Rotten.TV Episode 1 (Part 2): DisSolution, Adam Moore, 2021
En Id Pt
Menu
Text

Rotten.TV Episode 1 (Part 2): DisSolution, Adam Moore, 2021

Adam Moore
Runtime: 22:41

Ama floats downriver.

We waded into the Trent, surrounded by the estates, follies, and Brownian English gardens marked into the landscape by whiteness. Naked, in the capitalist, colonial, imperial, structural, and systemic beliefs, ideologies, cultures, and practices enacted, recapitulated, and inculcated upon us. The river remembers journeys and ancestors. 

Our life’s dying breaks down into organic and inorganic matter, our very bones – ‘approximately 25 per cent water’ – releasing life in death. The monsoon season’s rains falling on my father’s motherland rinse my ancestors. Minerals dissolve. They return to the island. 

They ebb from their graves towards the shores 

to meet the waves of the Caribbean Sea. 

Mingling with the North Atlantic, 

carried by storms to the English Channel,

and funnelling into the Thames,

down through a subterranean network of pipes 

they fill my cup, they meet my lips.

I sip. 

Eluding their bodies they journey to me.

I take them in, 

we calcify together for a time. 

We come close this way. 

(Without being too prescriptive about what I mean by nature) it is beautiful to see her nature, and the nature of her body at rest in the water. I connect to her serenity and power, I connect to my skin, breath, and bone, and breathe deeper again. 

She meets them skin-to-skin, carried downriver by the water that fell as rain on our ancestors. They are the cold current that caresses her now, streams of time washing over her.

‘Hurricane come
and hurricane go
but sea – sea timeless’

Early in the morning on the island, a baby lizard crawls across the ceiling from the open window and down the wall, watching me as I rouse from sleeping in bed where I lay. In the street, the intoxicating scent of the wet ground as it dries fills my nostrils. We splash in the sulphur springs. I hold my nose. 

‘sea timeless
sea timeless
sea timeless
sea timeless’

They are in me. They are in the land, they are the land. We live because they live. 

‘We must remember also that we do not live in isolation: the whole circulation of water, air, and plant, animal, and human life is an unbroken and interdependent system of which we are a part. Through the circulation of our own body fluids and the air we breathe, we communicate both within ourselves and with the environment outside of us. If this circulation is interrupted or distorted then imbalance is created in our relationship to ourselves, the earth, air, other people, and all living forms of nature around us. To maintain the wholeness (health) of this living system we need to attend to both inner and outer and the right relationship between the two. The body fluids are the system through which communication with, and transformation of, both inner and outer environments takes place’.

***

Three is the magic number in fairy tales, and in Pagan rituals the number of absolution, integrity, and completeness. It is often said that the “third time’s a charm”. 

I’ve been grieving

Me too. We have all been grieving, haven’t we? Perhaps we haven’t stopped grieving? The real question is: what have we been grieving? Because the answer to that might confirm my suspicions: that whiteness and its benefactors, white people, have barely even begun this part of the mourning process, and that because of their unwillingness to grieve (the death of what they think they know), we all run out of time to live much sooner than we thought. 

Deep breaths. 

I have not been composting.  We had to pay a plumber to blast air up through the pipes when dirty water flooded the kitchen. We thought pouring coffee down the sink wasn’t doing any harm. I had been warned not to do this before. I knew better.

Like pouring oil into the oceans, I imagine, compartmentalising

Whiteness as a constructed hierarchical system of oppression is strange and insidious, and hammer attacks me every time. Never unexpected yet enduringly shocking, to feel it, in action, when I think I have all my bases covered and my expectations managed. It colonises resources – time, space, money, energy, emotions, thoughts, and feelings – and knowledge. It takes away your living and your dead, and it smiles innocently knowingly.

I was documenting my progress online as I read through A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, assuming incorrectly that the author Kathryn Yussof was Black. I ceased sharing my progress after I discovered that Kathryn Yussof was neither Black nor a Person of Colour. The author’s proximity to Blackness felt intentionally ambiguous, and reading their work became uncomfortable. Capitalising on the research of Black and POC scholars and academics whose work finds it origins in their lived experience of Blackness; I encountered whiteness, mining this knowledge and labour for its own gain; despite its preoccupation with and policing of boundaries, whiteness proves time and again it has none. ‘When her mother asked, without glancing at her, “Have you stolen anything?” a stillness fell over Meridian and for seconds she could not move. The question literally stopped her in her tracks’. Whiteness is not innocuous. Being ‘non-innocently entangled with whiteness’ is a double bind of being able to see the damage whiteness does, fighting to find ways to disassemble it, while simultaneously evaluating one’s own complicity in the structures and systems that enable it and minimise its culpability and accountability.

My dad loves recycling. He has recycled for as long as I can remember. I used to imagine all the cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, and glass jars being jet-rinsed clean, sorted into shipping containers, and shuttled off to the place where they would be compressed, crushed, melted, or pulped, and made into new things. Reports this year claim over half of the UKs plastic waste is transported overseas and a lot of this is burned in places like Turkey and China, and that although recycling is seen as an eco-friendly habit most people are enthusiastic about, more of England’s waste is burnt, and less than half of England’s households actually recycle. Not to mention electronic ‘e-waste’ – half of which ends up in Ghana, often illegally, despite ‘regulations’ to limit its transportation and the poisonous impact this has on people living in West Africa and their environment.

I’ve been compartmentalising but no matter how much I recycle and how much I compartmentalise it still feels like not enough. 

I’ve been cumming apart. 

Cumming apart and coming apart: placed side-by-side like that the words strike the bleakest chord in me. I’m also struck by the oxymoron of ‘coming apart’.

***

My spirit wakes in a femmes body
fingers laced with gold bands

She whistles my name so fluent

Father greets our in-laws with his right hand
No one casts a stone to kill us

In this Ghana, they are celebrating our union

I want this love to live forever; that this love leaks through the ground to find the oceans and the pipes, when their bones are minerals and water; that love calcifies together in some other femme, or masc, or non-binary, or gender non-conforming, or trans person; that this love maintains the wholeness of this living system. Forever.

***

I cannot digest any more Empire(s). I have digested enough. 

I am constantly digesting apathy, entitlement, and murderousness, disguised as a condescending charity of law abiding citizens and subjects. I wish there was a clock or a meter that could tell us all how much time we’ve each spent digesting this shit. 

Too long.  

***

I had to stop. Black and Brown people, People of Colour, and Indigenous people have had to (and continue to) digest so much in order to stay sane; stay alive; and love themselves and their ancestors. While the benefactors of colonialism ravage the world’s resources, feeding whiteness and its insatiable appetite for speculative accumulation and growth, I consider my proximity to and complicity in whiteness, and how I might dismantle it and reduce its effect(s) on myself and others. Sometimes I want to stop. Knowing that to stop, to do doing nothing, is part of my matrix of intersecting privileges that I have, here, in the global north. So I keep digesting, develop a stronger, more robust constitution. Yes, we are our ancestors’ wildest dreams but our ancestors are crying out from the land for the land to be restored, and we must listen and act now.

***

A belly full of rotting cloud doesn’t sound like a lot but it is, more than I can take. 

No more murder. Shattered lives. Shattered dreams. 

Explanations. 

Half-truths. Lies. Ultimatums. 

Compromises. 

Poor decisions. 

Unfair and unearned exclusion. 

Intransigence. 

No more bullshit. 

No more whiteness.

Whiteness decays around us, 

in us 

and I for one just want to shit it out. 

A really solid healthy shit, where I am left feeling so fresh, so clean and light; I know for sure that it is gone; when I wipe and see nothing there. 

Whiteness. 

Grieving what it has lost 

“Alexa, play ‘terrorists raid the White House’”.

Consuming 

Everything 

Frolicking in whiteness and its decay is not something I choose to do: I feel like I have no choice. I am fearful of, but also waiting for living conditions here in the global north to become more “uncivilised” – then there will be no frolicking branded as superiority.

***

bathe yourself 

purify 

make a lather 

Intimacy and generosity are simple and complex; she sits with water, naked. And washes. 

I notice the shape of her body, the colour of her skin, the soft curls of her hair. Although not unusual for a bathroom, its whiteness feels uncomfortable. I notice the crack in the wall of the tub. Whiteness fracturing. ‘I feel most coloured when thrown up against a sharp white background’ – felt more acutely when whiteness is crumbling. We constantly have to keep our composure when washing whiteness off. Not because we don’t want to make a scene, but because our lives and bodies are important and we pay good and close attention to them, as much as we can in a world machinated not to care for us; we come back home and show care.

***

[Note to self: 

dance

gyrate 

and channel the ecstasy, superimpose the Brown Pre-Raphaelite]

***

Aliens fly overhead destroying colonial buildings with laser beams. They travel in low-tech and dated flying saucers. Aliens. Why can’t we face the truth? That we can’t imagine a compelling vision of a future we want at the stewardship of human hands? ‘Partly motivated by existential threats such as an asteroid strike big enough to wipe out humanity’, Elon Musk will be opening new transport links to Mars ‘sparing human civilisation’. Whiteness, dressed up in a distorted, sensationally altruistic guise, ignoring the very real and unfolding existential threat that it poses to the world: ‘” anything for as long as it takes to steal some land”’.

Documentation from 2020 of far-right, white supremacist, Black Lives Matter counter-protesters in the UK can be found in any colonial settler country. At the same time, demonstrably peaceful Black protestors – teenagers sitting cross legged on the ground, drinking water – were surveilled, assaulted, arrested, and dragged into police riot vans during Black Lives Matter protests. Scenes of mourners being wrestled to the ground and arrested at the vigil for Sarah Everard were shocking though not entirely unexpected. Giving attention to the events leading up to this vigil, we see whiteness at work in the media: there is debate around why this life mattered enough to be protested nationally when so many Black women and women of colour are murdered all the time, without any media coverage whatsoever. Whiteness is a 17 year old killing two people and injuring a third, with a semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle, in public, and being found innocent of murder. Abundantly clear, terrorism is not terrorism if you are white. The law does not apply to you if you are white – it protects you. 

Whiteness is permitted to go unpoliced because the sole purpose of the police and law enforcement is to protect whiteness – white people, property, and power.

I could be more enthusiastic about alien intervention. I don’t want a new trade route to Mars. 

Though whiteness blankets our planet, dwelling in our seas and lands, and in the flora and fauna to which we belong, our ancestors and kin are a stabilising force, with us, outstanding and infinitesimal. Peace on earth, yes, we desire this. 

But first we must encounter justice.

________________________________________________________

[1] Linda Hartley, Wisdom of the Body Moving, An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1989), p.150

[2] Grace Nichols, Sea Timeless Song in Sun Time Snow Time: Poetry for children inspired by Caribbean and British life (London: A & C Black Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2013), p. 50.

[3] Grace Nichols, Sea Timeless Song in Sun Time Snow Time: Poetry for children inspired by Caribbean and British life (London: A & C Black Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2013), p. 50.

[4] Linda Hartley, Wisdom of the Body Moving, An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1989), p.268

[5] Alice Walker, Meridian (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1976) p. 43.

[6] Michelle Murphy, Alterlife and Decolonial Chemical Relations (University of Toronto Mississauga, Blackwood Gallery, August 2018, Eds. D.T. Cochrane, Alison Cooley, Fraser McCallum, Christine Shaw, Joy Xiang), p.10.

[7] Sarah Laville, ‘UK plastics sent for recycling in Turkey dumped and burned, Greenpeace finds’ (The Guardian, 01:00 EDT, Mon 17 May 2021).

[8] Lucy Seigel, ‘Revealed: why hundreds of thousands of tonnes of recycling are going up in smoke’ (The Guardian, 02:15 EST, Sun 7 March 2021).

[9] Andrew Wasley, ‘UK e-waste illegally dumped in Ghana’, (The Guardian, 11.37 BST, Mon 16 May 2011).

[10] Linda Hartley, Wisdom of the Body Moving, An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1989), p.268

[11] Zora Neale Hurst, How It Feels to Be Coloured Me (First published in The World of Tomorrow May, 1928).

[12] Rotten.COP26 Playlist https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1GJ7wwxyXrK77XQnU5HMox?si=318080013e1b4530

[13] Paul Rincon, ‘What is Elon Musk’s Starship?’ (BBC website, 7 August, 2021).

[14] Paul Rincon, ‘What is Elon Musk’s Starship?’ (BBC website, 7 August, 2021).

[15] Alice Walker, Meridian (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Inc., 1976) p. 47.