i write therefore i write.
SPOTLIGHT: WEYNI MENGESHA
an artist feature on weyni mengesha.
“People want authenticity, that’s what they want. Yeah, you can try to fit yourself into their mould, but then— they want to grow too. And that’s been my thing, my fight— to stay true to myself. Audiences respond when I stay true to myself, not when I compromise.”
photo by dahlia katz
I FIND AGE A LAZY MEASUREMENT.
an audio essay for CBC Radio's Out In The Open.
when i woke up the sky was already blue with a wide stroke of peach and i held it with my eyes hoping it would be enough to hush the crowded lobby in my head. i fell back asleep, so to speak, and when i woke the sky was already grey and i imagined a summer that had traces of you.
i am writing this with my hand and my mind is in his apartment instructing my mouth to tell him things about myself because i just want to try because i just think we should because it felt like escape and made the world disappear as he played his guitar and i became thirteen again.
i was in the back seat of the car, looking out the window, deciding that mustard fields were unnaturally yellow. i didn’t even like mustard at that point, and had only seen the hot dog kind, which was, come to think of it, also unnaturally yellow. clearly, something was wrong with mustard.
my friend was driving and singing along to a song that was playing out on a mix cd called roadtrippinballs. her window was down and single stands of dark blonde hair floated into my personal back seat area. i immediately looked for split ends. i found none.
i’ve never liked the term 'shotgun' for the seat in the car that also happens to be the most dangerous. i think it’s an unlucky omen to attach to a very risque position and i also believe that naming is claiming and rhyming is timing.
the joint was finally passed my way. the end was wet and i thought about how grossed out my mother would be if she knew that i was putting something this wet in my mouth. but i was teenager committed to rebelling. i inhaled deeply and held my breath. my brain started to float and a feeling of quiet success crept within my skins.
i’ve never really done anything that bad. yet. i haven’t really done anything that bad yet, but i will, i just haven’t decided exactly what right now and i don’t want to waste it on a whole bunch of little things. i just want to do one very bad thing. or two. but maybe just one. something memorable. something that sets into motion a wave of satisfaction that will ripple through me for at least the next ten years after which i’ll have to do something bad again to rejuvenate the feeling but at least i’d be familiar with it and got to spend some time feeling satisfied.
i exhaled and immediately felt like sleeping. the sky was large and blue. there was a pool of water at the end of the road that was definitely a set up. probably pigs, i thought in a voice that sounded like the bottom of the ocean. oh wait - it’s a mirage, i thought in my regular voice. i always forget about those probably because i don’t understand them.
a red car drove past us. there was a man driving, maybe in his forties. it looked like his wife was beside him. it looked like they hadn’t spoken in years.
highway1 by bahia watson © 2014