border crossings

I continue to stumble around, to lumber into things, to lose place, unable to find a “my.” Of the family portraits in my mother’s house, I am the only one represented by a single photograph

(I don’t want to be apprehended.

Twice over the past week, I have seen faces tighten or loosen as my name is said. With Fanon, I want to scream,


A friend remarks: how strange it feels to be part of the oppressive majority. It matters little what I think about how I inhabit the world, because I am already apprehended in ways I cannot anticipate or shape. And, now, the labor of being in the social is about, first, trying to manage the threat that I am.

I cross borders to become a different kind of threatening body. There is no outside to this. I don’t know how to be this:that. I don’t want to know how to be this:that.

The social is interaction: my mother speaks Gikuyu in public, marks herself, marks me, marks us. To be with her is to be emplotted, slotted into histories of hurt and resentment, arrogance and resentment, marked as one of us:them.

I respond in English, which is rude. I understand the rudeness of it. But I cannot be a particular kind of speaking voice, accent, language in public spaces. I cannot be that:this which I have already been identified as.

How does one inhabit the threatening body here?

What is the choreography of care?

What is it to incarnate threat?
I continue to stumble, to err, to uninhabit a masculinity whose (threadbare) suit I’ve never been able to own (rented, borrowed, stolen, returned, lost, destroyed). A masculinity I now incarnate because gender feels so straitjacketed here: older women grant me a deference that I don’t want and that I don’t know how to refuse.

I am trying to listen. I am trying to keep quiet. I am trying to listen.

A steady diet of sex-phobic, woman-hating, woman-bashing, trans-loathing, trans-violating, queer-bashing, queer-hating: and I’m still contemplating the violence I incarnate, the threat I am, and the threatened that I am.



I am listening. Trying to learn how to (un)be. To figure out the abrading social, the threat I am: the threatened I am.

3 thoughts on “border crossings

  1. You confront yourself as you confront the stereotypes, prejudices, and perceptions that confront you; well, we (or at least I) have confronted ourselves too through this deep, esoteric piece.

    Your faculties of thought that produce this kind of writing is quite deep – I have to re-read to figure it out. But after that, I am left astounded…

    Keep it up. Perhaps you can visit me and offer some advice on my writing (so far, just started out).

  2. “Trying to learn how to (un)be. To figure out the abrading social, the threat I am: the threatened I am.”

    Thank you for this, more particularly, for those lines.

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