*and the most revelatory moment is the realization that my anger has not only been distanced from me-- in that I'm drawn to the graceful interactions in moments in which grace is not appropriate-- but obscured from me. I can't tell anger from all the other things i'm feeling- from ennui, or distaste. or even pleasure. in ways, this is superb.the unfurling of my emotional life like an undefined territory which can remain unstable, undefined, totally private. totally mine. the safety of anger (per se anger) unchallenged by a border that might contextualize it. Might orienteer it toward me or them or most painfully you, friends & lovers.
but right now my anger has no discernible topography in my life. i supposed i feel its ink in moments when an exasperated (white) woman argues that writing the (white) self is the only way to begin discussion-- extrapolating the experience of a person of color is just not useful in this space (because it's too distant? too alien? too...) not useful in this space not yet. We can't nor want to speak for others. i suppose she means that the way to connection across difference begins through self-recognition and ultimately empathy . i agree. i agree. but I know where this ends. we become so entangled in self that others seem like too much to tackle. how is it possible to hold ourselves and others in our hearts. what kind of body can absorb so much suffering and keep it simultaneously without dissolving. The pain of you the pain of me--the ecstasy of you the ecstasy of me. this seems like to much to ask for one human body. is it callous to admit that i wonder about the limits of empathy. i want to say this, i find this trust between us, this belief in the climax of empathy to be blind and dangerous.
A list of moments i should have been angry but instead felt something else;
1. the man at the liquor store says i'm a dog, "dark and hairy"- in the moment, i feel nothing. then in a cab, i feel hurt. Then I feel like laughing. then nothing again.
2. the docent at the New Museum insist that my friend's book launch event is too full and the doors are officially closed but minutes later makes room for 6 white men from "The New Yorker" -- i feel indignant. i cry in the cab. i watch Moonstruck by myself and an episode of the new girl. then the daily show. then i feel nothing.
3. when a friend of a friend refers to bar as "you know, ghetto" and clearly means a bar with too many black people. Sean says something. i say nothing and give him the shut up stare because i just don't want to hate another person. I feel drunk. Then I feel bored.
5. when a poet on the internet XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX & i feel sad for the poet. i feel sad for feeling sad. when i should feel something else.
6. when XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX & I don't know what to feel
7. when friends use the word "minorities"
8. when in a bout of depression XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and feel badly so badly.
9.when..XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX and i laugh and agree and say, "Yes-I know. Isn't that great." when inside i feel like crying because i just can't speak about this with her.
I can't stay with the list like my 15 yo self can't look at my her face and consider its flaws. it's fat. it's brown. XXXXXXXXXXXXX. thoughts I know are epic and historic. thoughts I don't entertain every moment of every day but I know are in me like a fantastic plague. the erotic wants me to consider my body as a site of resistance and these thoughts as the poison that undermine the impulses that have made my friends strong, resilient, connected to each other. but I can't stay with the list feeling the delicacy between anger and hatred and empathy and then nothingness and total nothingness too intensely. those too feelings empathetic to each other.
*read, without redactions, for Samantha Giles's Deadfalls & Snares book release party.