Body and Mind
On Reading The Papers Of Richard M. Stites, Esq., At The Georgia Historical Society In Savannah
I spread out your charts, your ledgers, your bug-eaten accounts, the ones cataloged and filed in acid-free folders. The room where I sit, Mr. Stites, is not far from the room where you yourself must have sat, sweat-stained, surrounded by your law books, sleeves rolled up, face sopping wet, bent over your volumes. Adding, subtracting, calculating, measuring, devising. Not far from where your slaves stood in pens waiting to be sold.
It’s 7 AM, and I’ve finally come back to my car. I force myself to check my phone and assess the damage: four missed calls — three from Rebecca, my girlfriend, and one from my father. I’m parked at a Pavilions grocery store on Melrose in Hollywood, a few blocks from the gay bathhouse where I’ve been since yesterday evening.
Once, a donkey ascended to the shining gates of the kingdom of heaven. The gates were open. The donkey heard music more beautiful than anything he had ever imagined. Each note was a star going supernova, a pack of wolves running down an elk over snow. The song poured itself into the world. The donkey stood transfixed. Without thinking, he opened his mouth wide and brayed.
On a bike I have wings and a kingdom. On a bike I’m a taller, stronger, wiser version of myself — the person I wish to be on land. It’s always been this way.
The wide sweep of the northern Gulf of Mexico and the Apalachee Bay is in perpetual motion, reshaping, and at times reclaiming, my front yard. Alligator Harbor, with its clear shallows and deceptive currents — pulled by the moon, the sun, the trickster we call weather — defines and sculpts my backyard, revising boundaries and property lines, confounding appraisers and owners alike.