apr 20 2021 - precious calluses

hand and feet skin reformation, cw; a little gross tbh??

update: i’m leaving substack! how disappointing they are :(
this will be my last missive from here - in may, stay tuned for a msg from buttondown :) feel free to add <postmaster@mg.buttondown.email> to your address book if ur worried ab spam filtration!


dear slushee savants,

~since i last wrote,~ I finally figured out a new extreme sports motion - gonna choose to elaborate elsewhere, another time. the process of learning it was thrilling, more soon ;)

i’ve also since lost an old pair of workout gloves. beside the inner padding having mostly dissolved with time, the outer zebra print had since faded and was just a dirty gray by the end anyway. i remember the zebra pattern was the cheapest; why pay more for electric blue when you can pay less for zebra print? to wherever those gloves went… RIP!!

i do have another pair but its thicker padding is better suited for indoor gym equipment (some day i hope!!) than what’s available at my outdoor gym. so i stopped wearing them and instead have watched small calluses (re)form on the insides of my knuckles.

~~noting the things that used to be so discomforting i needed gloves and now hurt good enough, ya know, just to feel something

~~noting the things that didn’t used to hurt and now that i refuse to withstand

i’ve also noticed calluses on my feet thicken and (re)form. when i first saw the thin dead skin peel back, i wondered if they had gone away and were returning and/or whether new layers were just making space for fresh air. i don’t think there’s been a period this pandemic where they would’ve gone away but as acute as my somatic sensitivity has become over the last year (plus!), it’s also quite possible i missed something :)

i remember rehearsing one season where it felt as if i had never had calluses before. my feet were suddenly precious snowflakes, blistering again and again and no amount of tape would relieve the blotchy red and raw being re-aggravated everyday.

the pain from not just bearing my own weight barefoot but pressing and twisting it into the floor was also oddly satisfying. to redirect my momentum, around circles (it’s me, i’m the broken record) in lateral space or squeeze my internal biomechanics into a plane to look like a narrow vector is a manual labor, one I love as both rigorous and frivolous.

calluses thickening comes from laboring the hands and feet. they can protect the skin and provide welcome cushioning. but too thick, they can tear off, the accumulation of so much friction written on the body gets crowded and needs to start over

so maybe that szn was a bubble burst of its times. submitting my poor feet to my daily somatic practice was not the best thing i could’ve done for it and yet what else was there to do but move and just wait for the callus cycle to turn? yes i’m vaguely familiar with the concept of “rest,” lol!!!

and the cycle did move on, my feet skin re-sealed and i glided across bare floors barefoot not at all noting the moment when doing so became painless again.

there’s a potential Goldilocks argument about ideal callus thickness, but— boring honestly! there’s another potential allusion to the body as corporeal ~reform~ and shedding to reveal the fleshy core, the healong of which leads to ~growth~ and ~resilience~. i could something something Deleuze and Guattari here, map callus formation beyond my individual body and onto the state, etc. but ~we~ all know how quickly that would fall apart so let me not forget that slushees are for thought improvisation and not theorization :) :) so take this where you want (YES AND!!) & talk to me/cite me later ;) ;)

for my dance/performance/somatic readers, who has read the body keeps the score? i have not actually, but someone talk to me about it plzz!!

&& srrry this is coming to you 3 days after april 20th’s first quarter moon in Leo but i’ve been on the phone like all night every night this week so i feel like my indulging in the pleasure and comfort of dear ones’ attn is the most fitting first quarter leo moon / sun & mercury in taurus szn excuse, i mean, honoring of the occasions :)

quotes and testimonials

“The slushees truly always bring me joy. Yesterday's taught me I am a Don't-Love-Me sun with a Don't-Ignore-Me rising,” — from a pal/fan

“now more than ever yours,’” — from another pal/fan
your fave “Why-would-you-love-me” sun,
bn

mar 21 2021 - a roundabout confrontational

ice skating, slush ruts, circular + cyclical motion, & 🥰🥰

i can’t believe ‘first quarter moon slush’ (ur fave monthly missive) and ‘soft bodies in hard places’ (my petit curatorial platform) have existed since 2018 and it took til mar 2021 for me to go ice skating

get ready for the most m*ta slushee u’ve ever read 🥰

it was such a special day in the sun. under the bright reflecting back in my face, it was impossible to discern where the slush was pooling throughout the scuffed up ice. slush on ice does not care for my momentum; it’ll sink me impassively and still hurt 🥰 i just had to remember to keep my knees and ankles soft as a dear one and i glided around the very hard place. (LOL i told you!)

i could probably count the times i’ve ever ice skated on one hand, the last time being at least 10+ yrs ago and, like with running, returning to this xtreme sport as my dancer self was wild. but somehow it took me less time to get my legs under me than it did on a bike. in case you haven’t heard me say it before, that adage is a lie, i wouldn’t die on this hill but i have fought ppl about it #ariesszn 🥰

what i love about ice skating physics (as my layperson brain understands it, someone correct me), one can only guide momentum from a circle, not a straight line. to accelerate or decelerate, one must channel the ~centripetal force~ and redirect it to where one wants to go

it is a round sport, it is a roundabout motion, and it’s #ariesszn, where supposedly, we act in the straightest line possible. and yet, pushing my skate to the side and behind me to sort of go forward feels pretty confrontational (in a gemini first quarter moon kinda way) to me, idk!!! nobody @ me, that’s my take! #ariesszn 🥰

s/o to all the round human motion crammed into linear frameworks — from cardinal directions of “left, right, forward, backward” moving across space to more localized body language like “lift” “bend” “push” “up” “down.” the round arcs of force that move a torso or a limb loop around many a curve, no?skating just brushes these forces across the slip so their evershifting velocities are made more apparent on the body! in case u couldn’t already tell, i barely passed the state exam for high school physics 🥰

this slushee might consider the biomechanics of ice skating alongside the ever newsy cycles of outrage and grief. the momentum took me here, oop! this slushee could point out where cherished moments like this ice skating date and its exaltation in sunny release fit in the weather pattern, and it surely does and yet, where it fits also feels like a less interesting point to make.

another point might be that some things appearing to move forward or linearly may actually/also be moving in a circle, or even, in a cycle. if so, in what direction(s)? the last year has invited from me a heightened awareness of how my body is predisposed to respond to what have become familiar ~strata~ in the ~spheres~

———(dw, the unsubscribe button is somewhere down below)———

idk who needs to hear this (it’s me. i need to hear it) but i’m thinking about ~resisting~ the modes 2020 helped (forced?) me to remember as well… Not It: reactiveness, doomscrolling, intentionlessness, astroturfy bs, etc.

or even, as ~skating taught me~, circles can loop and they can also skid off course. i can (briefly?) exit the hamster wheel. i can react to XYZ differently than WXY from last wk. i can fall softly and consider new forces to re-surmount inertia—another way of moving, a sweetie to help me on my feet, a stranger to encourage me from afar. (someone beamed “WOW” at me trying to skate backwards and honestly)

anywho, i only took one hard fall when the slush rut was too much. all other times, i let select muscles turn to goo & just melted onto the ice 🥰

video by a sweetie: me turning centripetal force into centrifugal force on ice skates & sliding & ~spiraling~ into a graham 4th, iykyk ugh. if you can, geolocate the slush rut, based on my motion 🥰

as predicted, i quite miss walking on snow 😭 it was everywhere so quickly and gone before i could watch it melt; i was prlly stuck on z00m 😭 i really can’t imagine how i’ll have anything left to say about ~walking on water~ next month, unless someone wants to (~safely~ 💀) take me water skiing 🥰

happy #ariesszn! i look forward to: interrupting ppl more this month 🥰 calling people out! it’s nbd, ur probably not canceled! 🥰 calling ppl when i just feel like it! tho some of y’all have been doing this to me at the same time; know when it’s the right moment! 🥰 growing my #ariesszn2021 soundtrack; it’s extremely loud! what’s on urs?

Leave a comment

finally a pal shared this meme and i’ve since shared it with everyone, including u dear reader. is this correct or is this correct??! #ariesszn 🥰

🥰ur very own🥰
benedict

feb 19 2021 - body surf

feat record usage of the word ~slush~

feb 19 was my birthday! haha

[feb 18]

it is snowing as i edit this. what a delight! i think about compiling another love letter about my snow embodiment because my state’s infrastructure, for all its other failures, can manage a snowfall somewhat okay, while in TX… *screams* who is surprised that this google doc offers more than the state is

[jan 29]

on this day’s xtreme sport, it is ~25º F outside and xtremely windy! i dance a bit, flail more than usual against the giant slaps of air thrashing around me

i stand facing downwind and hinge at the hips. i feel the wind’s particular texture and force giving me shelf beneath my back and lean further into it. i close my eyes and slacken some of the muscles holding my torso aloft and give my weight to the void. a truly magical sensation, ~going with the flow~ , body surfing on air, ~contact improv~ lol jk

[feb 5]

i’m walking down a set of steps in the park and for some reason, think that this patch of snow isn’t that deep and ofc, my boot sinks and that leg is knee deep.

[feb 10]

the my-leg-shaped hole in the mound on that set of steps is still intact.

[feb 16]

i put on leggings, my rattiest shoes that i enjoy running in, and a t-shirt beneath my coat. I get to the post office at 4:18pm to mail a care package to a friend who just got home from the hospital from COVID-19. apparently my post office closes at 4pm. oop!

so the small box becomes a heavy box as i trudge uphill back to my apt. by the time i get back home, i feel my back straining to hold it and really, the bar for xtreme sports is exactly that high.

but i take the chance to add on a layer. wearing a t-shirt under a coat was ambitious, even for 52º F. i haven’t run since that big snowstorm, but wonder, even assume, that the track will have been shoveled. ofc, my bratty ass is wrong 😭

the sidewalk between the steps and the fence to the track is several inches of slush. i don’t believe i’ve written about snow slush in a slushee yet 🍧 the way the late afternoon light hits the track, i try to convince myself that it might actually be cleared, just very wet. why am i like this? i already told you i was wrong lolllll

so i trudge back through the slush, my socks sloshing with wet and for a few seconds they’re cold and then my feet get over it. i’m sad i don’t get to run in circles

i walk to the baseball field nearby and notice the path around it is mostly clear. i’m skeptical of potential slicks and my fears are confirmed once i finally decide to take a couple laps. big circles! bouncing between the slush! my feet re-soak each time they land in puddles, the newness of each wet becomes a fresh splash of sensation. slush! 🍧

by the time i get to the park, i’m fully game for the snow covered expanses of grass. climbing the slush-covered path to the top, i step gingerly but the slush doesn’t care. i skid. by the time i make it to the snow, i’m full on skating ⛸ the treads from these ratty shoes have long flattened into each other. each step forward slides sideways and something something physics and my perennially tight IT bands stiffen to keep me stable. bless em!

[feb 18]

during my 5 hours of zoom mtgs 💀, I stare out the window and watch the snow fall and wonder how much is sticking.

by the time I make it to the park in the evening, most of the grass is untouched, unlike past snow days this winter. it makes me ~conscious~ of the footprints i’ll leave behind, tracing where my boots fell. footprints as records, as archives. as I dance in place, I think of all the ephemera of my body dancing in the negative space above the print, all the motion that just moves on with the wind. the snow that will someday melt is rather less precious about it than i am 🙄

[feb 12]

u bet I watched the last installment of the TATBILB trilogy. some of you remember my much-enjoyed, dashed off slushee about nº2 last year and ~critiques~ aside, i shouldn’t have been surprised nº3 got me emotional lol. maybe i’ll write about the 3rd one and/or Minari and/or _____!? requests welcome lolllll

to pisces szn! to yest’s first quarter moon in gemini! to the end of this horrendous and hilarious mercury in retrograde!

to slushee sensation,
bn

jan 20 2021 - xtreme sportz

biking home in absolute stupor // resisting stupor??

dear slushee fans,

one recent day, i biked a breezy 4ish miles to the botanical garden to see a dear one i haven’t been with in physical space since before. my last few bike rides, i began listening to music at low volume (shh) and honestly, the blend of outdoor noises and scenic views (we love the open sky up here) passing by at bike speeds, and listening to an album all the way thru is 🥺🥺. the thrilling release [obvious metaphor forthcoming, don’t @ me] of driving in a car to loud music but slower, quieter, and less carsick.

at the garden, i stayed in the cool outdoors for few hours and then somehow my chilled body had to make it back home. my muscles brittle from passive, mild shivering, i made up my (probably longer) route as i went. i reclaimed a mostly empty stretch of red bus lane, downshifted to make it up the steepest hill (honestly, would’ve been faster walking le vélo up), and floated down the slightest incline the rest of the way. once home, i dizzily crumpled on the floor and luckily got up to re-hydrate before i got stuck there, my mouth hanging open to release the comforting pulse still lingering in my silly body.

Photo by me: pink clouds at the bottom of a mostly clear sky. Below, cars in the street and a stop light at red
photo by me: from the trek home, the sky was this nice. ID: pink clouds at the bottom of a mostly clear sky. Below, cars in the street and a stop light at red

there’s not much to analyze in my new love for my running and my biking —not that i’ll stop writing about it! ofc, i have come to crave these spurts of heightened exertion because so many of the other days’ hours pass in more or less the same, tiring physical state: sitting. sitting as embodied experience, as durational performance, audience of me. sure i have my stretch breaks but, what i miss most about #beforetimes #freelanceflailing was how my schedule literally structured petits interstitials of fresh air and brain drain (the individualistic neoliberal version, not the imperialist version LOL) between points A, B, C, and D.

now i have to super intentionally tell my body to do it, to look away from my screen and just not for a bit. when time is short, the laps and across the floors (s/o to the dance contingent among y’all LOL) i can do in my room are limited. to look at strangers requires me to look at a screen again. and so, i return to the computer labor and definitely don’t procrasti-twitter and have a great time here ;3 and then, if i can escape before the sun sets, i go outside for my xtreme sportz (this is not a metaphor or a hyperbole! haha ). i do big laps and travel across a wide ‘floor’ and regard the neighbors and strangers. instead of thinking intensely while being still, i hardly think and keep it moving.

~nature is healing~ , capitalism is the virus, etc.

redacting some grafs about what audiobooks i’m listening to while cooking [for the archives] and won’t advance a ~theory of everything~ for this slushee but ~~~~~ (haha) gonna keep thinking about resisting my own stupor by substituting it with other forms of stupor as a strategy/response to .. haha… 

the planets

  • jan 20’s first quarter moon was in Aries, moving into Taurus

  • welcome to aquarius szn, may ~the things~ be clear [how am i doing? haha]

  • mercury retrogrades jan 30, get ready now or just follow the flow of ~mess~

  • the next first quarter moon is on the start of pieces szn, aka my birthday, feb 19 ;)

some reading recc’s

& some performance work in the world now / soon:

‘haha’ has cycled back in for the ‘LOL,’
benedict


ps. some upcoming events w/ me ;3
  • a smol reading / craft talk / discussion
    tue jan 26, 6-7pm EST on zoom
    FREE - RSVP here
    as part of my ongoing collaboration with Johnnie Cruise Mercer/TRPNYC’s [see above] multi-year anthology, i’ll read a quick snippet and (craft) talk about my process and questions of perspective in ekphrasis. And facilitate a chat with ~the public~ about t these writing questions, the labor “we” ask writing to do, etc. (in collaboration with Proteo Media)

  • a poetry reading
    wed feb 3, 1-2ish pm EST on zoom
    FREE - RSVP TBA (eventually on this page - DM if you want a reminder!)
    part of
    The Brooklyn Rail's "New Social Environment" Radical Poetry Reading series, full line up TBA ;)

  • a screening + discussion of The Last Moon in Mellowland 
    fri feb 5, 6-7ish pm EST on zoom
    FREE - RSVP here and on Facebook here
    Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!) presents a special screening of Jordan’s film (runtime ~30min). After, join me in a chat with collaborators Jordan Demetrius Lloyd, Breeanah Breeden, Ariana Speight, and emily rose cannon about the film, the times, etc. ;) 

dec 21 2020 - traverse via flotation

big planetary movements, a bod update, & 2 songs for ya

there is so much astrology to process this wk - which ofc, is to say, there’s so much to process and astrology’s framework provides some guiding questions to consider

here’s a handy summary i compiled just for u, dear reader:
[fr, don’t @ me, take me a little bit facetiously here, thanks!]

  • winter solstice ~ who’s ready for more sunlight but also, more winter?

  • (sun @) cap szn ~ who’s ready to be competent?

  • saturn / Jupiter conjunction @ aquarius ~ who’s ready for the next 200 years?

  • saturn @ Aquarius ~ who’s ready for my saturn return combustion?

and ofc

  • first quarter moon in pisces ~ what are we halfway to feeling ambivalent about?
    [i really went for that one, mhm]

here’s a slushee exclusive bod update (i.e. have not previously discussed on public social media):

a month ago today, i injured my foot a little bit. from running, of course! it felt both like ankle had been jammed and that it had become more mobile. it hurt to walk in most shoes, yet heels were fine 💀 after ~2.5 wks, it was better. healing isn’t always this easy but here, thankfully, patience was enough. b/c of pandemic and garbage health care, i trusted in my own knowledge of my body. i came to figure out what my little foot needed: i played with compression and ice and heat. i gave it rest and also found a way to keep dancing through it in a way that eased the pain. i didn’t run and was surprised by how much i missed it. my body gets attached easily, i guess. i pulled and stretched it apart. i curled my toes around a theraband and pushed and twisted it around in countless circles. i found where to spread the muscles of my feet to make it feel longer and wider and then one morning, it just felt better.

i’ve only run one time since. 2 easy laps around the track—never thought i’d ever say that lol. i didn’t time myself, just thought about rolling through every surface of my foot and how it felt to have the briefest contact between my feet and the ground before bounding forward, around and around. i would’ve run again if it hadn’t snowed here in New York (Lenaphoking and Wappinger lands) last week. as of sun evening, the track was still covered with snow.

and it’s so delightful dancing in snow. even when the paved path and the exposed dirt and uncut grass is just a bit damp, my shoes still have enough traction for me to compress and bend wherever my weight falls. my knees’ capacity for pliancy is my blessing.

when there may be ice or a variable amount of compacted snow beneath my next step, my knees will not help me as much. it actually feels most secure to lift my weight as far above it all as possible and traverse via flotation. as i tip toe, my traction is in the mobility of my torso, not my feet’s contact with the ground, like i’m hanging from a bar, except the bar is my shoulders and my tendril-feet hang beneath me to see what it can grab onto but always anticipating slip.

photo by me:  me keeping my weight above the ground covered in snow, left leg slightly bent, left arm raised, with bare trees in the background
photo by me: me keeping my weight above the ground covered in snow, left leg slightly bent, left arm raised, with bare trees in the background

so i’m dancing in the snow this week but i’ve also found myself just being still, which ofc is still dancing. i’ll find a highest point in my park and just stand, looking out, 500% space cadet.

i realized today that i haven’t had a week off since 2019 lol (i forgot i was still online that week i was out of town) and probably won’t til 2021 lol. thankful to have work rn and just sending a shout out to Saturn and Jupiter or whatever planetary body to plz give me some PTO in 2021, just one wk without work calls or mtgs.

there’s a tidy conclusion i could draw about ballet training (2010-15, “pull up,” yes nice and “lifted”) and tip toeing in the snow and freelancing (gotta zoom out to remember all my projects at all times) and inertia making this skimming the surface while suspended from nowhere feel like a foregone conclusion. but i won’t LOL.

though really, the obvious axiom is i much prefer feeling grounded and reassured that i can take time off and it’s not all gonna fall out from under me if i slow down for a sec and let gravity take over. since the nation-state won’t provide that traction, hm…

[tweet: top image: café art of a cat with pursed lips. bottom image: café art of a cat with a big open mouth]

looking back

i was thinking about how my recent IG posts have taken on the format of mid-2019 slushees. s/o to those of you who were reading then! can’t believe i’ve been tossing off my frenetic chaos brain to the gram LOL

last year (jk, it was my first slushee of 2020 LOL), i participated in the then- and still now-clichéd practice of bemoaning end-of-year lists and saving my previously prepared list in a draft. reply back if you want some before-times 2019 highlights. this year, you know i bemoan and gift you anyways with two deep-cut song moments from 2020, specifically

the first 30 seconds of Jessie Ware’s “Save a Kiss” ~ a both insufferably long and way too short intro before she sings “high anticipation is an emotional trap”

the last 30 seconds of Empress Of’s “Void” ~ she sings “I feel voi-oi-oi-oi” and the closure of the ‘d’ never arrives

~~ till ~2021~ ~~~~~
benedict

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