Issue #105 of wishing and superheroes

of wishing and superheroes

Okwui Okpokwasili

Issue #105
December 2019

They say there was a time when love was blind
I say that time there never was

That who are they
they are no more
to the victor go the spoils

And the most lying li..(n)
Of history
It was always beautiful
Unlike the terrible now

But I say
if then was
As they say it was
How could Now go so astray

So if then was now
and now was then
I say both times twice
Left at least a few somebodies bent back
Over besides

Bent back far enough
And fit to break

I say back then
There was a rending
A mining
A ruining

Just like
Just like
this time

Maybe now sitting in front of the screen
And behind the screen
All at the same time

Creates a friction
A fiction
A feeling of multiples
to make you wretch fetch
Catch a bleary eye
Numb sucked soul sucked
Un-mirrored time

You think you can spin the world
Soar up in the sky
You could be flying
Flying blind

Around the whole
Whole round world

Maybe you can take my hand

I will go with you
I will go with you

I will fly I will dive
Head over heals

Into the pool
That is empty
You and me

We will have no feet
We will fly
Round and round
Our bodies shape the air like
clay in our hands

I say can we make this time
that time now
We must make it
the time
To put aside
the lying
We been doing
we been doing
It is time
to put aside
the lying
the lying
we been doing

we got to remember
we got to
say what we can
about the true

we can
you can
in my hands
together we will
we will
we will remember
all that time
and we will say it was not fine
and now
we will make it so
we will make it so
we will make it

If I stay asleep
If I count some sheep
If I sink in too deep
Won’t I miss the sunlight break
Who will hold me now
As I swing in this bower
Isn’t this a late hour
I don’t have no cares to shake
But I….


Performed on the occasion of “The Hugo Boss Prize 2018: Simone Leigh, Loophole of Retreat,” April 27, Peter B. Lewis Theater, Guggenheim Museum.

Return to Issue #105

Okwui Okpokwasili is a performer, choreographer, and writer creating multidisciplinary performance pieces that center the African and African American woman in divining vocabularies to explore the unruly interiority of the human condition. As the child of immigrants from Nigeria, born and raised in the Bronx, the reconstitution of memory and the slippery terrain of identity as a particular condition of the African diaspora features prominently in much of Okpokwasili’s work. Her productions are highly experimental in form, bringing together elements of dance, theater, and the visual arts (with spare and distinctive sets designed by her husband and director/collaborator, Peter Born). She was named a 2018 MacArthur Fellow.


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