Second part of a beginning of a manifesto

There is something entirely erotic about the way the diviner's hands move along the straw mat, touching the shells and rubbing them with chalk, something that happens before the chanting starts, and for me, it's a little bit like falling in love, because at that moment, everything is possible.

For all the eves and the eyes that passed through these flying windows over the course of 12 seasons, nothing could light up the visions of a night like the promise of things to come, and when they are laid out in succession, there is hope and sadness; hope, because some of these things seem likely, and sadness, because so many of them are true. Touching the air where the diviner is touching the tongues of the Orishas is planting the twisted roots of the feet & the spine in the center of a hurricane (sometimes it's the mountain, and sometimes it's the sea, but it always feels like a hurricane, because the Dead always come to pay their due, and ask for what they're owed for what they do).

I want to write you the poem that only you could understand, one that speaks to you like they speak to me, and if it's like trying to become divine while inhabiting this body, then that's what I'll do, even if I am torn apart again and again. Because I love to write you poems, and the ones I wrote on your belly are nothing like the ones you wrote on my back, so we're still even, and I never thanked you for your poems, and you never thanked me for mine, love means never having to say thank you, or I'm sorry, because that's up to the Dead to decide which nights gratitude and regret come out to tango, shadows of the thing we were, or maybe we were the shadows of this. This is the night when the melancholy of the moon comes through the window and says that this is just another phase. But even in the smallest sliver, I see traces of you, and when there is no moon, I listen to your absence and wonder if you hear the sounds of me not speaking a word about you, and not remembering a thing.

This phase of the moon is the space where the shells fall over the windows of the year, and the story begins with the black bird that flies above me while I fly through the streets, she is haunting me because she sees another cycle of grieving ahead, these months ahead are like waves, and in one breath I find you, and in another breath you lose me again, and these losses are never forever (which I did not suspect), and finding is never forever (which you told me), but goes on relentlessly. You are so many people. I love your faces. I watch them rise and fall on the mat of the moon, where some signs I recognize, and some are entirely new, and there are those that hint at something entirely unknowable from this vantage point. Eye can't see, and the evening is fading, just like every other version of you that I loved, lost, and mourned.

I wanted to write you a poem that had nothing to do with you, one where you couldn't see yourself reflected at all, but all these words do is try to reflect, because the words are like shells, making patterns that you are meant to learn and understand. And I haven't learned a thing. Except. Your mother taught me some things. Those nights when I was out on the sea, waiting for the storm to bring the next landlove closer, and you were dancing with the ugly boys, she taught me some things. There is a stone in my mouth where your heart used to be, and there are seven signs written on seven bones on my back. They add to the songs that you wrote there. The ones about everything being forgotten, the ones about everything being forgiven, and the ones about everything turning inside out. When you crawled into my skin you stained the third layer, the one that can't be reached except by knife point, and there's no music without blood, and no life.

This window will open and birds will fly back and forth, and no one will speak a word, because there's nothing left to be said, because it's a story that gets told on the bones of the living while they live, pulling us into another story, another version of you and another version of me. You, like a cold baby bird in my throat, never leaving my mouth, and since I can't throw you off, I will carry you with me, until you turn into something else, until your faces become the faces that I can't predict, that no diviner could account for, and no Orisha would ever announce. You come without warning, a sudden storm on a still night, and when I ask how you found me, you open your mouth and take out my heart, and show me the places where I invited you, in between the lines of waiting and sadness, and when you say if I find you I will lose you, I tell you that when you lose me you will find me.


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