and the scene is largely this:
That, knots are formed and under foot, beneath the weave and fixing as, above, and bare, her toes, turned in and under—arcing—push in to their touch the pile and find it not unpleasantly coarse. Her arch bent, up. Her heels—ineludibly firm to the floor and less enquiring of their surroundings—are pressed hard to hold her weight. She holds herself a while.
Upright and, in countering her balance in encounter with the rug, seeks to read its fibres with her touch as she often would when as a child, and as her mother told her, she would bare herself (though not toward) and sit upon, all over—back-side to meet the nap and find it fine or felt or wearing, always tender on her skin.
And not in exhibition, or performance—for which yet she had not learned the terms—it was, then, an action in desire (she supposed) and not so much to feel the breeze—for it was not so much, or at least purely, then, in nature she invested—as to comprehend/ to feel more closely than would be otherwise allowed.
But here, and clothed, and now with tact, having studied proper manner, she refrains from baring all and in a pressing of her heel, a hand reached out/ withdrawn a tend toward the floor, finds her bearings in only that, so bottom
of her body:
Yes and, here it is she finds her feet,
Has held her footing here and while,
Though, an indent does not form around her heel, of late (and lovingly so) scraped soft, with a stone and seemingly in preparation, she finds this, now, to prick, beneath her, and not so as supposed:
to be plush, as expected, or flocked and of the type to preserve and impress, but she meets the warp in some pleasure, anyway; for her dwelling still would make the weave unmoved.
She thinks: it is for objects such as these, I keep myself, and—she lifts her foot a little, letting one withstand her all and the other scratch more loosely, stretch and stray across the bed.
See, not looking to demystify the nature of this object made so far from hands so unlike her own, or take from it some meaning, she in its place seeks only to decipher what it is it does1 (she cannot truly know it)
Reproving herself, she draws a nail as it catches a loop and pulls at a thread not previously registered.
And all this time, not mentioning her vision, she has, in looking down and (again) in tact—in that which we register as always on the border of touch and vision2—seen herself, the room and the border of the rug.
She could not know the weft of cream one way and white, nor, in her position, affect to feel it the most beautiful she had seen but her eye meets the floral pattern anyway and where, with her feet and her prior knowledge, all well worn, she finds in it a history.
This is not home but it is as though she has just begun to feel it out.
Of course, flat on the ground it is hard to know its heft but:
It is important that—she understands—others have stood here also as she finds herself and always in relation and:
It is important that this rug (as she sees it) is real and that this has happened before
A hand, it seems, has come to tug and to rid her of her ground.
(From under, the edge of the frame and her vision – the rug is pulled:)
In a moment, lets loose a gasp as it slips from her mouth, with her to the floor, sharp—a grasping push of air from her throat and into the room as it loses fixity as she loses hers as
Finding herself folding now and letting her feet falter, her frame lifts and begins her fall. To the ground, she tends, back, up, and thinks on being caught, being held, on holding.
On how she might now meet her object and find it more her own no longer under heel but hand and head and figure, how
Fast, she falls though it feels like waiting and
and in a sense, hers is the loss of a stable horizon3:
What this is (I suppose) is a body in anticipation.
What this is—and, she decides—is a giving up on verticality4
And in this she is, already fallen—yes,
She is in reaching out now and in wanting in her fall,
But what, too, of her ankle? And her nail and the loop that has snagged—pulled as she was, as it was with her?
The rug was pulled and yet she was alone in this, and any sense of poise retracted as
Quick, drawn to the floor her head, her knees bend in, her elbows out her arms pushed back to catch her frame falls down and then—
Pressed hard to a ground that refused to catch her kindly, she is, now, fallen, and beside her finds what feels to her like gravel as she takes it in an open hand.
And when she falls, she often feels: to feel a body grounded is some thing. That is, she finds—and only now in landing, in discomfit—discourse between her body and the world.
Prostrate as holding in her hand and under leg and arm and tender hip, the rug, she finds to rub, tickle hair upon her skin. See, it seems a hand had come to tug but pulled it little further than where it once began
And in her fall it almost seems she waives her form and here is taken so to flatness, she becomes a field5, as, back-side to meet the rug she comprehends more closely than had been (otherwise) allowed
See, it’s not so much it did not hurt as that (once again as when a child) she finds that she can feel herself in feeling
And she finds she’s lost the blush she would so reasonably feel, that sharp prick and rush of blood and warning, her skin instead is warmed as she thinks: oh, what it would be to roll herself up, right and into this moment
As she turns to her front, runs cheek to the weave she had held underfoot prickling close on her aching limbs and inhales this thing as her arms, her legs make an angel unseen at her sides, she is now, rather, utterly feeling.
- The notion of a deciphering practice/ turn is found in José Estaban Muñoz’s essay, ‘Ephemera as Evidence: Introductory Notes to Queer Acts’, in which he refers to and quotes (at length) from Sylvia Wynter’s 1992 essay ‘Rethinking ‘Aesthetics’: Notes Towards a Deciphering Practice’, and suggests a kind of queer writing that, in thinking through “decipherment” ‘can surpass the play of interpretation and the limits of epistemology and open new ground by focusing on what acts and objects do in a social matrix rather that what they might possibly mean.’(p. 12)
- These misremembered words are in part taken from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s introduction to Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity where, and thinking with Renu Bora’s essay ‘Outing Texture’, she speaks of texture as not being coexistent with one specific sense, but tending to be ‘liminally registered “on the border of properties of touch and vision,”’ and, of perceiving texture as always already to be ‘immersed in a field of active narrative hypothesizing, testing, and re-understanding of how physical properties act and are acted upon over time.’ (p. 20)
- This phrase is borrowed from Hito Steyerl’s e-flux essay ‘In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective’ in which she speaks of the disorientation felt in falling as being in part due to this ‘loss of a stable horizon’, and with this loss coming to a ‘departure of a stable paradigm of orientation.’
- This idea of ‘a giving up of verticality’ is found in Andre Lepecki’s essay ‘Stumble Dance’, in which he speaks of an interview—cited in C. Carr’s essay ‘In the Discomfort Zone’ in William Pope.L: The Friendliest Black in America —between William Pope.L and C. Carr, in which Pope.L speaks of his Crawl performances and bringing others to join him in “giving up their verticality”. Carr speaks specifically about Pope.L’s Crawl works and this ‘giving up of verticality’ as a ‘discomfort zone…about the vulnerable black male body and what he describes as “lack”, a sense of insufficiency and damage.’ She goes on to note that ‘whilst postmodern theory associates this term [lack] with women, it could properly apply to anyone outside the symbolic order.’ (Lepecki, p.58; Carr, p. 49)
- This phrasing, too, is taken in part from Lepecki/ Carr/ Pope.L but is significantly adapted and, in its original, reads that in his Crawl performances, Pope.L’s ‘body becomes a field, rather than a form, and in this field he creates “a real dialectics between the body and the world”’; Lepecki describes Pope.L’s body becoming a ‘field’ and quotes Carr’s notion of his finding this dialectic. (Lepecki, p. 58; Carr, p. 49)