3 April 2013: I painted loquat leaves with menstrual blood and folded them between the pages of The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (by Bhanu Kapil), tied it up with string. Buried in the yard, watered for days, then unearthed.
This is the email I sent to Bhanu:
We saw something in it that was asking for a burial. We could not ask it directly and so we began saving our blood. We saved our blood for a week and we kept it in our refrigerator. We kept it in a Glass jar that once kept foods which had nourished us. And we wrapped that jar in a black sock so our housemates would not know we were keeping blood in the fridge for a week. A week which is sometimes a month here or two. And so we kept our blood in this way. And so we keep.
Rain follows nausea. And so we knew the rain was coming before we knew the rain was coming. This was the day a sapling leaned all the way down and placed its head in the gutter. How We we were with our bodies was parallel to the surface.
We were not aware that this whole time we had been hands. As hands we were plucking loquat leaves. We were painting the leaves with our blood as we had been taught. We were placing the leaves between the pages and we tied ourselves upright so that our bodies would no longer be parallel to the surface. Because we would need them for this. Because our head had been lying on the surface for too long and we were not aware that our hair had begun spreading out and taking root. We pressed the the leaves between the pages and the pages between our bodies. We wrapped it up in thread.
We buried it in the garden between the Lilly and the purple house.
We buried it. We did not know the rains were coming.
Loquat. The palm print. Interning — what was parallel. Kept. Thus nourished. In a space that could not easily be seen. By others.
After two and a half years, it is finished.
I just sent my new book Almost Any Shit Will Do to print.
Here are some notes on the process, for you:
We were circling it in the thick moment approaching. Something so fragile it could barely be whispered for the fear that our breathing would cause it to collapse. There was this search for a we, or the we, or this we, and we were seeking it in riot and in the swarm. Seeking the singular in the plural of it. Seeking a tenuous we. A more porous I. A we that emerges in the movement between the one and the many.
We were approaching in the aftermath of an autumn’s global uprisings, tracing the lines leading back to a riot, back to a body thick with gravity against the ground. How it has already happened and it is happening. In the evenings, we would wrap ourselves in blankets. These failing moments when we could no longer push our bodies back into the fray, live-streaming marches shot on phones with shaking hands.
This is an attempt: to make a map and not a tracing. But how to pull apart the threads? To map what-could-still-be through a series of approaches.
There is the swell of the crowd and the soft breathing of many bodies, an impression left beneath the surface of the of skin. Something here is undefinable, something urgent–a tangled mass of branching fibers