Post- Magazine

recording scriptures of glory [narrative]

on memory and movement

Glory to the words once rehearsed and the feelings once known

Up the thirty-six steps and through the wooden plank door, there seems to be a treasure, a trove, a grandmother's home. The tiles are rough, remaking my bare feet in their image. Under these soles lie memories of my grandmother and her grandmother and her grandmother. Here, in plastic storage boxes, we collect: One holds the patchwork circles my great-grandmother hand-sewed in the hopes of making a quilt. She started but never quite finished it. Yet its pieces are here—not together, but present. Every fabric imaginable is represented in that box, carefully honeycombed. It's a rhythm of syncopated hands reaching, grabbing, knowing. There's something beautiful about the craft of intuition. It shows that we've been here before. Nothing is ever an isolated incident. Everything you know is because someone else knew it too. At the very least, it is an assumption that comforts me as time continues its project of thrusting me into forgetfulness.

The loss of memory is devastating and it is quite annoying to feel like you are hearing—experiencing—something for the first time when it is your memory too. I often rely on the people around me for such recollections. When my grandma sits down and tells me something from her past it feels like a charm to add to my own life bracelet. Like the ones we used to make with glass beads, Grandma, do you remember? When we sat on your heavily mattressed four-poster bed with the black columns, counted beads to string together, and measured our wrists with a corner store fishing line. As I try to piece together this charm bracelet, I drop beads along the way, but I remember to pick them up, again, again, again. Living in the midst of fog is frustrating. But, once in a while, when the sun shines, it shines on us.


Glory to the words which bounce off the stained glass windows

I remember when my mother and I prayed together. I don't know if I ever believed but all I cared about was being together.

How we held each other's hands and rested under the same blanket repeating the same words at the same time. Words away from being the same. I don't remember when we stopped. I'm not religious, but going to her room every night before bed, giving her a kiss, asking for blessings, and telling her I loved her was the most profound prayer. My mother and I prayed and I saw words in her eyes, urging me to repeat them. I don't remember learning them. How do we hold on to things that we don't know? When do we realize that we know them? How do we know each other?  Is it here, in this space of rest? Is it there, in that space of the church? Do we know each other? 

My hands, white-gloved, swam in the darkness of a chapel to beats that did not belong to me. Our bodies were enrobed in black as blue lights polished our movements. Performing for the church crowd was a moment of hesitance and memorization. In a printed photograph, I look confused, not about the choreography, not in fear of their gaze, purely confused and perhaps sad. Maybe conflicted. Always silent. Always shaped by the hands and not the body. Always occupied by space and disregarded by it. I do not remember every time I had to move to make space for others, but it is always about the way we frame and are framed by our surroundings. How the colors bounce off hungry skin. I appreciate how processes collapse to form a single rhythm. How we can play into devastation and make peace with the unruliness. How even if the space occupied me, I was, nevertheless, occupying it too. How we can devour and be devoured. At once.

Glory to improvisation and dance and us

From it, the forced, idealized, performance of silence and hands, I recite conversations between these legs and those drums that might as well be the same, syncopated beat. The beat swims onto the dance floor that is a street and bar and classroom and home and is. That when each bud opens and closes, we become mist. That the mist will then rain back on the dance floor. Do not mistake the improvisation for being unskilled, for this is the greatest lesson that you will ever receive. Do not mistake improvisation for unimportance; on these feet is scripture from many floors ago. Nothing is ever an isolated incident. Everything you know is because someone else knew it too. Instruments speak to us subliminally, urging us to move together. On these feet is a memory of interior modes of understanding, on these feet is the pumice stone street and pumice stone tiles where you become one with the roughness. It is proof of expertise, of majesty. We exist in grandeur and above the palm trees is us; we are the palm tree and every root. With closed eyes, I can find the way back to the primary drum that has motioned me, here, to the place of the fall. No. To the place of attempting a fall back into a rhythm that suits me. And every time I do not remember I return to the riffs of body, waves of feet, allowing forgetfulness to play a role in innovation. And we occupy the space of sound instead of letting it consume us. And we are the visuals of glory, the scriptures of movement.

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