After the vigil, 86th Street and East End Avenue

We gathered around the mayor’s mansion and sat in the street for thirty minutes of quiet. The silence was stunning. It had presence and weight that nearly muted the birds and the steady beat of three choppers in the sky. A different world felt very possible with hundreds of strangers sitting on the asphalt in silence, all of these bodies driven by a shared impulse, both disciplined and limbic.

I closed my eyes and contemplated the convulsions and pain of the past week. For a moment, I thought I understood the compassionate silence described by spiritualized leaders.

Then a small thing occurred, a minor incursion in the scheme of bloodshed and berserk police, but I think it’s worth noting as a sign of our times. The silent vigil was interrupted by the dial-tone drone of an emergency alert that radiated from our telephones. We opened our eyes and riffled through our pockets, fumbling for the mute button and shaking our heads at the message on our screens: Emergency Alert. Citywide curfew in effect at 8pm. No traffic allowed in Manhattan south of 96th Street.

The timing felt like a taunt: freedom colliding with authority, the spiritual scraping against the technological.


Drexciya – Take Your Mind

The Unknown Aquazone | Submerge, 1994 | Bandcamp

Revisiting Drexciya this week, and I’ve come across some academic papers about their elaborate mythology—there’s one about Drexciya’s “sonic third space”, and another called Inside ‘Neptune’s Lair’: Drexciya, Dystopia and Afrofuturism.

Each night in 2020, I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these days into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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