Down below you’ll find a running document of my thoughts and the thoughts of people who I love and who are gifted writers and thinkers. Some of these fragments are things that have been discarded from published works, others are extracted detritus of my own daily writings.

Written by Jose Carpio (@dr.carpio), published May 26, 2020.

I sat in the stairwell one evening trying to tear my phone in half.

Weighty and compact, its front and back glass panels did not bend. Its rounded metal edges brushed off the force of my twisting wrists, nullifying all my effort.

I continued to twist, wanting to see if I could get to the inside of something (anything), but the outside would not give.

I imagined that the evidence of my force was inside the phone: computer parts mangled by torsion.

Corollary: I imagined my body hitting the water, insides disarrayed, like a dumpling.

My body hitting the water, a distant dream.

By Naomi. March 25, 2020. Today is quiet, and in conversing with myself again I find that hues of maroon have become enriched, lightened around the edges and deepened in the middle. I wonder if those folks will find me at the outgoing tide of the lake, bathed in rubies, and if you—of my imagination, always coming and going—would consider me more me today than yesterday, than last spring, than this past autumn. Some seasons stick around longer than others, and for the most part we dive in and out of loss like visitors to the Earth. You should always express what you believe to be true. Remind me of that tomorrow in the morning in the light. When I woke up this morning, I was dazzled.

Ketterick Waddell. Black/Angst. 2020.
Photographic print. Courtesy the artist.

Written by Ketterick Waddell (@kettdubya), March 24, 2020. Vision is cloudy, yet from the third the light shines through. Dark is the day, and the night. Overcome with an uneasy sense of direction, polarized by every step. It’s as if we knew this moment was coming. When the path is transparent we anticipate it from our peripheral.

Two ways to witness the inevitable. Confronting it with the confidence of a drumline dancer at an HBCU. The bass beating in sync with a heart that drives conviction. The stadium glow bouncing off of vibrant melanin. Or, cowering in the presence of unchecked privilege and ostracizing stigmas. Minimizing your every step in an effort to avoid confrontation and condemnation. Playing the game without surveying the field from your empowered perspective.

Once in a while it manifests itself in the moment. Natural swagger that is in tune with every sound. Motions that flow in rhythm with every stride. Chest out, head high, waves flowing with a tail wagging, never tucked. Camaraderie from complexion, an unfortunate result of conformity.

Never do you have to explain yourself to anyone, you are exactly who you are...

By Naomi. March 17, 2020. And in time enough to be alone the mirror suddenly exceeds expectations, revealing not only what you’ve always seen (now more clearly than ever) but also that which passes underneath. S’pose it isn’t unexpected to see how tightly knit the sinewy parts are with those more fluid. It’s all floating inside me, unanchored, when all is said and done. There’s this assumption that we’re the dock for our souls. Never have believed in the idea of a soul, because how can it be we treat our bodies with such impernance and our more abstract qualities as everlasting? Because what I say is left behind after I write it down? I’ve always felt the absence of someone from my life when the person leaves the room.

By Naomi. March 3, 2020. The shape of knowing another person, and when did you first wonder what your favorite emotion was and why? Did you want it because it returned to you cyclically as in, the seasons changed and here it was once again . . . It’s as if you didn’t decide but were told. The tip of my finger caught fire in the dark and brought warmth that saved me from what had happened the year before.

By Naomi. February 29, 2020. It is a place no one else can see and that is where I will ask you to meet me. You will know of it because I will tell you how it can be reached and which way you should turn to arrive at the mouth to the cave. I await. You won’t find it in the sunlight; it is a place that becomes evident after the downpour of blue rain. This place is the kind that folds around its noises... breathing... the lapping of a handful of water against stone. It is a place that somehow demands so many prepositions despite the smoothness and simplicity of its surfaces. As I said we will meet there... but I will be there first. I’m mostly always there waiting, not for you, but for something. For an idea, perhaps for the extended archaelogical processes that were once promised to take decades and now take just years. Everything is so fast now, but I’m still here.

By Naomi. February 10, 2020. Green, green rocky road. Another green world. The color of witch’s eyes. Jade and grass. Sickliness. Envy. Salad as adjective—... color of nonbelievers. To be rested upon. Climactic, or everlasting. I see it long and out before me and want to walk down the path. Lives out, outside myself, is not wrapped up in my own feelings about other people, about things. Reprimanded in school for eating in class. Hours—over a number of years—watching the knoll. Wondering why my circle wasn‘t as concentric with others as others’ circles seemed with one another. When I was a little girl, my mother taught me to be a person of my own creation. Perhaps... one day, I would bestow that crown on a tiny girl I’d brought into the world... still... to decide if life would be worth living for someone else.

January 13, 2020. “My kingdom for a horse.”

January 1, 2020. The connective tissue of religion—belief (although people seem to love to argue that atheism is a religious practice of its own for its subscription to what they see as groupthink)—has felt elusive to me for as long as I can remember. Was telling my mom the other day how I never really remember having faith in anything traditionally fantastical, those fables that provide architectonic whimsy to children’s lives. As I grew older, my skepticism was emboldened by the overwhelming evidence that religion is underscored by sexism, racism, tribalism, violence, among other things... 

Considering other people’s structures of our world is an ever-evolving personal interest of mine, wanting to know how it is that my own conception of our days can differ so diametrically to another’s. I enjoy thinking about others’ beliefs; love their ancient relics and dependency and ways of explaining. I think of writers like Marilynne Robinson, who I love, and from whom I do not, in fact, feel so alienated. Above all, I gravitate toward her seriousness toward herself , her devotion to her art, an unshakeable need to explore the  fabric of human life on earth.  Perhaps my discussion of it all is some kind of spectatorship, because I oftentimes wish I was able to explain away the terrible or miraculous things as romantically as those who claim divinity. My own capacity to imagine and tell stories has largely been developed through encounters with religion. The mysteries come wrapped in ornate and intricate decoration; I want to dive in.