Bouncing between the ordinary–hello, welcome to The Main Event: No longer hosted on Substack edition–and the ordinariness of despair.
A year of bad days and in none of those did I wake up and engage in a killing spree.
Not for me would be the subsquent manifestation of a particular kind of privilege, boundless sympathy for the people who match the pattern, a pattern marked by nothing so much as a tendency to death.
For us, instead, the duty of care. Of resilience. Of accuracy. Of appearing to be objective. Of maintaining a critical distance. Of representing without representation.
We keep going. We show up. We show up for each other. We commiserate in the group texts. We donate to the appropriate causes. We call in and we call out and we call and we respond.
How many more days like this? How many more weeks like this? How many more will have to die?
They say, things are not the way they used to be. I say, things are as they have always been for us.
Between you and us there are oceans, there are continents, there are entire worlds. Still.
Mon énigme / My enigma / ce qui est vu très clairement de vous mais pas de moi / what is clearly seen by you but not by me / je ne peux que deviner, dans les broussailles de moi-même. / I can but guess at it, in the thickets of the self.
I speak to you now in the languages I know. I address you in silence in the languages I don’t. And shame stitches the latch between what’s extinguished.
I address you aftermath, you as vengeance.
My name is X. Je m’appelle X. I call myself X. What is your name? Comment t’appelles-tu? And you, how do you call yourself? Calling yourself makes a stray sound. Calling you forth I live in a house whose walls are made of listening.
When I raise my voice in argument you say Mama, don’t talk, don’t talk, no more talking.
You wish me no harm. Imagine the world in which I exist, unharmed.
Describe that world. A kingdom for a horse, an eye for an eye, all my words for a you.
– from Secret Address in “You” by Youna Kwak