dear moth's powder,
i almost critiqued myself for writing you too many letters. i almost pressed pause, stopping myself from ever again noticing the picture album still in my house. that pain was much too real to actually want to inflict a sorta violence against myself by thumbing through pictures and pictures and pictures of you and i and us and me and we and all that togetherness with family and friends and dog and... but mostly, i was going to write you to say something almost like (akin to?): i know that i've taken a rather romantic view of of the pentecostalism of my past. but i then regulated that regulation (would that be a full out and out deregulation? like a double negative? or would it be a doubling, making it more insistent, more intentional, more intense? you know, when black folks wanna do something, they say it twice: i'm ready to eat eat, emphasis, of course, on the first eat. unsure. still.)
the point is that i stopped short because i realized that romance and sentiment and sensuousness are deeply intimate partners, typically denigrated under the general rubric of the excessive and far too emotive. sorta like how, when growing up, one - some, really - of my non-pentecostal friends would say to me something like it don't take all that, meaning that our praise and prayers were far too loud and uncontrolled and getting happy shouldn't likewise mean getting sweaty. well. it's as if we weren't ever thinking about what we were doing but were merely acted upon: by the music, by the sounds. it's as if we weren't intentional but certainly given to romance. it's as if there was nothing in us that was making and creating and constituting but that we were empty vessels waiting to be acted upon. we breathe in, but never exhale.
of course you know the romantic era ended with the age of reason because reason is so reasonable and enlightenment so regulative and romance too sexual or some shit. it's like how we can enjoy champagne but not kool-aid because the latter is linked to folks who are thought to have very little judgment for pure taste in the first place. as if they can't judge and have little reason to be reasonable and thus, are not. that which is thought romantic is supposedly purely feeling and feelings whoa, whoa, whoa feelings are somehow less thoughtful. so i was gonna go through this entire self-critical critique of how i romantically remember the past and how i romantically think about our romance gone awry but then i listened to some music and refused the regulation of the pleasures i would so enjoy by thinking pleasantly about the past. well. i got into the music. i wanted to taste it: the chords and melodies; i wanted to step into the time and the rhythm and explore.
i'm finally cool with romance and i mean romance in the fullest sense (pun intended), in the capacites we all have to know through our senses and the robust deregulation of the relegation of this kinda knowledge, this sorta experience. remember how we'd lay in bed all night talking until three or four, you falling asleep mid-sentence in my arms as i spooned you only to wake up an hour later and begin again? me, right behind you, my left leg covering your lower body, my left arm on your stomach, your left arm right under mine, your left hand on top of mine almost getting a bit too balmy so we'd separate our hands and move our arms a bit so that cool air could surface between us because - and you know this - holding someone for a while is both beautiful and hot, the humidity emerging between bodies so close that between seemed to be a ruse.
you'd wake up and finish that sentence and you'd not even have to look at me and not even open your eyes and barely begin the sentence again before i was reawakened and reengaging and taking my index finger and running it along your arm and taking my head and moving it even closer and deeper still into your collar bone so i could hear you. i wanted to get into you as much as the music. to make you feel what i felt inside me. to transfer the butterflies that i thought about and saw in the pit of my stomach anytime i heard your voice. it never changed. it never changed. it has not changed. i want to hear your voice and still imagine it in the same ways that i'd always imagined it and even as i sit here and write to you i begin to feel that same way again and you'd smell a bit musky with that cologne and oil you wore and i'd take my finger and slip it in your briefs as you talked and play with the hair right down there, twirling and twirling my finger and around and around and making a bit of a knot and then taking the hair and smoothing it out again. and i would respond to your speaking but my eyes would be closed too and
that was the romance. and for the assholes who think there's no knowledge produced or created or experienced in that movement of bodies into each other - fucking could not do what our voices and laying almost still did, though it certainly approached it, yes, indeed - but we learned and taught and dissented while spooning. something about the small moans and shortnesses of breath and the snoring and the smells of our bodies - once sweaty, once humid, once balmy, now cooled and held - and the taste of your ear in my mouth and your lips with the ketchup from the fries we shared earlier that night. remember that night? those nights? what happens when we remember things as sense and not through them? i don't want that feeling to go. neither do i want that knowledge.
and i think that is the point of taking it to church or taking it just a little higher or by another saying that announces the vamp, let's take it home. it is the fact that there is something there that can be taken, that has life and breath and spirit, that there is something carried, held previous to the giving of breath as song that also curiously enough remains after the last chord and note and hand clap recedes. so yes. isn't that the music, the sequestering and organizing of sound that we hear? the song is an object that we use to reach things, to convey things. we turn our voices into objects, we instrumentalize our bodies for the master's use to sing and dance and pray. well. and with each breath - singing just makes this explicit - two things: we enunciate and articulate the weight and depth and materiality of the thing carried; and we are the weight and depth and materiality being carried. when we take it, we announce that there is something there that compels this movement, some spirited object that resists being stilled and stilling.
the looming question is: what is the it so carried? well. the sorta simplistic answer would be the note, the key, the tonal center and i suppose those would all be correct. but what if we're talking about our romance and our laying in bed while spooning? what would be taking that it higher? how could we take it, to know that it needs to be carried while concurrently carrying us to some something? i think it would be that insistently unnameable presence and feeling - butterflies? effects of butterflies? - that confounds the senses while heightening their receptivity. maybe an ongoing openness to openness.
or something. i don't know. what i do know is that we have not even begun to explore possibility. it's like how a lot of folks think the earth is the only place in the vastness of space that can have life, or that life can only be found and sustained when it looks like what we think it should look like. i wouldn't be surprised if some scientist somewhere in the world sometime in some future found that there were other ways to live - biologically - that simply had not been considered. like, what if arsenic could produce life (because, you know, we only think carbon-based things are "alive"). i only ask because i'm all into thinking about what music would mean if there were other forms of life, other modes of being alive. shit. don't black folks testify to the fact that life happens in what is thought as impossible environments? like in Cabrini Green or some shit. people eat and drink kool-aid and go to church and fuck all of the time in places that are thought to be nothing other than zones of death. well. people, i guess, should stop being so rational as to not feel. anyway. if we just pay attention to the music. well. then we'd know something about breathing and moving and living. when the time is right, i will tell you exactly how i feel.