In diaspora all things are possible, so many things yet remain unseen.”
Thomas Glave, Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh
At first I wanted to say that I’ve never started an essay with a quote before, but that couldn’t be true, especially when your staircase becomes a cold white blanket, beautiful to look at but hard to climb. You look for the water but it isn’t there, under water turned to white. I’m saying that the snow in Boston right now is beautiful, so this might be a good time to tell you about my favorite books of 2013 (the ones I read this year, that is).
Thomas Glave’s Among the Bloodpeople (Akashic Books) is about the violence of machetes and bombs, the silencing of literature and skin. Listen: “It is something to know that you so dearly and even desperately love a country in which you know that you are not, in fact, safe, no matter the seductiveness of your illusions; no matter your desire for safety (actual safety itself, whatever it actually is)…” Do you see how this book circles around itself, our selves? It’s about Jamaica, and the US, interwoven legacies of colonialism and homophobia and that gasp for fresh air, the way the light gives way to darkness, and how we move from literal to figurative, and whether this helps us, and when that matters.