OBU loves words. OBU loves short words, like “bird” and like “sky.” OBU looks to the things themselves for confirmation they still exist, the “bird” in the “sky” over the “mountain,” with or without “clouds.”
OBU loves words, but finds it easier to lose the “bird” than to flush out the “shithole.” OBU wants to sit with the most beautiful words, suck on them like smooth stones, taste the salt left by sea water, hear the “waves,” see the “surf.” OBU finds this akin to “love.”
But OBU cannot forget the conjoined words “shit” and “hole.” OBU picks up her dog’s shit, and doesn’t mind. She puts that shit in the dumpster’s maw. She doesn’t mind.
But the word “shithole” hurts. She cannot get it out of her head, her chest, or off her fingers. It sticks as much as stinks. It’s crazy glue but it doesn’t pull our torn skin together.
OBU argues with her kids about who makes the house more a shithole than the other. It’s a lame effort at humor, because some of us are white and some of us are brown. Some are Norway to others’ shitholes.
OBU wants to put “shithole” in a container. Like one of those containers that keeps radioactive materials off our roads, out of our water. OBU wants to wash these words with pure water, to pull them out of their ponds and let them dry in the sun. OBU wants clean words, as Williams said of Moore’s lexicon.
But OBU feels the urge to censor, to destroy, to burn the word, to diminish the language in order to save it. OBU has the torch and the word comes with straw attached, as so much attaches to shit.
OBU wonders how to have the word and let it rest. There’s a rest in music, and there are commas in the sentence. But is there rest in our politics? It’s a shitstorm, after all, though “shit” seems less toxic in that word than in “shithole.”
OBU can find no rest except in taking exception, moving to the rain forest and turning off the Wifi. OBU wants that rest, but feels traitorous for considering it. OBU wants to hear the news without falling in its shithole. Shithold.
The forest of words hides our trauma until it explodes. There are landmines in our language, and we lose arms and legs (as our leader points out in another context). We lose the limbs of our sentences. We bleed particles, but nothing adds up to walking or breathing or bird or sky.
OBU wants her language back. This is not nostalgia or the vatic hope for beauty and lollygagging lambs on the lawn. This is politics and it is spirit. OBU wants a spiritual politics, one that’s angry but knows to forgive.
How long until OBU can forgive?