About “No Words”

4a: obsolete TRIALTEST; 4b: vernacular: an abstract, or unknown, thing tried – e.g., Ah try a thing.

Merriam-Webster, definition of Essay.
Oral Tradition, Caribbean Vernacular English Usage

Following an invitation to submit a piece of writing to Brick, a Literary Journal by its publisher Laurie Graham, I took the opportunity to explore the contents of the notes that appear in this essay. It’s meant to invoke what the essay is, certainly: an exploration, for whom we can thank whomever we wish from our respective histories and presents. As it happens, I chose Dionne Brand and Christina Sharpe as my touchstones in this particular work. Small wonder, then, that I would also be drawn inward as stretched outward, finding in that violence more of what it means to essay. As I go about devising an art of imagining freedom—one that will actually free me and mine—I find that I must attend to the incessant interruptions to my Black Life. I have done so with an experiment, since that is also what it means—to essay is to respond to trying times, and to refuse its effects as a foregone conclusion. It is to fight, even when you realize the blood you taste is not someone else’s, but yours.

The experimentation at the heart of this act of essaying is necessary for one reason alone: I have produced no satisfactory precedent for writing or shooting myself into freedom, other than to keep at it. And, yes. There is a fine distinction between what it has demanded and what I have willingly given to it.

What you take from it will depend on you—on what you bring when you come, and what you carry when you go.

Until it is better to be alive…

“No Words,” Brick 106

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