or Harriet Jacobs can be characterized as fugitive, especially when i think of their movement as voicing that which must have been heard. if they were fugitive, it was because of the condition of enslavement itself and their movement out and away from that which so contain them was, in my estimation, the most beautiful thing in the world. they released themselves from their own state of perpetual capture and seizure because that perpetual state of capture and seizure could not account for the voice.
but that's not what i wanted to write about. that choir leader. in the church, he wanted us to never sing our song again with our imperfect voices, to put our praise back in the prison, so to speak. he couldn't take the sociality of the disordered and imperfectly fugitive voices. then again, there is an entire history of folks who couldn't, so he has company. i just feel bad for him because - oh, i didn't tell you this but - he called me earlier this week because he wants to come visit the church again. "you all've got something and i felt it when you all sang; i'll be back!" he exclaimed. that something we had? well, it was those escaped voices. he wouldn't allow himself to feel it until he was safe in his home, unable to jump and run and cry and sing with us. but, i suppose, he'll be back.
of course and of necessity, i must tell you that i will never write you again but we know that my voice is speaking.