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

nov 21 2020 - scatterplot brain

blegh math, yay short fragments;

dear reader,

my brain is a scatterplot, no line of best fit

i’ve thought of everything i could say and everything I should say and you’re getting the edited version

“is subtweeting productive?” for processing and/or internet content?

i’ve spent a lot of good coherent sentence energy this week sending emails that mostly were not responded to and that’s the way it goes

this scorpio szn brought so much to me. namely clarity

I love a first quarter moon in Aquarius. last nite, Jordan Demetrius Lloyd’s film “The Last Moon in Mellowland” premiered. the first project I curated with “soft bodies in hard places” was called “revolutionary new moon in aquarius.” different moon phases, but Aquarius, thanks for looking out!

if u haven’t already, watch before Dec 31! share if u’d like, etc.!

Aquarius is the water bearer. Stephanie and I haved discussed this more than a few times.

because my brain can’t process much new television and sometimes I want it to rot (this is where I am), I recently rewatched the highly chaotic and thoroughly delightful episode of “Dix pour-cent” (Call My Agent, on Netflix) featuring French actress Isabelle Huppert running around Paris juggling her her (over)commitments and a breach of exclusivity contract. the satire, the caricature… but it’s real!

tonight’s first quarter moon officially hits its geometry at 11:45pm EST, twenty-two minutes before this substack got sent to ur inbox*

how do i stop writing not stop writing

when my brain is literally MUSH

i worry that one of my vegging tools (i’ve noticed this recently and have stopped, phew!) to distract from overstimulating of ~~everything else~~ is looping the same inane tiktoks again and again. apparently, i’ll take certainty wherever I can find it!

wait, why do i enjoy drafting on this interface and this font? i did not expect this revelation to disorient me so. maybe i’ll remove the “ruler” view from MS word, where so much else is happening ;) (heehee, maybe more someday)

“Mellowland” - as a place, as a passage thru a time, feels like a summer, the late part of it where i’m already a little nostalgic for something that hasn’t ended yet. it is sweet and bittersweet and I know enough to soak it up. of course, this thought is inevitably also a curator statement; this is public platform, this is a biased response but if we acknowledge that,

just read what i’m saying and take it with that context. we are in a state where we still have to remind each other we know we’re not “objective”—when ideas have afterlives or never died, just entered into the architecture of thought and it’s easy to forget there was something before that building there….

i’m a reasonable amount of anxious for what this sagittarius szn has in store to humble me ;)

i’ve had a few mornings this wk where i’ve listened to the same song (a different one on each morning) for hours on repeat, sometimes while writing aforementioned emails, sometimes just trancing

i’ve command-x’d 4 vignettes from this draft and placed them in one of the aforementioned MS word docs, where i’ll hold onto them for later or maybe, just for me

of the many ways internet performance can be perceived, talking about Mellowland as many times as I have could be read as self-serving, which, fair. and also, this project has occupied a lot of my brain space for this past week especially so, you’ll forgive me

i’m writing this statement with 8 minutes to spare before the arbitrary deadline of the moon’s passage*, as if I didn’t send my last slushee a day late LOL, as if the moon were a perfect sphere or circle in the sky anyway

as my writing readers know, I write LONG and am thankful for Chen Chen’s recent craft essays for reminding me to embrace fragmented floating in deep space brain and just let this be form

sometimes, you can’t @ someone anymore and subtweeting feels like a welcome avenue fwd in ~~our social media age~~, a fleeting fuck you with little consequence (unless we want it to have consequence 😘, then we make the tweet a bit sharper )

*JK, i’m still rambling haha LOL ;)

remembering the times (somehow plural!!?) this fall where people (again plural?!) have told me part of my brand is my thorough knowledge of internet goings-on. i wish to know about other things!

for example i have read a certain forthcoming book (which, for reasons suggested elsewhere in this slushee, i will not name directly, but u can msg me) that reproduces and absolutely skewers the fragmentary writing form as a “recent trend” and, i absolutely see it — the need to poke at this form, the delight in producing it ;)

earlier, was mindless swiping my thru my phone and it “suggested” this “memory,” and i just spent 5 long minutes trying to find it again (hint: it was found in the place where the surveillance tech first suggested it to me) to share it with u here

to beautiful beach days next summer; to a scrumptious winter of some kind!

HEART and SHARE, etc. if ya want lol b/c UGH ;)
;) bn

oct 23 2020 - falling exercises

on returning to running and biking and ~my body~

dear slushee pals,

I just couldn’t last month cause, you know, fall hustling, free falling, falling apart, falling over myself, "falling” as a somatic exercise, but not the kind you have to or even can do slowly, fall breathing and leave crunching, practicing how deep I can “dance fall” before catching myself at the last minute, falling in and out of small feelings, big feelings, falling into my bed—you know, the things.

among everything people have been saying, rather vaguely but not uninspiringly, about this pandemic necessitating a new world order (huh, let’s see about that…), being a portal (Arundhati Roy), etc. one of the most tangible things for me to “track change” (I kno I kno, don’t) is how I deal with being in my body all day and then trying, usually unsuccessfully, to sleep before having to wake up and be in my body all over again.

sometime last month, I walked by the track in my neighborhood and felt compelled to run. I always hated running in PE. I hated running in a circle and getting dizzy at the scale of 400-meters. boring. why loop around yourself again and again just to see how fast you can propel your body forward? remember the pacer? running back and forth in a cramped line. “faster is better” blah blah capitalism, etc.

[ID: me at the track, wearing the much-adored puppy fleece, and a blue mask with roosters on it, made by pal Angie Chuang]

but now, the thrill of my phone stopwatch (plz, nobody recommend me a real watch, I won’t) and seeing what my body can do, how much air my lungs can squeeze through my 2-layer cloth mask and folded coffee filter, the pounding (which I usually hate! I am fragile!) of all my weight on my legs, I am so grateful to feel and feel how it’s different than running 10 years ago was. I have more core strength, I have less cardiovascular stamina, I have a deeper understanding of “alignment” or whatever, so I am more self-conscious about my running form being probably not good.

the first lap I ran (and I only ran one that day), I nearly choked on my mask and my coffee filter was fully damp. on days i’m not wearing contacts (i.e. most days), my glasses fog up but all I feel is my silly body pushing against the wind and it doesn’t hurt as much as it used to (might have to get real running shoes and not ratty, paper thin sneakers, ugh) and ugh, maybe i’m just trying to compensate as efficiently as possible for the 22 hours a day I spend in my room lol, maybe pounding on my body hurts kind of good at this frequency.

today, I ran 2 (two!) consecutive laps for the first time and felt dizzy (from seeing the same landscape again, as if I hadn’t just been there) but also felt the sky so big and this was a FEELING, I am a changed person.

~*~*~

a couple weeks ago, I also procured a bike. I said I would never bike in this city—partly because of all the horror stories, partly because I had thought my body had forgotten how to ride.

the first few pedals I make when the light goes green must still look frightening. I swerve, my complete lack of confidence or control on full display for the car drivers who wish I were not on the road. at one stop light, a car was needlessly fully stopped in the bike lane. I hesitate between getting off to walk my bike through the narrow gap and just cruising straight through, so of course I topple into the median a little bit and scuff up my left leg. a part of the scab stayed black, more than the usual dark purple, for about a week and I worried (as I did when a heavy door closed on my finger and it popped open LOL, DM if u want the photos) about infection. but as I had to be then, I was patient and waited for the scab to rise and for me to pick it off, revealing tender, sensitive skin beneath. yikes!

in my 3-mile rides, i’ve been surprised by how quickly my legs tire of pushing me on, how my legs carry less brute force than they once did but now, more ankle stability and tactile responsiveness from bounding and changing direction and absorbing—fun physical skills to activate while “dancing” or whatever but largely useless to me just trying to pedal uphill.

since that scrape, i’ve already begun cruising confidently enough to commit to sailing between impossible gaps that I never had to consider growing up biking in suburbia neighborhoods. I make it through without fall fall falling but not so much that I can’t feel the straight path of my bike wheels wavering, just slightly, as I skirt between paths i’m not “legally” meant to create for myself. but if the light is red and if (and only if) there are no pedestrians, why then, I just—

next, we’ll see if my iliotibial bands (of all the parts of my thighs, really, does someone know why?) can withstand 5 miles or maybe more, if not for senseless pace and distance and accumulation, but the thrill of more and more and letting my legs relax while gravity and momentum send me onward, not in the lazy narrative of progressivism, but in the inevitability of time passing in its way and me in my body finding how to move through it at my pace, in my directions, against linear time but towards…. *gestures vaguely at* … idk

[ID: me wearing a lite blue and gray striped t-shirt, pink helmet, pink mask with horses (again, by A/C Space)]

any who, cheers to parenthetical statements, they are the syntax of ~today~ LOL jk I know I know

also cheers to this very slushee project, which is now 2 years old - thanks for my oldest readers and my newer readers for slurping and scrolling past all this extra content. and to my future readers, welcome to the archive

if u’ve made it this far, plz hit the heart button and tell all ur friends how brilliant and UN-annoying these slushees are to receive, cause u know, idk, algorithms and garbage

xoxo benedict

xtra slush / links that typically have low click rates :(

plus content made by pals! can barely keep up with everything everyone’s putting out but glad it’s out there

some albums / EPs

but also

  • a bunch of dear artists sharing work with Estrogenius this wknd! Kim and Shi! Rebecca! Joya! Jasmine and Marion! etc.

  • my friend Sima’s tinyletter - here’s an out-of-context excerpt from a recent missive:

I noticed that folks new to the gesture had all their energy in and around the box, so that their backs and pelvises and thighs and feet were somewhat forgotten. This is what fixation does--it banishes the rest of the body.

***did I forget to include ur recent work ?! send it to me and I’ll include next time xo

plus, some things i’ve worked on

  • ceev @ BAAD on june 26 2020 - w/ work by Malcolm-x Betts and Ogemdi Ude + Stephanie George

  • Sonic Gathering XXII on sept 16 2020, performance with ME and dear Brandon Collwes and Alexandra Jacob plus John King, Gelsey Bell, Conrad Harris, Pauline Kim Harris, and Lester St. Louis, musicians. performing King's composition "hodos - sappho-carson," a "micro-opera" featuring the voice of Anne Carson reading Sappho fragments in Ancient Greek and her translations in English]

  • SAVE THE DATE ~ The Last Moon in Mellowland on nov 20 2020 at 6p EST, a film by Jordan Demetrius Lloyd w/ collaborators Breeanah Breeden, Ariana Speight, Tiffany Lloyd, + dramaturg/aforementioned pal Stephanie George and more TBA ;)

aug 25 2020 - just slippery

but how bad did ya miss me???

dear reader!

long time no see! can’t believe it’s been months!

i've missed you!

hope for my IRL fans, we can have some version of this conversation IRL sometime!

!!!!

but also, what a time to be with myself, be with fewer people than I once was, be on more calls than before, to be raging and grieving and figuring and dipping and feeling and v online and v offline and

ok I’m done, I have no more sentimentality

(yeah right, benedict, nice try)

[photo by me: selfie of me on a bent left leg with my hands in front of my chest/face, in a park at nighttime]

i’ve been thinking about how saying most things in public feels trite or perfunctory online and how

most things worth saying transmit thru the private channels

so I've been writing (like besides texting) to/for/with myself and the private pals mostly, without a very strong desire to engage in these public slushees, this additional medium of digital performance (but wait, aren’t I? don’t)

when I first started this little slushee babe experiment in 2018 (!!!), it was a way to escape the confines of the media publishing industrial complex, one that has taught me a lot but also circumscribed what/how I could write “publicly” for often very little (and sometimes 0 ugh gross) pay

here, I could self-indulgently write about 10 different things, bury the lede at the very fucking end (just wait, if this slushee has a lede, it’s next), wander away from a clear stance, return to the same tired point (burnout is terrible!!!) from a new angle, etc.

thanks for being present for these experiments, for writing to me when they said something to you, for telling me in person that i’m basic and/or ridiculous

like many things from the ~before times~, trying to recreate elements of this ethic feel contrived, redundant, naïve, etc. “lately”

(reassuring compliments are still welcome in the replies!)

[photo by me: selfie of me about to step on my right leg from my left, my arms splayed around me, looking to the right, in a park at night time]

so here’s a smol story

I had one of these caricaturish days lol - absurd pre-COVID, absurd mid-COVID, online or offline, yet totally familiar and still horrible to my body

some of the calls were absolutely delightful but the rhythm of this day…. c’mon now, “we” don’t do this anymore. except… as ~the autumn~ approaches, I can’t help but feel/worry/observe how the #freelanceflailing life will just be worse now, more foggy to navigate, more cutthroat competitive, except everyone’s fighting for ppl’z burnt out digital attention more than IRL togetherness

forgive the doomspeaking!

so structures of (self/community) care etc. and somehow, i’ve been finding a way to enjoy the zoom call with a pal or a nice human. never thought i’d loop into this dimension of the zoom circle considering how much i’ve hated zoom since my job got me on it in 2017 (yes ofc, i’ve always been ahead of the trend) but “resiliency” and things “evolving” and all that idk

within the rhythm, i’ve been dancing everyday in my small way, in my big room, in the big park since summer came and brought me outside again. this is divine

a couple wks ago, a pal invited me to send her what i’ve been doing and I was like, “oh yeah, I can record myself?!”

so I started trying to ‘document’ my little park jaunts and ditties*** and became immediately aware of losing the ease, the flow, the groove of just feeling myself in my own little body of mine.

this venture towards capturing my smol ephemera was often uncomfortable but not uninformative. before sending this pal the choicest most flattering and ~representative~ snippet of ~how i’m moving now~, I looked through half a dozen vids taken over a week. I seriously considered the ones where I got lost and wandered ~out of the frame~ for half the time before sending some 90 concise seconds that look like something legible

LOL

which is to say, shout out to the unintelligible, the formless, shapeless, the fleeting moments
not that my pal wouldn’t have received them just as openly, but my praxis is still in development,

shout out to these small photos embedded here. they were snapped this very evening from my petite excursion between calls number 7 and 8 (I know, I know, I didn’t have to count them but) where I left my apartment for the first time in 27 hours and found quiet time for myself and couldn’t resist documenting how my body looked moving under the nighttime street lamps because the pandemic has not cured my self-absorption or if I were being kinder to myself, ~these unprecedented times~ have made think about how to be my own witness to time rushing too fast, to my trying to grip onto something, anything when it’s all just slippery

maybe c u next month, maybe next _____,

benedict ⚡️

xtra slush mush

^^cc; aug 25 2020

  • ***this originally autocorrected to daddies. I—

  • last month, a neighbor introduced me to another neighbor, who said he had seen me dancing in our shared park when things were really dark for him in March and April (if he only knew) and it brought him joy. I—

  • happy first quarter moon in sagittarius and just saying shit idk

  • like some recent reading reccs: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi, In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

    send me urs!

  • & top quarantine performance I can’t wait for, week of 8-24-20, nobody @ me

  • after my last slushee on April 30 (!!), a reader sent the following video, which has idled in this draft since. but why is this still TRUE! someone set me up on a zoom date with an ARIES SUN or ARIES MERCURY so I can practice hanging up ABRUPTLY

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