Abject Sublime (I wanna be somebody so bad)

By Shanise Redmon

“You could build a world out of need or you could hold everything

back and see. You could hold everything back. You hold back the black.

You hold everything black. You hold this body’s lack. You hold yourself

back until nothing’s left but the dissolving blues of metaphor.

-Claudia Rankine, After David Hammons

This is a non-linear decay.

This is the white flag of surrender shoved down the throat a depleted Black body.

What are the stakes and possibilities of a body, a life, a refusal? Do those stakes and possibilities feel the same for those whose lives have been made disposable? Spewing up the remains of the flag for the elusive promise of a better tomorrow, of freedom, of a life. There’s a real danger, an unmountable tension, and a lawlessness in attempting to make a life out of the impossible.

Living out the afterlife right here under the watchful eye of a marathon of gazes while carrying the body through

Rivers of Rejection

Valleys of Violence

 Sands of Subjection

Mountains of Misery

Deserts of Despair

Seas of Sadness

Homes of Healings

Lakes of Love

The trek through these conditions provided the body with opportunities to imagine a social life outside of the domain of social death, the detachment to property, and body to body, flesh to flesh intimacy without the pledge of romance. Doing the work of mobilizing the energy of Black aliveness while undoing the layers of harm under the light of yesterday’s memorial.

This is a battle cry for those fighting to imagine, to live and to love every single day while every corner of the world works to towards your disintegration and sees your existence as nothing more than a series of horrors to consume.

Shanise Redmon is a writer, researcher, and scholar based in Philadelphia. She holds a BA in Journalism and a MA in Africology/African American Studies from Temple University. Her work transports the weight of Black social life through personal and existential landscapes using collected audio as the modality of choice. More of her audio work can be heard on https://soundcloud.com/shaniseredmon