Loyola Beach

Someone had raised the red flag of love and I was late and did not know if it had summoned or simply signaled the existence of waves that looked like flames, but nevertheless there it was, the blue burn of the lake licking the sky.

Beyond Sighs and Silences

Last night, I watched Mudbound with my friend M. (If you’ve not yet watched the film, this post will contain “spoilers.”) After it ended, I recall a quite audible and elongated sigh. My first reaction to the film was that here was another reconciliatory work of art, one that, from the very beginning, centered and …

The Outsides of Ourselves

The scene I’d like to talk about is not the one that surrounds the still above, though it’s similar, for it too is a moment of tenderness amidst terror, a moment of true and truly listening, and so a truth. The scene I’d like to talk about in Bergman’s Shame (1968) is the one in which …

Does It Reach?

Tonight, in the middle of a public conversation between the artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith and the scholar Christina Sharpe, the college-aged kid who was doing sound for the event was needed to help produce sound for a video. He gently approached the table where the conversation was taking place before us, hunched over as if to not …

Some Notes on Painting a Film

Yesterday at work, in anticipation for this week’s Block Cinema screenings of films by Femi Odugbemi, I walked the three flights up to the Herskovits Library of African Studies to see their Nollywood pop-up exhibition. I was drawn by the announcement that the library had acquired hand-painted movie posters from Ghana. Fortunate enough to be …

(Not) Only a Beginning

Honestly, the origins of this project probably extend back to my childhood, but that’s for another post. For now, let’s start in 2001 or 2002, in a classroom on a hill in the Lehigh Valley, where I first met William R. Scott, an incredibly brilliant and generous scholar, teacher, and man, who would eventually become …

Abbreviation

I wrote a line in my journal on May 22, 2014, not yet a month after Pam had been re-diagnosed, followed by a question mark, because I am uncomfortable with answers: “Life is the further abbreviation of abbreviations.” Mid-15c., “act of shortening; a shortened thing,” from Middle French abréviation But if life extends beyond living, …

We make sharp edges of memory

Amidst the fade and blur, we make sharp edges of memory and inscribe them, writing in and out of the lines, an archive making of survival and of further bring forth, what we bring with us just as present as the past was and never is.

Such a thing

Each time I wake, I tilt my head and listen for what’s soft. Can you believe there’s such a thing as too soft?

The Blur

Impatient as always, and after a night of nightmares, I shoot my first images in the dark. We say that dreams aren’t real but last night, among other things, I had a gun to my head. Much like my memory of the dream, what I feel now from it is a blur. The blur is …

Even Unremarked

Meanwhile, four marked and unmarked cars full of white cops pull up to make a further spectacle of a young black male already in handcuffs. I watch (does that help at all?) as one of the cops says, “This is just a misdemeanor, right? I’m not going to pull a rock out or something?” So …

Debitum

A debt / Grief is also What’s owed

Maybe Grief Settles

Maybe grief settles, but mostly I feel made anew—the anxious awe of a newborn yet without the innocence that makes things soft. It’s been almost 15 months and somehow the now—not the then—is what’s hardest. The resounding not here is what hurts most. In the empty moments, in moments of panic and crumble, I try to …

Inasmuch as

For Teju Cole I want to tell you about a dream. It was of a tree. A drawing of tree. A dream of a drawing of a tree. Once, I wrote to you, You can show me this park and I can name the birds in its trees. And you wrote in reply, You can …

How Beauty Bounces

After Brendan Fernandes How beauty bounces, takes these bodies, like sun-glimmered waves, and throws us. Take these bodies. Without heads and unseen here because always seen: the hangers. Out of glass so as to see and see through. Clear as a kind of beyond and after, a kind of fore-getting. Glass so as to suspend …