Friday, June 26, 2015

Headless V

--for Rit Premnath
Measured by no stick
No witness but the petals
Prepared in water
Ringing their now time now
Their rose rim of the wound
Your body is
But is it art
What it structures
And what you can’t control
Contingent upon
Their violence?

Measureless like no stick leans
Like your art
Of sticks measures no body
This betrays a body somewhere structuring
The violence that controls us
Where there is only the rose
The substitutable petals
His body
Could be taken for yours

The car slows
Asks if you are looking for work
There is no refusal left
To this corpse
But to sell flowers
There is no refusal left
To this flesh
But to lay down
And sleep
To withdraw
Into that emptiness
That void of labor power

What recognition
Exceeds these flowers
Your measureless body exhibited
On a roadside or sidewalk somewhere
Your resemblance to the one
This violence is structured by
We keep falling but
He can’t even fall
This one
Born like an angel in no time
Withdrawn where sleep
Gives shape to refusal

Where there is a difference
Between carrying
A stick and carrying
Where there is an art
Of mis/recognition
Of the bodies we can’t
Be substituted for.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Headless I

Am I an Afro-melancholic
You ask,
Yes, you are
But a joyous one
Living across the street
From a Confederate cemetery
No, actually, 
I think you are more like 
An Afro-goth
Shedding these shitty
Little tears on tin foil
Or are they stubble
Is this blood splatter
This grimace saying do
I matter
I will chop your head off
My hustler, my semblable, my hommie
Whose black frame frames whiteness
There is a blankness where the eyes should have been
Where the mouth should have been there is only
Infinite sadness 
Of the blood stained gate
There is witness
You can’t profile a ghost
If that’s what this is about
Or i.d. the light
When all you see is sunlight swallowed whole
Where there is no nose
Where nobody knows nobody
Hope crinkled
It reflected
All and nothing back
Told you about spirit and image.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Headless IV

–for Anna Vitale

What it matters
Whose dying
Who kills
And how it’s performed
What it matters
What name you were given
Where you come from
Detroit if you are working
Class or Black
If you made work
For your whole life
If the casket
Was open or if this is a studium
If this is a punctum
Who is wounded
By simply looking upon the body
What world-making
Process with which
We can identify
What unidentifiable bodies
The unrecognizeable face
And how it moves us
Getting up the courage for this
Revolutionary death
Getting up the courage to die
To keep dying every day
What structure of living would that subtend
When would that dying count
Who will it count for
What are we losing
When we lose you
What world is lost
What part of me, my world-making
What shadow of this social
Process to have contemporaries
For one’s death to be untimely
For there to be
A structure of kinship to support
Its signifying powers
For it not to be merely isolate
For it not to make further shadows on the sun
Of their radiant lives
For it to be public
And the responses to it to obtain
A public response
For one to deserve its meaning
For it to have such gravitas
So that it broadcasts others’ suffering
So that for others it becomes prophetic
And the loss of you is felt
As a loss of a part of them
So that you are not just a trace
That your muteness is loud
With the sources of their grieving
With our grievances
So that someone can say “our”
Because of you
That your exploitation was not in vain
That your being made inhuman
Was not in vain
That this was not just a blip
That your dying became a part of history
That it restructured
A universe of symbols
Or that for your corpse
They would burn down
The whole world
That they would
Stop both
Life and death.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Future Citizen (statement)

at TTTV's X21 series

The 21st Century requires that I put my own body, ideas, emotions, time, breath, and resources on the line in order to build relationships of solidarity and kinship with those who would attempt to usher in (revolutionary) change—change that reorders the violent structures of our world. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Headless III

Not even recognizable this one
Not even human
Beyond the contingent
Character of violence where
It’s raining shit it’s raining piss
Hallelujah where
There is no difference
Between an eye and a mouth
Except how they are situated
On the face
I can’t tell the difference
Between piss and shit and blood
Where the orifices are fungible
And motherless in this natal 
Is it raining?
What are you covered with?
Your one good eye, what can it see?
Your only mouth stuffed with a void
The tain and what’s behind it,
What backs it up?
Where that eye should have been
Instead I hear shouting
I hear the surround in
Exemplary scenes of your
Appearance as an object
I hear the rain and I hear pissing
Until they both stop
I hear the mouth filled
With nothing, not even blood
Beneath the rain as its accompaniment
I hear the end of the world
Where this frame doesn’t even
Have an outside
And the mouth has nothing to say
Beyond its fullness
Beyond the catastrophe
Of no longer being
There is never having been
There are the tin edges fraying
So another world can begin.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Discussion with Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta


Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta will screen her film Mouth Filled Ash. The work reflects on how accounts of forced disappearances, mass graves, and terror tactics are obtained and framed in Colombia. Margarita Sánchez Urdaneta will be joined by the Thom Donovan in an examination of the relationship between accountability and forensics.

The event is organized in conjunction with
 the Whitney Independent Study Studio Program Exhibition, on view June 9 - June 27, 2015 at EFA Project Space.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Headless II

"They said, we’re going to take you to the precinct and most likely we are going to let you go home. And then I never went home."
--Kalief Browder

After Arnold Kemp's Headless

Pissed and shit on and  
It would seem
Bled out upon a fallen tin foil star
From which disaster
The shipwreck issued
From the hold
If only
We were held
Losing and being lost
Could recognize
What’s beyond recognition
The tear that made a mouth
The tears that produced the eyes
What world ending with your tears
Finally ends
So that this is not a mirror
So that you are not a foil
Smudged with prints
With what remains from identity
Where identity begins with a pout
Motherless where we make faces

I am new to dawn
Making faces so I exist
I am a made man
I leave prints
Will anyone find me
Framed again
I.d.’ed until the sun
Burns our names
Striving for protection
For projection
Projecting voices
A ghost’s groan
Striving for recognition
For misrecognition
A tattoo on this passport
Ink of memory
Where we squatted in what
We owed
What notes we
Couldn’t pay back

Promissory, who am I
To disclose who you were
What you will become
Places where the groan
Filled the frame
Gave you a body
Chopped off our heads
Up to the ether
The epidermalized air you negate
Until it was time to wake
Until dawn is twilight
Is midnight
Like we can count time here
Like anything counts
We crinkle until then
Old in an untimely way
Wrinkled without wrinkles
An enigma
Whereof they hid the bodies
Where they put the bodies conceiving
Control without government

The retrieval and what takes flight
With two legs
Deemed menace
Running away with the sun
Unchronicled, blocking the sun
With your hands, the camera’s gaze
A Google satellite tracking your ass
In this mass incarceration
In the open air
Reflection without reflection
The face without properties
Just this bare bones bare life
Of motherless faciality, facticity
Whatever one could steal from the sun
That’s what holds
Refracting a falling star
Which disaster
What once unobtainable
Selfhood was gone
My semblable
Uplifted into babble qua battle

What hoodie profiled
What face becoming figural
A beginning of forms of facial
Recognition in our infancy
A kind of visual babble
My semblable my hustler my fugitive
Either a groan or a sigh
Those tears upset
The order of things
The capillary functioning
Of the gaze
Full disclosure of nothing
Void and the open secret
Fucking with their property
With their sense of prophecy
And belonging
And kinship deflected
In what I heard
What it matters
Who is speaking
And whether they are words

If this is dictation or confession
Cry or babble
Scream or groan
Or growl or blues
Before one is beaten
They must be identified
There must be the threat of belonging
Represented by the prison or politics
Imminent to correction
One must be mistaken
They must be wrong
Deflecting from the force of law
The mirror and its tain
A type of ground
So that this is not a face 
It is a mask
Maybe it is a visor
Deflecting that gaze
That glance
Which seeks its sensual certainty in the police
Its sense of permission in the body count.