No Words

Every exhalation is an insistence on life and an invocation of the dead. Breathe past the constriction. Push….

“No Words,” by Kevin Adonis Browne, Brick 106


This website is an essay on Black Life.
It is a meditation, a poem, a praisesong. A whisper. A bawl. A tenderness.

Each selection in The Catalog below leads to a visual interpretation of footnotes that appear in the essay “No Words” by Kevin Adonis Browne. The Essay, along with a series of 7 self-portraits, appears in the Winter 2021 issue No. 106 of Brick, a Literary Journal who have offered it as a free download on this site. In April, 2021, the Notes and Portraits were exhibited in Trinidad and Tobago, followed by a Virtual Exhibition that was launched in May, 2021, and will run indefinitely. In July, 2021, The Coursework, a culinary meditation, was launched with invited guests sharing interpretive dishes in response to the original essay, focusing on particular Notes from The Catalog. August, 2021 saw the launch of Black Life: Drawings, a “gallery of unfinished work” that took place in the Exhibition space and features a series of drawings and sketches by four invited artists, the curator’s interpretations of the work, and a video reading of the model’s reflection.

Special Note to Students: What you take from this essay will depend, as it must, on what you bring to it, what you wish to carry, and what you will eventually make—which, I hope, will be a great deal more than you expect. Dare to think of yourself at every stage.

KB | July 2021

The Catalog of Notes²

Pt. 1. “Ent yuh name man?”
n1. “I should say, at the outset…”
n2. “But if I had words to share, I would…
n6. “Newallo John Wright died…”
n7. “George Floyd was 46.”
n8. “Breonna Taylor would have been 27…”
n9. “What is it about us?”
n10. “Direction: Clap, if you have hands…”
n13. “These things that compose me…”
n14. “There are many—not just the dead…”
n19. “Let us leave happiness out…”
n20. “Note the vulgarity of the sequence…”

2. On Method:

I’ve chosen to view the narrative potential of the footnote as part of the body—as a foot or a hand, or any other appendage, for that matter, is part of my own body. I invite you to do the same, if you like. Where this essay leads (through exploration, which I take not merely as motion, but as a series of enacted intentions) will define where I end up. That includes the “body” of the essay, these “notes,” and the greater essay that is the experience of Black Life—the utter, unalterable depth and grandeur of Blackness(es). But that’s my call. My method. I can only suggest you shift the margins, narrow them to make larger centers, or ignore the border between them altogether (say, through liminality). I can only suggest you do it with care for my life and yours.

But, you know…

KB | July 2021

In memory of the murdered.

In solidarity with those who remain.