“We Are What We Eat” says the book on the coffee table.
The bells, at 9:59 in a Catholic mind’s Sunday, therefore a Catholic Sunday. But I’m not… Catholic Catholic–culturally Catholic–yes, no. Also not just that. There’s more. Stuff that composes my religious identity. Let’s talk about it another day.
It’s a neighborhood full of Catholic churches
NOT therefore a Catholic neighborhood
What is this? Who wrote that? It sounds like an obsessive rabbit running to his thing he’s late to. But the being that wrote that doesn’t even have the dignity of letting me paint it in the cute colors of an old timey Disney cartoon or the cultural complexity of a classic work of literature that escaped the historical reign of the author function and took on a meaning of intense mockery of our knowing, embroiled in an intense longing for knowing. It’s just a… the figure in my head reminds me of the creatures in the Harry Potter universe that handle the money in the banks. That bank creature stuff on Harry Potter always weirded me out. Like her reformation compatriot in that story that takes place in Verona, Jk Rowling leaves me scratching my head about who she saw in her mind as she created the creatures. THe one character that worked in the bank actually turned out to be a greedy filthy creature, didn’t it? But yeah, the creature that wrote that paragraph feels like that. Slimy green in the soggy weeds of a smelly swamp, hurriedly assorting the contents of its mind according to categories that it’s been gnawing on for years. Its resolve to sort sharpened by the compulsion.
And all I wanted was to say that the book on the coffee table, that doesn’t belong to me, had spoken to me earlier. It spoke to me from where it sits. Its cover shut. Occupying its place as the 4th book down in a pile of other library hardcovers. We are two doctoral students in this human dwelling. It had asked me, materially, visually, out there, in the world, outside of my flesh, breaking my soliloquy (but is it really breaking my soliloquy? Yes). Asking me what I wanted to read. I am what I eat. I am what I read. I am what I hear. What I speak is what comes in, from the world. From out there. The out there that is right here, and enters my body, cochlear, paladar, palatoso, empalagoso, no gogó, tactile, Senhor Gato smells something, but I don’t.
Mary. The annunciation. I want to read that.
Or at least, I want to read something that feels… Inspired. Maybe the archetype of the moment of inspired creating is what I crave. I crave to hear and feel that. To see the writing of someone who felt that. Who felt like they were announcing the arrival of the arrivals to the place that is here and now and forever.
The longing for a sound, a hearing of such annunciation… Is it one of the things one is eligible to feel in that place of hearing speaking? Not speaking. Vibrating. Where all that exists is breath, vibration, flesh, sound, repetition. Then. Only then. Looking for relief all over and finding it there, a place I went to for I feared my life of listening was making me frozen as a mute. That’s not an abelist attitude. I was shutting down parts of my flesh that are active, alive, ready for action, connected to the rest. And I was starving it. That’s as violent as the celibacy that comes from fear of feeling, from believing yourself better than others. Understandable. But ultimately fatal.
I have been this silent before. I’ve thought of this before. It brings to mind Ze Ramalho’s lyrics in Avohai, a typical Ramalho track, with its playful paranormality of the daily. This one specifically is an ode to his “grather,” his “grandfather father,” or “avohai,” “avo and pai” in Portuguese. Telling off a pestering unidentified interlocutor he tells it “Se eu calei foi de tristeza voce cala por calar. E calado vai ficando so fala quando eu mandar.” The distinction, the knowing, the wise silence of his is related to mine. The other kind of silence… I think… I don’t know. But I’ve been silent like this. I who my own avohai used to say had taken my shots with a turntable needle. I went violently quiet as I encountered something in myself. In my being, for the first time back then. I was diagnosed with a throat tumor shortly after. I have the scar for it. It turned out to be benign after months of mystery and after ruining my adolescent puppy jock jester health overnight like it was poison after all. Now here. In a journey where I set out to look for those scary beasts in me as a profession now. I froze, I thawed, I stretched, I am healing. And now, my words are returning.
So how will this writing to consume come? How will my mind outside of the moment of ecstasy, of prayer to oneself as a being oriented in space, in that moment, orienting simply to the urge of staying in balance. THe balance of the rhythm, of the breath, of the vibration of the flesh in my throat, of the buzzing on my lips, of the relief in my jaw as it is stretched, roundly, elastically, elliptical, for sound.