in march of this year, i had the absolute joy of meeting jody shipka who, as a scholar and as a human, is a wild (and leopard spotted) mix of brilliant, vibrant and creative fun. to speak to the ways in which she has influenced and energized me, i would need to dedicate another post, another day. in her turkle-inspired “evocative objects” workshop, attendees deconstructed/remediated/assembled, and spent time responding to others’ work, speed-dating style. it was the best day.
tonight, i revisited my composition, giving myself time to respond – to the moment in which this was assembled, to sara ahmed’s willful act of resignation, for men and women who willingly reside in a similar box and negotiate the invisible, yet palpable, wires of gendered hierarchal tension, to the women who’ve blazed trails, to the work that is yet to be done, to the geniuses who work within their own set of rules, to my daughter’s future, to willful submission.
malea powell’s words, although differently situated in her call for decolonization of western rhetorics, seem to suit this moment as well. in a field that is so compelled by social justice, the practitioners should be held to a reasonable standard of consciousness, no?
the biggest colonizing trick of them all [is] erasing real bodies in real conflict in the real world by separating mind from body, theory from practice, to keep us toiling away in the service of a discourse that disadvantages almost every one of us. -malea powell
broken neck separates object and intellect.
disjointed pieces scattered among seeds
unable to sprout in fruitless pressboard and paper grass.
eyes closed, keeps smiling.
the wise one says of the student/object:
she gesticulates beautifully
[never mind what she speaks]
just watch her hands
[instruments of mothering,
hard work, penning expectations,
dishwashing, laundering, building,
painting, holding, loving]
just watch her while she talks.
[would-be opportunities turned
her students must be mesmerized.
[not by her knowledge or work]
i’d love to watch her teach.
[hides hands, averts gaze]
her hands. just watch.
[she’d rather you listen]
i love her hands.
freely touches sans invitation
[despite cringey tension]
awkward half-hugs, and squeezed
shoulders pulled back, head pressing
belly for several awkward seconds
as he addresses others in the room.
[mortified before colleagues.
blushing at raised eyebrows and
next time, mansplains what scotch is
[she glazes, lost in remembering
years of pouring/sipping,
toastings of aberlour, neat,
j w blue, two cubes,
macallan 25, with 4 drops, please –
no need to teach her whiskey]
before shoving it in her face.
[‘no thanks’ was insufficient.
hand on thigh behind closed door.
[all she asked for was a signature]
of her intellect/interests:
[oh, that doesn’t scare her]
fringe, at best.
[but she thinks fringe is best]
[but this …]
don’t think so.
[but that …]
we need to meet-talk.
[email feels safer]
but would love to buy drinks
or coffee or chocolate.
others weigh in:
totally inappropriate, but
[maybe, but …]
lasso turned noose, she
bides time in her box,
careful not to trip wires.
her smiling, nodding mask