swaybenns swaybenns

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They’ll handcuff your dead body after they puncture 20 neat holes in it in the backyard of your grandmother’s house.
They’ll say We did this because we were afraid.
But the truth is, your body was never your own. Just as your grandfather’s body was never his own, and your great grandfather’s body was never his. And my father’s body is not his own. And your son’s body won’t be his either. Not alive. Not dead. Not in the spaces inbetween that your body traversed every day before they placed 20 shining bullets into it during a moment that could have been prevented if they had not spent their lives ignorant and hapless—breaking mirrors because they were so afraid they might look into one and see a monster. Instead, they found one in you. In a body they have owned for the last 400 years. In the body of a young father in the backyard of his grandmother’s house. Perhaps a place you had played catch with your own father, or dug deep into the earth searching for life, or laid down in the grass—supine—and looked up at the stars and wished for a change that did not come.
If you’re afraid, We’re afraid.
If I’m afraid, you’re afraid.

Chloe laughs

Nayyirah Waheed

At the first sign of a cold my heart sputters. Yesterday, I’d forgotten it works too hard. This morning, my heart re-introduced itself to me as we were lying in bed, my head so heavy it fell down into the basement.
Tonight, I took a bath. I crawled out—my vision dark, my legs shivering, my heart stuttering from the heat and my cold. A good time to go: I was newly baptized.
Tonight, back in bed, my body tells me to sleep. I listen to its machinery clicking. My head returns to the basement. I tell my body, if things don’t work out tonight—we are saved. I tell my body, I am so sorry. I tell it, if we wake up tomorrow morning I’ll try to remember you work so hard. If we wake up tomorrow morning I will. Or, I mean, I will try.

Tokyo diary:
11.21
When I was a child headed home to Japan, strong turbulence over the Pacific caused our flight attendant to tumble into the aisle. In response, my sister and I practiced mirroring each other’s wide eyes. Which is to say, there was turbulence over the Pacific today. This time, the flight attendant adeptly traversed the aisles, balancing a tray dotted with miniscule paper cups in one hand, pouring hot coffee into these thimbles from a jug held tightly in her other. High on Klonopin, I picked my own fight with gravity: I dared the plane to fall out of the sky. I dared it to baptize me in the Pacific Ocean. But the cups and I stayed in our least dramatic positions, yieding to forces more powerful than we: Like engineering. Like women with warm smiles and impossibly steady hands offering something warm and steady and unspilt.
11.22
I try not to need much. But sometimes I eat and I sleep and on the worst days I hope for a new kind of human touch: tender and nonviolent.
Desire is its own kind of prison. But sometimes, all you need is a bigger cage. Sometimes, a bigger cage is all you need.
Today, a man mending a shirt in the corner of a coffee shop asked me where I was visiting from. I said I don’t know who I am—no, wait, I said: I am visiting from Los Angeles. How cold is it in Los Angeles. I couldn’t say.
Today, I saw a sign. Neon pink projecting into a concrete sky. It said:

Live fast
On high
Let it ride
I’ll try.
Sometimes, all I need is a bigger cage. Sometimes, a bigger cage is all I need.
11.28
Today, over the Pacific, the pilot made an announcement. First in Japanese, then in English. There will be turbulence soon. But we will be okay.
There is always turbulence over the Pacific Ocean.
But.
We will be okay.

Twirling

Casual LA pic

Hey ma

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