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I Feel Precarious

I Feel Precarious



I’m a lowkey multiverse nerd. I spend a lot of time imagining what other Sades in alternate realities are up to. I love to drive. I love just getting in the car and cranking the music up to near obnoxious levels and whipping along the river shoutsinging like tomorrow doesn’t matter.

In another reality Sade became the first black lesbian Nascar champion. She has the first all femme queer pit crew. She loves the speed. She can’t lose. She skydives, she climbs mountains, she scuba dives. She’s petite and reticent, says “yup” and “mmhmm” a lot in conversations. After receiving an honorary doctorate in mechanical engineering from her hometown’s HBCU and exasperated with the blatant racism of Nascar she decides to take all her money and move to Germany because she’s always wanted to drive the Autobahn. She falls in love with a gurl there, a graphic designer and they start the first energy efficient drag race car line for Volkswagen. Her favorite song to belt out in the car is Dolly Parton’s “I will always love you”, but only because she can’t match Whitney’s vocals. Second favorite is anything by Patsy Cline. She lives to be 101 and dies when she gets stung by a bee. 

In yet another reality Sade is an asexual transman. He runs away from home and gets a GED, along with the certification to become a truck driver. When he isn’t on the road, he’s in Canada combing local bookstores for books on tape and language cassettes he hasn’t heard yet. He’s taught himself Spanish, German, French and really wants to learn Japanese and Korean but he’s intimidated. He has ten of his favorite poems memorized and they are all by Maya Angelou. He’s had top surgery. He’s six feet, fat/sturdy, bearded. He boxes at a gym that a fellow trucker owns in Toronto. Rides his motorcycle to the farmers market. Dreams of saving enough money to buy his own farm. Is a strange mash up of a nomad and a hermit. Very sober person, thinks that you can cure any ailment with the right cup of tea. Gets a tattoo at the completion of every long distance drive and a tarot reading whenever he’s in the Bay Area. Has been in every state, except Hawaii and has a map with pins marking every US city he’s driven through. His favorite song to belt out is Sam Cooke’s “A change is gonna come”. Second favorite is anything by The Temptations. He dies at 79 when he has an aneurysm while horseback riding on his farm.

* * *

I used to think about death a lot. From preteen to early 20’s I ruminated over suicide, what would happen if I was able to kill myself, was I going to go straight to hell if there was an afterlife and if there wasn’t an afterlife I yearned for that saccharine void. Emptiness. Quiet. Nothing. Not having to hear myself think. Not thinking at all. After my last suicide attempt I made a commitment to myself to stay alive and try to figure out a way to create the life I wanted for myself. So far it’s been going well, well enough that I am no longer simply resigned to living. I do not want to die. I’m not ready.

Tyler and I get so stoned and we imagine what happens when you die. This becomes my belief of the afterlife, a new understanding of death. When you die, every particle of energy in your body disperses, finds its way to the nearest and most appropriate star. You end as all life began. Your ending is really a middle. Your ghost hurtles through space. You are light. You have a consciousness you can’t even begin to imagine. You harbor mystery and mysticism. You grant wishes and align destinies. Baby you’re a star. Of course in this imagining Tyler and I are assuming a natural death, bereft of violence. A death following a fully fleshed out life, where you reached the zenith of happiness and accomplishment on your own terms. Death as an expected conclusion.

I’m always anxious about being pulled over by the cops. I imagine it frequently and I know that I am rent, wrecked over Sandra Bland because what I’m watching is my worst fear happening to someone else, but someone who could be me. I consciously realize that nothing, not my accomplishments, talents, personhood, experiences, nothing keeps me from the inevitable violence of white supremacy. Every second that I am bold enough not to agree with white people wholeheartedly, the minute I perhaps want to challenge their questionable actions I can be rewritten as crazy, emotionally unstable, melodramatic, angry, obtuse, harsh, insensitive, scary, violent, ungrateful, threatening, sick, rude, unapproachable.

* * *

I can’t get Raul Zurita out of my head. I remember Daniel Borzutzksy quoting an interview between them at AWP. “The apocalypse is not when the world ends, it’s when one single person is killed, when one person is tortured, in reality it’s the entire universe that becomes deformed.” The truth of that ricochets in my rib cage. I feel so precarious. I talk to Tyler. Native Americans, black women and children, black men, Latin@s, trans folk, the homeless, those afflicted with mental illness. Shot by the police. Shot by the police. Shot by the police. Shot and killed by the police. “Discovered dead” in police custody. I say I’m tired. He worries, he knows me. I just don’t want to die before I get to do all the things I want to do. I want my life to be more than surviving encounters with white supremacy. I was catching up with my friend Shaun and he made an offhanded comment about not caring how he dies. I care so much about how I die and I’ll be damned if I die at the reckless hands of some piece of shit wannabe authority figure drunk on playing out the great American wet dream of putting niggers in their place.

In another reality Sade graduates from Pratt and then spends a couple of years abroad. They come back to the states and settles into producing high end silk paintings for home decor. Sheets and curtains and wall hangings for rich New York bitches with seven nannies. But that’s only during autumn and winter. Spring and summer is spent writing and traveling to visit friends. Eventually someone is foolish enough to offer them a tenure track position. They take it but hate it so they quit after a few years. They decide to start their own art meets permaculture meets activism school and wins a MacArthur Genius Grant to do so. They live to be 90. They die laughing.

This week’s Lonely Britchlist

  • The weekend before last I went to see Magic Mike XXL with Chris Holdaway. And it was as amazing as it sounds. I don’t think there was anyone better to see that movie with.
  • Nichole and I tried the new pizza joint in town and it was really good. Then we ended up watching the most odd anime I have watched to date, Meganebu! Which is basically about this club of guys who wear glasses and want to engineer a pair of x-ray glasses so that they can see under girls clothes. While we watched we did some water color with the Art Nouveau Fashion coloring book I got. I’m making all the women in the pictures black and brown.
  • Last Thursday Rhea gave me a tarot reading. It was incredible. So much resonance and so much witchy goodness. I keep that reading close to my heart. I really needed it. (If you’re in the Bay Area I suggest looking her up)
  • Monday I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Vi Khi Nao. I hung out with her and Kyle at Twyckenhouse and just sat and talked for a while. It was awesome to meet her and I hope our paths cross again.
  • Grace Shuyi Liew interviews Ginger Ko.
  • A couple of Fridays ago I watched the entire second season of BoJack Horseman.
  • This article on asexuality.
  • Diamond Sharp wrote in to the Dead Letter Office at The Offing.
  • This video. And then this video.

Tata for now my lonely britches. Eunsong this is for you, Joyelle this is for you, Chris this is for you.


Sade Murphy
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About The Author

Sade Murphy

Sade Murphy was born and raised in Houston, TX. She is the author of "Dream Machine," a poetry collection.

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