NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2013 - Page 122

poetry, the ever “and this bodies in language forming in which breath moves, is a ?eld of ensouling. Each line, intensely, a soul thing, a contribution; a locality of the living.” II 120 I enjoyed talking with you the other day by phone. I’m glad the books and intellectual ideas are keeping you from tangling your hair. I sent Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. DuBois, which, in many ways, is considered a travel narrative because of DuBois’ astute observation of the human condition of the African American in the Deep South going into the 20th Century. We see the landscapes of Tennessee and Georgia and understand the crippling effect of what owning human chattel and its subsequent psychosis does to a society. It is a permanent stain and damaging commentary on the place we call a united “state.” What I find fascinating is we are now entering the 21st century and how the images of poverty and the downtrodden that DuBois reported on manifest themselves today; perhaps in slightly altered forms, but nonetheless, one can make correlations between the past and present. I find this fascinating and horrific. BRN-FALL-2013.indb 120 It occurred to me after I talked with you that, lately, for the most part, the intellectual conversations between you these past months have kept me breathing. I am committed to breathing, and so I am compelled to give you something to contemplate on nights after lock in when everyone is asleep and you are awake—listening to the slightly overweight guard drag her left, then right boot heel on the floors of the freshly waxed housing unit— stabbing the big head of her flashlight in the dark of your cell to see if there is any light. And there is. The guard needs to know there is light inside of Lxxxx no darkness can consume. It’s funny how you have to retreat to the cold zero that is darkness (a pure state) to see the light. Then you realize you have been hidden in the public sphere, and it comes as a great disappointment or perhaps an epiphany, that you never really mattered in the grand conception of our society, that you were on a collision course to discover your [self ]. The hole you have fallen into will only make you whole. What I have begun to learn is throughout the course of our lives the past is what informs how we exist in the moment. Moments make the history, history makes the present. I don’t know if I ever mentioned Robert Duncan. Duncan is considered a New American and Black Mountain poet and lived in San Francisco. What is important is his take on language and how it intersects with human life. I want you to consider this quote: “and this poetry, the ever forming bodies in language in which breath moves, is a field of ensouling. Each line, intensely, a soul thing, a contribution; a locality of the living.” Now, what becomes interesting to me is how Duncan considers language an ever-forming body as if it were its own life form. I believe language is the culmination of our existence. In other words, I agree with Duncan that the sum of our language, and by language I mean the sum of an interaction that produces an action, is what shapes and molds us as a society of humans. 9/13/13 12:48 AM