Composed by Kevin Adonis Browne, PhD
Issue 106 | Brick : A Literary Journal
In December 2020, No Words was published in Brick: a Literary Journal. The essay attempts to articulate the shock of a far too familiar reality: the ceaseless assault on Black Life wherever we have the audacity to exist—in the Americas, the Caribbean, and around the world. Precipitated by what Browne has described as his “inability to adequately respond to the televised murder of George Floyd in May 2020,” the essay is a refusal of the many layers of unfreedom that have determined the reach and depth, height and breadth of Black Life.
The essay is also an experiment, since that is also what it means to essay—in Trinidad parlance, to “try a thing” is to respond to trying times, and to refuse the effects of those times as a foregone conclusion. Browne’s refusal, abject and subtle in its expressions, is to fight, even when one realizes the blood one tastes is not someone else’s, but one’s own.
In truth,” says Browne, “I have produced no satisfactory precedent for writing or seeing myself into freedom, other than to keep trying at it. And, yes. There is a fine distinction between what it has demanded and what I have willingly given to it.”
Conceived in this way—as a series of trials—the essay is caused to turn on, and back into itself, to shift its shape, to articulate the inarticulable, to know the unknown thing.