towards is an excavation and an amplification.

a re-direction and a remembering.

in the direction of the ocean.

in the direction of body.

an insistence on multiplicity.

an allegory.

an epigraph.

an offering.

towards premiered at Arab American National Museum presented by Daring Dances, in Dancing Identities/Defining Place, a shared evening with artist Leila Awadallah, November 2019.

towards was also presented at FRESH Festival Exchanges, at Brava Theater in San Francisco, January 2020.

photos by Houssam Mchaimech

I had been writing to you from a before time. I had been waiting. I had been writing. writhing. writhed. I am afraid of the water yet curiously obsessed. I am obsessed with the fact that sharks still migrate around those specific parts of the Atlantic ocean. I still have a certain curious aversion to swimming. yet she swim. swum. swummed. What is this new taste in my mouth now? If I move into it, will I rot in my teeth? teeth rot. toothed. another history. what is the meaning of losing your teeth? what is the dreaming of teeth? I want to bite into some kind of meet. I want evidence of tooth. I want to erase a certain type of line and replace it with another shape. I keep seeing a color and we both run towards at the same time. what is the color of craving? I pray to follow the desire through. I pray that she allows all of herself to follow the desire through. What is the life cycle of hurt? and what is the point on the circle you might point to and say that this is the point of regeneration? you never wanted to be two. perhaps this is a cause on their insistence on being one floating planetary body. But what if I gave into gravity?  And what if I gave into gravity? And what is the consequence of letting go into gravity? And what is the gravity of allowing all of the parts of you to reconcile within the fact of your body? There are many unfollowed desires left over in this body; and the ones pulling up away from gravity are pressing myself into a new direction. These do not even speak in words. Gravity does not speak in words. I let go of words. I am inside of the poem now.

shared as an excerpt titled towards is no longer a direction at FROLIC, Queering Dance Festival in Berkeley, CA, 2019.

photos by Lydia Daniller

the body marks a spiral in space. beginning with the reach to return to the self, circling around itself to know itself. ending in the back of where we started. something about making space to move the debris to the back. something about the context of knowing as feeling. something to the truth of depth.


in the direction of the reach, we find this body existing in a state of approaching: identity something of a flitting aura, sloshing around the flesh like a hue of warm light, amber color, at times slicing through it, leaving me behind when I am not quite quick enough. quick to catch up. behind, me, a meeting of flesh: my own. I am a blank space that I name. or perhaps, I am a site of return. 


in the direction of return, we find this body calling back. moving at the pace of remembering. which is the speed of Black time. which is to say I reach towards remembering a name thicker than my own and I wonder if memory will call me back to meet my blood. or leave it behind, leave me with myself. i’m not sure which one i prefer. still, blood. go back 90 years and it would make more sense. it being, the spiral. it being, myself.


in the direction of myself, is a rockier depth. before, my belief of the verb to open as the process itself insisted that the end would be because of the reaching. instead the reach was the return. the direction was a spiral towards the root. towards anything else would be an avoidance of the flesh. i reach into the spiral. which is to say again, again, different but again, until you understand. understand that perhaps we are always returning.


return to the center to redirect and gesture outwards is a motion that cannot avoid the body or the blood. because the flesh does not wait for a name. flesh out and forget identity, remember that I exist because of trillions of tiny spirals, which is a reminder of yes, yes, again, yes.  yes is the surest name I know. i call back, and wait to hear her response, listen for the name thicker than my own. i have been here before. (yes). 


yes the opening was a preparation. was tearing open at the seams to make space for the inevitable unpreventable release. flow. recall i am water. i invite myself to change my mind. is it true that i can change how i feel simply because i say so? yes, but also perhaps not. tenuous though the abstraction may be, the color of trust changes with each spiral, or each year. but i digress -- 


still, i look up and see the moon. a truest sign of the spiral. i sit and face myself like in the movies. sit deep. i watch the closeness of my breath fogging up on the mirror, the reflection of my very life condensing in front me, mouth shaping around the word yes. something like the name i search for is rising in my chest, like a moon rising in the afternoon sky. she appears and i remember something from another color, another year, and i turn to myself. yes. (spiral).