He has become scared of sentences. Objects pull an unending, flesh-searing rope. And wonders if pauses are more suitable. An extended rest, a depressed pedal, an echo. Silence is not possible. Vibrations have been happening. And sometimes shaking, as though time needs to relieve itself. He will have been waiting. At some point it will converge. Nina haja. It is very mannerly. Time will have need. But extensions demand focus, and the pull beyond snaps forgetting. I’m sorry. You wanted something clear that started here and went there without jumping the turnstile. In regular meter. 4/4. As always.
The day had started. And continued. Sometimes there was resting. But a frenetic pace kept demanding our attention. We had to obey. I stopped. On reflection, perhaps we all stopped to dance. Our bodies jerked around. We danced in order. We were very orderly. Every now and then we would turn around, go search for what was missing. Skipped beats. Sudden arrests. Lights glowed with the eerie certainty of night. I’m sorry. I promised that this story would have characters. But I don’t understand how to split people. She insists that she is in here somewhere. I can’t find her.
This has always been about echo. Not you. But I don’t know how to talk to vibrations and returns. She is always hiding in plain sight. I’m sorry. That was banal. And you want a story, something about repetition and coherence. Something about mirrors and fantasy. Something about an I co-imagined into being as an agent within a utopic geo-history. Character. You want character. I got lost around the last page. Maybe we should start again. This has always been about echo. Talk to vibrations. Sight sorry banal. About lost character. Mirrors have fantasies about you hiding in plain sight.
You said there was a breakthrough when the sentences became like butter and you could slice right through them, but you kept pausing to taste and rub them onto your skin, and you arched your back in a libidinal pose that reminded of a dying pillow, a fantasy that haunted my childhood and made it impossible for me to sleep because I thought I was killing my pillow, and I really wanted my pillow to love me so that it could return my sweet kisses without resentment, even though I knew that it hated my pillow breath and thin lips.
If this sounds familiar it is because repetition produces coherence and I keep coming back to find the person I left here. But you ask if I keep forgetting that person so I can return. And this is as good an explanation as any and better than most. I keep leaving pieces of myself in strange places to arrest time because I will be waiting for myself. I am always catching up to the forgotten I who, in staying put, has moved beyond my uprooting hair. But I forget who I left in strange places to encounter an illegible I.
I am writing this between the time of coming and the time of going. In an indefinite tense called life. You say that this register is too safe, that it is a refuge from the terror of banality. There is nothing in the safe. We are red dust. We will whirl and whorl. We both know this. And you don’t want me to fall in love with you. Again. If this sounds familiar it is because metaphor moves across and dust particles re-encounter themselves in a million guises. You are flying in an ash storm of dead skin. Wait for me.
She is pressing mango-shaped stones. She has been tracing trouble, a star, a fruit, a fly on warm days. A story is pulling. She is haunting train tracks, selling for her future. Ngwaci will secure her future. She will listen to high-pitched music, attuned to the music of trains, and will resist their pull. Precious Memories. Sometimes there is rot. She has been telling stories, planting uchu. It means ache. Because she is always wanting, and stones feel like mangoes. She has been waiting for the end of the line, to assemble and make possible. Even now. A wasp.
I have always known she was going to be my mother, a collection of repetitions, a story that refused to die, a death that refused to become story. And when I started to write she refused to be captured, and would not yield. Even as she took shape. Hard. Difficult. Flesh-like. I panic and write to a friend that I cannot write “she.” She will not be written. This, my friend, says, is because to write is to count, and to count is to kill, and to kill is to be made killable. You fear to write extinction into she.
Uchu means ache. I am missing the pain of you. You have wanted me to yield, for our being-together to be pillowed. You want the softness of nice. Uchu hurts. I am hungry. I want. I have been hiding my hunger and now you think I am talking about love. She has left me mango-shaped memories. A stone, a star, a fruit pit. Returns pillow being. Here. Maybe we should start again, recover drain skin, recover ashy yesterdays and Vaseline promises. No more sad love songs. Is that what this has been? Uchu is ache. Wendo is love. Uchu wendo.
There is tenderness and it is possible. We are past the time of epiphanies. We are waiting for the long-life of something else, not here. Something else, not violence. Something else, not now. And so I keep looking up, looking past, looking beyond, looking over. Your shoulder. You. Now. Because to say this is enough, now, here, with you. I want our being-together to be mango-raw. Sprinkled with cayenne. A shared string caught between teeth. Tazameni, tazameni, aliyofanya. Tazameni, tazameni, aliyotaka. Tazameni, tazameni, tuliyofanya. This will have been a beginning, again, and a start. Echo lingers in the afters. Echo lingers after.