Reading The Blue Clerk, 147

“Verso 40.3”

A language of waves has taken over, a language that submerges loss. It feels that way. This wave is worse than that wave. That wave was worse than the other wave. The next wave and the wave after that. Compounding losses, Dag calls it. How to sit in the accumulation of pole. The repetition does not denude the sincerity. Sincerity? No. That’s not the word for how sadness lingers and saturates. Lingers and saturates. The air feels thick. The water cannot be swallowed.

Conquest makes the life of the conquered seem brief.

A banal example: we are told how many years this queen and that queen and the other ruled. 30. 40. 50. And, against that, the conquered truncated by history and comparison. Do we need more pages about the bones that build palaces. About the graves across seas, in seas, across lands, in lands, embedded in the stones that build and hold palaces.

When the Spanish arrived the thousands of years of the Inca collapsed into one earthen bowl.

Yet, I have found myself worried by the urge to comparison. We, too, had empires. We, too, had conquest. We, too, had ethnocide. We, too, had theft. We, too, had violence which we renamed as civilization. It might be romantic, but I’m drawn to Cedric Robinson’s musing that the Black radical tradition is not genocidal. That it works toward relation. This does not mean deaths will not happen. It means that the necessary is not the wasteful.

(What might this justify?)

All their lives collapsed into one bowl.

Every day. To invent a language that names something other than violence is also the work of difference. To stay with the banal pleasures of laugh and tease, touch and repair.

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