Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty steps to opportunity of once; the once in the generation, the once in the lifetime, in shoes that have never fit broken and wounded feet (even if the shoes were real to begin with). Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty souls wandering disturbed lunar corridors, evading sleep because a closed eye will never again open. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty droplets of hope because once the rope has been dissected fragment by each miniscule fragment there is little else left. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty reverberations because the terror of facing the omnipotent floating before you is nothing compared to the burning distress of a truth left undeclared and alone. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty breathed, whispered, screamed, indicted, scribbled expressions: fleshy and raw; articulate and refined; demanding and exact. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty ways (none of them ever new) to isolate, divide, condense, conceal. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty shades of toasted Crown-complicity spanning a vast brown ocean with beads and blankets raining down from beyond the pale. And all the while in the background a black King murmurs, reminding us that while the words of our enemies may be exhausting, in the end the only thing we can and will remember is the silence of our friends.
Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty ways to say enough, and yet we always find more. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty reasons why none of this even matters when you are bathed in stories so powerfully consuming that they arrange themselves at your feet, snatching at integrity, pleading that you raise them up, because if you do not they may just sink into the nothingness right before your eyes. When the agony of vaporised words is rammed so far down your throat and with such force that your gut screams in agony as the tears of the ancestors and your own become the same despairing; yet always raging; flow.
And when even that is not enough to make you loosen your grip.
And how could you even if you wanted to, when the bones of at least ten thousand nine hundred and fifty ancestors from behind and before carry to you the breath of four corners; remembering in the stirring of mountains and in the trembling of waters that bearing witness to offerings made is never a choice. That sound once uttered must always be heard, whether the trees pretend to have ears or not. And the words of a black Queen rest on the throne beside her King reminding you that artists go to work in times of dread; despair is shown the door; and fear, if it insists it must rest awhile inside, is given a seat.
Then. We speak.
©michelle levy 2019