Saturday, December 11, 2010

moth's powder (12.anothersaturday.04)


dear moth's powder,

what when winning is but an irreparable loss? (not that i believe things can be in disrepair, at least not while we are alive. still?) you have won. your desire for me to cease directly speaking to and engaging you? well. these letters that i have not sent, to be certain, still will no longer be passively aggressive in their address to you. at least not and maybe? but what you have won, of course, is some such loss, some such suppression of voice and tone and echo that animates us both. you've severed that which you desire the most. i hope you are happy. or maybe a different or new or more enriched frame of reference or center is needed to think through and toward, against and about what this silence and ceasing may in fact be or become. maybe: you have not won, i have not lost. maybe there is some such other measure or distance or way of understanding what occurred between us, between men, between call and no response.

and i am sorry for calling you last night. i broke the silence that we both implicitly decided was best for our moving on. and i would blame some such drunkenness or debauched mindset but i did what i had been wanting to do but for some time now. but when you did not answer? when you looked at your phone and saw my name, i'm sure, and when you decided that still silence was better than opening of mouth to say hello or hey or any such form of engagement because you knew and know that had you opened your mouth and broken your quietude that my voice would have had much too much joy in it and that i would eventually have had tears formed right here and right there in the corner of my eye because there would be - in your voice and my joy - hope, hope for a future, for a together and togetherness that we had always known was there and so desired but performed its impossibility? had this one-directional conversation become two? me to we? well. there would be a new way that we would both have to conduct ourselves and we would have to begin thinking of our moving and movements in other ways. i'd, maybe, think about how i should drive to you, see you, eat with you, look into your face one more once again, smile bashfully, watch you, watch you, watch you, open your mouth kinda like an o shape with surprise and happiness and a sorta youthful frivolity and cheerfulness that always, always, always made me smile and feel nervous right in my gut. yes. a mere hello would have been anything but, i suppose. and i know it because the mere hello from you would have only reinvigorated and refreshed me, extended the beat just a bit longer, given me just enough to hold on just a little while longer. well.

so in church, we would never "catch the holy ghost" (what is it? a baseball? we'd ask our friends whoever said some such phrase and, of course, we'd say: they're baptist! the holy ghost isn't something you catch, but something that lives in you. well. more on that soon.) but we most certainly were perpetually guilty of "getting happy" and these two phrases bespeak the divergence in theology and sociality in traditions. and of course my approach with you was with such latter tenor and conception. what does it mean to reach towards that which you do not have and, having gotten it, you reach further still? Mother Burke would be sitting and begin chanting and speaking in tongues from her seat. Mother Scroggins would begin to clap her hands vigorously. momma would eventually shoot up from her seat in the pew, begin walking quickly in between the pews, going toward one end, then the next, speaking in tongues.

they'd all be there, getting happy, together and of course, as kids, we'd be scared as hell but also fascinated and astonished. these folks would simply lose themselves with reckless abandon, they would be inside and beside and outside themselves in their praise to god. of course we could say that their prayers and praises were full of lament and sorrow. it was a storefront church and the members were, by and large, poor. i always would look at Mother James, in particular, because she seemed so sincere and so sad. and when i was a kid, i realized that she was older than me - much, much older - and one day i asked my mother why isn't Mother James married and my mother just glanced at me but never answered until i asked a second time and she said some people won't get married. she never did get married but she was always getting happy so i figured that the latter was the healing and corrective for the former. i wanted to marry Mother James when i was younger. the last time i remember seeing her - she moved back to georgia some years after i was born - she was in the church, had unpermed but pressed hair and you could almost still smell the mix of burnt hair from the hot comb and Dax pressing oil on her, she wore a plain dress that went below her knees, a belt, stockings and two-inch heels. she was a dark skinned woman with sideburns that she refused to cut, not that they grew wooly or were out of control, but on the sides of her face were the bits of hairy fuzz. whenever she got happy, her mouth - which was sorta wide - would open by her flattening her lips, exposing her teeth and gums, she'd furrow her brows. and she'd dance almost as if she were running, bending her legs at the knees back and forth back and forth dipping every now and then.

well. i wanted to marry her because she looked lonely and was a woman and i was a guy and though i was too young i wanted her to be happy because it didn't seem to make sense to do all of that praising and yelling and loving jesus but still be unhappy when one went home. of course, i assumed i knew what happiness was and i figured it wasn't whatever she was. she needed a man, right? that's what i used to convince me to be a husband. sure, i was ten years old. but i could make her happy. i would have gotten her tea and her slippers - something my mother always wanted as soon as she got home from church - and i would have combed her hair out and put it in a bun. i always wondered: does she have friends? who does she talk to when she goes home? she wasn't a member of our church but was, what we called, a well wisher, someone who visited our church often because she lived closer to our building than her "home church." but since i did not know much about her, she always was a bit of a mystery to me. and there was not much a ten year old could say to someone who may have been fifty or sixty years old other than hello. she was silent and vacant to me and i wanted to know what was the other side of that life. did she ever have sex? children? well. if anyone knew how to get happy, it was her. and getting happy is fundamentally bound up with the pentecostal theology of the holy ghost as living in you, as "indwelling."

and that's how i approach any such relationship. my erotic is pentecostal in its deployment. i want to abide, live in and with, i don't want to catch but want to be constantly in process of getting happy and love and joy. i may have been hurt and may have hurt you but i want to reach toward some such other way of becoming in the world. whenever i was with you, i wanted to stretch and extend and grasp and enter deep in and into you, unlock that hidden secret, that ephemeral discharge, some such thing otherwise than beauty and peace and love that is no less bound up with these qualities. melding and creating a new social by our screams and pants for breath and exhaustion. and the word exhaust is cool because of its relation to exhale and exhume and well, because i've accepted the fact that you are my ex? well. you know someone wasn't getting happy if they are not exhausted and out of breath by their completion. and at that point, at that edge is when something happens, when some other energy takes up residence and the person continues to pursue and praise and pray.

getting happy is kinda like how, before any such note that you'd sing, you'd pull the mic close to you and we'd hear - if we were really listening - that initiatory breath, the pause before the break into song, that quick - huh! - and then into some note or melody or phrasing. atonal with no melody or harmony, barely even audible but there for us, announcing that some such sound is to come, that breath is being taken in to be given out and away. that small breath making us anticipate being moved by the spirit, by the breath and life in you coming to us and dwelling. that short breath was taken into you and mixed with the already given set of capacities that you had for voice. you had something in you already and the breath taken became part of the admixture.

what i'm trying to say, i think, is that there is a theology of breath and life, a theology of getting happy and indwelling that thinks about inhabitation and living intentionally and with intensity. getting happy is not about the ownership or possession of such emotion or feeling but the perpetual movement of body and bodies toward such attainment. of course, had you said hello or hey last night, had you answered the phone and heard my quick breath into explanation and story? well. i would've been getting happy and you would have responded. well. weeping may endure for the night. maybe if i call you tomorrow morning, you'll answer?

i hope you're getting it...and me,


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