January 25, 2009

S as in Fisherman

Dear Sirama Bajo (formerly known as PM),

This is an open letter to you about your lovely DIY chap:

“S” as in Fisherman.

What is the letter S, a gesture? An articulation of breath through the teeth? But why novelty? Has the letter not earned its right to be more? Or novelty as in innovation? Yes. On this particular day, I want to “move toward the thing” to find the gesticulation, the sign that will lead me. Steady.

“Discover our resemblance.” To the S, to the letter that swerves, to the one that starts in one direction and leads us to another. How do we discover the similarity? We notice difference first, we notice stark contrast, and then we look deeper for “a mesh…communally intersected.” In the intimate first steps toward the thing we desire on this particular day.

“Inside [your] text there is blinking,” but we do not forget to make a sentence or two, we leave room for a sentence to appear, in between the blinking, or it appears like a beacon of light, or the swerve along the coast of the letter, this letter S, this steady movement, the gesture, in breath, in innovation, on this particular day.

Yes, “certainty is possible” for a moment, but also remember to bask in the space of ambiguity, where the sentence lies, in between the blinking. But you know this, this “illusory steadiness.”

Does blue always turn a “consuming color”? Is the tension lessoned through intermittent staring? Through intermittent movement toward the thing that we desire. Is it mapped in earnest? Is the course already drawn like the letter? Or is the course more fluid?

“We press language against the other.” But what we don’t realize is that the other is ourselves. The space inside the brain that attracts anomalies. The space inside the head that hates the brown skin or the slanted eye or the wide nose even as we see them in the mirror. We press language against the other and the other is our friend. And we find ourselves saying things like, “wow you are really dark.” And images of lemon squeezed to bleach the skin flash in the mind. We press language against the other and don’t realize we are the other. We are always the other. We fight so hard for our little bit of land or status or a name--one that starts with an S instead of one that starts with another letter. We press language and language presses back. We forget the word for carrot; we confuse the word for carrot with the word for onion; we don’t know the difference between mushrooms and yam noodles. We press language against the other and the other pushes back. Her skin is a shade lighter her skin is a shade darker her skin is a tint off. Yes, the blue hue is all consuming in this illusory steadiness we call the letter.

But why must we “press language” against another? Is the pressing some kind of artillery, that is, a weapon? When we press language is that a movement toward compression or is language spreading, as in the difference is spreading? And when we press language does the language give or find some kind of resistance in itself and push back? I think of poetic language as a way into the give, that is, language is malleable/flexible. And this allows a way to open the space around language, around the word or perhaps this letter, this delicate 19th letter. The space creates meanings, those sentences that were not forgotten, but allowed to be created after this text. No, inside this text. No, while I read this text. This letter.

“The shape makes you remember.” And I think you are taking me to water, and I cannot go to water, not today, not on this particular day, where water is harsh and damaging, but the shape, I see it, and I understand that it makes me remember, even if I want to forget, but that is still a movement toward the thing. S as in desire. A fractal. This repetition, on this particular day, in this geometric pattern, moving us toward the thing we desire. “There...where you have never disappointed me.”