Reading The Blue Clerk, 120

“Verso 33”

There had been pause, planned and unplanned, a moment when something else needed to happen, when other things moved into the space of that something else, the things that stuck and were carried and arrived and snuck in and one was the many it was always becoming.

Disaggregate is a word.


A historian writes that within colonial psychosciences, Africans were never the individual subjects Europeans were. One was not a case or a case study—one was an aggregate. African psychosis. African schizophrenia. African neurosis. A mindmeld of Africans.

Is this why the word disaggregate now fills my pores, now pours out so easily, now attempts to act as method: in the grim and gracious particulars, in the singularities I now pursue, as though metonymy can be arrested, paused. Freeze Frame. See the detail. No, not the detail. See the world.

I am thinking of this when the author appears.

I remark to friends that I dislike much of what passes for “African dancing” in videos from elsewhere. They see the wide movements. The swinging hands. The pounding steps. They do not see the small particular movements, the intricate choreography of eyebrow and eyelash, the delicate finger, the whispering lips, the toes that articulate histories. I am captured by these small gestures, these gestures that survive, and more than survive.

Bodily vernaculars move in ways other vernaculars might not. To read these. But, no. Opacity. If you know, you know.

She wants to get on with things, get on with what she calls the work.

I am here to linger.

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