Seek The End Of This World With Me
Two poems by Ebun Sodipo on embodiment, silence, and sisterhood
Our first Lugubriation of the new year comes in the form of two original poems by poet, performer, and model Ebun Sodipo. Ebun’s practice is concerned with real and speculative histories of slavery, African cosmology, and the use of shimmer, all of which make appearances in these two poems. She performed variations on these at the recent Frieze Live 2021 curated by Languid Hands. If you’re in London you can see her performance and physical work Drawing A Blank, February 14 - 28. - Roisin
Happenings in No-space
instructions for how to listen
how to feel the rub the slick the wet of tongue on bone in bone
how to apprehend the thing ing of nothing
nothing: that which stays below the threshold of measurement
imagine to not listen to not hear to leave it to the body
how to hear the fluctuations of a vacuum a void which is full of happenings that might have did
not very well could have happened
a void which is full of escaping su bjec ts scintillating into being here and there and there for here staying way below the threshold of detectability
a void a virtual is full of things of noise there and not there lingering at the edges of apprehension
we hear this virtual this thing in no-thing that allows for sensing the possibility of sensing the always something being there of sensing the mass en masse
a flash something right there no here no no no no not there
matter observable is inseparable from the means by which it is observed apprehended caught stilled
make the body into a tool to register the remnants of too quick in and out goings virtual happenings virtual lives these might have definitely did no true way of knowing how existed
make the body too into a thing of no thing to listen to the silence to the flash of the thing ing of nothing could the body too be of the void
silence silence a quiet an absolute quiet is silence
the breath between words the silence is
the beneath of language
a feeling of something
arriving and staying
a hearing then wanting of more
silence is sound
sounding full of sound
silence is sounding of more than
silence of what is could have been will be
a loss a lacking a taking
of measurement apprehension listening tools
it was a silencing
in the sounding and in the silence
the body is all
the only sensing tool that can
the fluctuations of the vacuum
feel though briefly
ghost hands on intention,
Lips brushing the nub of bone at neck.
What say , the body,
What is the taste of this tongue
What say , the body,
What were before the hold?
Before this new accounting of the silence.
Before full of noise and sounding became silence.
W e listened to the silence and w e cried
W e listened to the silence and said
W e listened to the silence and wondered
Oh! Venus, ain’t I?
W e listened to the silence and thought
Of the margins
Of mothers and loss
Of touch and of the image
Sis ter s, listen again to the silence
Attune your bodies
And hear . Hear of the sea,
Those not with you
Though w e are both in the hold;
The sis ter s below deck.
are in the silence.
Stretched in between sensing
Hear, beneath the wash of the sea;
The silent tumult of history and storying;
, of the sea,
The in the hold
An account of women in the hold
We are in the hold, sister.
Sister, we are in the hold.
We are in the hold.
Sister, we are together.
Sister, here we are together
In this hold
In this holding of each other
Sister, we are holding each other
Holding onto each other
Beholden onto each other.
Sister, we are beholden to each other.
How we spoke with no words, sister,
Only with touch,
Terror passing from skin, to skin.
We had never known each other,
Had only found each other here,
Formed as sister in this hold,
As we began to hold each other.
Sister, that we have each other,
To feel and to hold,
Amongst the dead and the dying,
The drowning and the drowned in their own waste,
Amongst these bodies the ledgers write as male.
I am thrown overboard
I can no longer be by your side
They came for me in our sleep and now
The only skin I feel next to mine is vast and cold.
I am in the water now, sister
I will forever be in the water, my sister.
In the water you shall find me.
Sister, you will feel my brush
With the peak and fall of the waves, sister,
In the sea salt breeze caressing your cheek
I will always be holding you now,
You will feel my embrace whenever you press ear to sand
In the shiver and joy that roils your body
When you catch your reflection
Sister, I will be with you, holding you
Across seas, and sands, and valleys, and roads
Through all of time I will be holding you.
I will have held you.
I hold you now.
I am not gone
I am in your body
You will find me in your body, sister
Sister in the water
You will reach me there
In the bend of an elbow
There, in the weight of a laugh.
Sister, hear me
We are in the hold
This holding of each other is all we have
Sister, if we had strength
We would burn down this hold
Sister, seek the end of this world with me.