Sunday, November 22, 2020

Equilibrium Transmission

for Natalie Diaz

Please think of a word; this is the beginning. Write it on your skin with a pen. 

Create space by an open window to sit comfortably with a table and chair. Bring a pitcher of water and a clear drinking glass, and mark the middle of the glass with a pen or tape. To enter this ritual, we will braid our senses for a moment.

Place your face near the glass on the table. Look while listening for the water to reach the mark when poured. Closely listen while watching the water hit it. Do this three times, then do it a fourth time with your eyes closed. 

Now sit back, keeping your eyes closed, listening; every sound you can hear, hold your attention against it. What are these layers you hear? During COVID lockdown, I am in Seattle, Washington, near Elliott Bay. The sounds are a continuous rumbling of train cars, highway traffic, water, birds, sirens in and out, but a steady drone building when taking it all at once. 

Listen until the sounds remind you of a song. Sit with your left ear pointed out the window, right ear pointed at the speaker inside your living space, playing the song. Set the volume so that it is the same as how and what you hear outside. Let the outside world come into concert with the room where your body lives. Lay a piece of juicy apple next to the speakers so that its water molecules absorb the song for you to eat. Enjoy eating music. When listening to the outside world, the song I could hear was "Rhubarb," by Aphex Twin. The song is also known as "#3," and this is it:

Notebook and pen within reach, locate yourself in the center of the meeting rhythms. Feel yourself become where these two songs mingle; your body's cells are the place where this happens; now, please relax here. Is this not beautiful? How is your breathing? Are you feeling your lungs? Remember the word you wrote on your skin. Remember it now. In your imagination, see yourself slowly writing it, slow the memory down. What does this word mean to you? Pick up your notebook and pen and write. Write for as long as you want. Sit and listen some more. Listen as long as you want before writing again. Do this ritual as many times as you wish. Maybe some days, the outside sounds will resemble different songs.