Keyna Eleison resumes her column in 2020 with a warning: a weary text to be sung aloud.
Illustration: Edson Ikê
Elbows are admirable joints, a lively passageway of relationships with our circulation, emotions, gestures and performances.
An elbow can say a lot about a person: its absence would be deeply felt, but its presence is rendered completely invisible.
The elbow, which from now on I shall make a point of calling a she, is a vital joint, even if, without her, life does not perish, an elbow can never be thought of as an appendix; something that is there inside the body, but whose function no one understands.
And even if we don’t think about her, an elbow is an extremely erotic joint, touching her inside and outside brings about a pleasurable sensation and the power of expectation is ensconced within her.
It is there, on her outer bend, that we prop up space-time, tighten up the void.
To never be touched or desired. This elbow is a useful, indispensible, untransplantable joint.
And without her, make no mistake, waiting would be even more excruciating.
Confined to boxes, people are unable.
Don’t speak ill of those who suffer. Don’t speak ill of someone who suffers.
Maybe my ancestors are not someone.
Maybe my ancestors are not people.
Maybe my ancestors are not human.
And if my ancestors are not human, I must not be either.
My song, my cry, is not human.
My beauty, my curves, my smell, my taste, my voice. My writing…
That must be why I am not heard.
That’s why I don’t die, because I am not part of life.
I come from an ultra-humanity, beyond the warriors, the saints, the multitudes that I am. What I represent and what my body represents inside this boundary.
I was not carried to utopia, this perfect place.
I am not part of any kind of perfection.
That is why many of me are not locked away now.
They wave n public transport to save lives.
They inhabit places that sustain lives.
And people like me?
Are they people?
If we don’t die, we are not people.
But I sing loud and dance hard to be admired as a thing.
And I smile, but now I can smile in the face of the world’s end.
A world I was never part of.
So it will fall and I will watch.
So sing out.
Days numbered, roads closed, lives cut short, the mess, the idleness, the longing…
And what’s missing.
And what’s missing?
Forgive me for seeing something in the hollow shell.
Forgive me. Are Things outside or in the same place?
What is their order?
But can we stop before the revolt?
To my ancestors…
With thick elbows. And my elbows, slender and moisturized.
And now we greet each other with our elbows.
Keyna Eleison is a curator, with a degree in Philosophy and a Masters in Art History. A narrator, singer, and ancestral chronicler, she is a specialist in art education, storytelling, knowledge harvesting – orally, Griot heritage and shamanic ritual. She also contributes regularly to the column “For eyes that can see” in Contemporary And (C&) América Latina.
Translated from Portuguese by Zoë Perry