At circle time on Thursday, Lorenzo declared that when he makes smores for Julian (which I wasn’t aware that he’d ever done) he makes them with bricks, sticks and snow. He has become an anoriginal king of comedy. When everybody stopped laughing all the other jokes started flying around. “Have you ever seen a Bethany eat another Bethany? Have you ever seen a Christopher eat a dishtopher?” The circle broke up into a whole bunch of fiery, delectable shapes driven further out by chocolate milk. Orchard Hill School became the river of rivers in North Carolina (centrifugal curriculum, vigor, local abstraction). Then it was time for me to go to the other school and time for them to go to the sleds. I wish my class were the other school. That’s what I’m trying for. But I have been lecturing my ass off, driven by the holy ghost that Philip is giving away. The only way I’m gonna be able to shut up is to go to Chicago. But I hadn’t gone yet last week so my poor students had to bear with me, sitting around the table, while I repeated myself again, hoping that it was in a different way and hoping that the difference mattered. Then I said, in desparation, that the thing about this class is that I just want to be in a band, preferably this band, pointing to the speakers listening to that first modification of the one that causes Baraka to use atom bomb and switchblade in the same phrase, Miles and them in ‘60, in Stockholm, but with Wynton Kelly instead of Red Garland and Jimmy Cobb instead of Philly Joe. There’s a sped-up deepening of “All Blues” that was only gonna get faster and more lowdown over the next handful of years until the machines came to blow everything up and from there we went to “The Buzzad Song,” with Gil Evans’ horns chasing him into the room with the moving walls. Abram said, “Well, he’s just so cool that he can play his way out of any situation.” Maybe if we just learn how to enunciate these poems, how to read them aloud together, how to arrange ourselves, we can play our way out of the depths, like they do in the old school, like they do at Orchard Hill School.

Dear John,

I'm I haven't read The World Republic of Letters but it's somewhere on my shelf. I'l get it down now that I know you're checking it out. I'm wary of republicanism, tholugh I know she's being descriptive more than prescriptive. My preference is for the disloyal apposition and I'm eager, now, to see what she might have to say about that.

Originally Published: February 6th, 2010

Fred Moten lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the University of California, Riverside. He is author of Arkansas (Pressed Wafer); In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition (University of Minnesota Press); I ran from it but was still in it. (Cusp Books); Hughson’s Tavern (Leon Works); B Jenkins (Duke...

  1. February 8, 2010
     Peter Greene

    Sticks and bricks can never be enough for the blues. One looks for a stone, and some words.\r