etymologies of water

Ica Sadagat


As if to say that I can know it all. My bones are liquid with ghosts at sea. As if to say to mourn is to re-memory. Before one remembers, one forgets. Recalling you has been nothing but a re-death.

  1. There were rivers: a typically freshwater watercourse that runs towards an ocean a lake a sea another river but sometimes into the ground with an allegedly natural flow
  2. There were islands: in Tagalog mythology, the story goes something like this: there were only the sea and the sky and a weary grand bird who wanted to rest their wings so the bird brought the sea to the sky to which the sky pleaded “tama na!” dropping boulders that formed islands onto the sea on which the bird formed beds out of nests finally leaving the sky and the sea at peace
    1. Archipelagos are bodies of islands in close proximity.
    2. The Philippines is made up of 7,000+ islands, but what makes The Philippines?
    3. My families are from the north and the south and it shows.
    4. And I often contemplate the implications of their gathering.
  3. This line from Leviticus: The life of the flesh is in the blood: which they say (blood) is thicker than water which is an odd belief when blood, too, is water since that fluid is 55% plasma and plasma is 92% H2O and by my calculations these things (blood & water) are kin so when we bleed we still pour and what is secretion but an exodus of something that was once secret?
  4. To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets
  5. And your Cupid’s bow: the curves of your upper lip resemble the god’s instrument of erotic love and reacts as a somatosensory organ with its many nerve endings and arrows directed at me
    1. while we were (midair)
    2. and you were (suspended)
    3. but I’m still (suspended)
    4. while you’re still (midair)

Let’s continue with a beginning: a water molecule forms when two hydrogen atoms covalently bond with one oxygen atom as both hydrogens settle on the same end of oxygen looking something like this:

H                H
\          /

Here and there and wherever water exists, the shape of these bonds are like our fingers entangled in the rapture of us only tethered to and separated by the same oxygen we breathe and must also live in between us or else there is no bond to hold it all together because in being held we learned how to hold and holding is no trifling matter.

\Because/ the opposite of water (is not fire: water is an entity, fire is an event. The right amount of water extinguishes fire because it eliminates heat quicker than fire produces it. Unless it is an electrical fire because water conducts electricity and isn’t that funny how water can carry the spark and kill it, too?

The opposite of water) is a drought.

To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets

Skin cells die every two to three weeks, and if you touched me again, my body would lose you in a month, but if it wanted to memorize you, what next? A tingle, a tinge. No, a pinch. Yes, in resurrecting the dead, the present is a mend between past and future, but aren’t stitches a kind of re-injury and therefore a revision? My chest ached one evening last winter, sharp pangs from a break up. My friend asked where. I said “cardio chambers, at the front.” She said “chakra sutures, that’s what those are.”

My favorite way to sharpen a blade is with a whetstone wet with water. It is essential that the whetstone is wet with water because if it is not wet enough, the blade will never get whet. In fact it will ding.

On our first weekend, I sliced your tongue and to no surprise you liked it. I’m certain your saliva still lives somewhere inside of me, made a ditch into a stream a stream into a rapid a rapid into swords and given the chance, I’d slice you again.

To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets

That Tuesday before The Thursday you sent me a song by Hiatus Kaiyote that made me dance like a star in a parking lot at midnight. I don’t even know how to pirouette but I flew flying to “The Lung.”

So I laughed to myself when you asked me on our last Wednesday to explain my asthma to you to which I answered with an answer on how we breathe      like    this       and why sometimes I breathe likethis

and the waves know/ the ocean knows/ the river holds/ what the sea will unfold/ Toni Morrison said, “All water has perfect memory and is trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that. Like water, I remember where I was before I was straightened out.” But I can’t remember where I was before I was bent but I try like Angela Bofill and hold my laptop like a keytar because what am I making but syntactic waves and synths.

To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets

My body is an archipelago, and you a seafarer.
My body is an archipelago, and you a bird making nests out of me.

When our mouths first touched, I slid inside your leather jacket and felt the softness of your shirt on my palms while the warmth of your jacket heated my knuckles. Our teeth confronted each other but it wasn’t a sign of poor talent. It was a sign of need. I pulled you in. 

You pulled me in, too.

As Kalu wrote, “Bumaba man ang alon, tuloy pa rin ang paghampas niya sa lupa.”

To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets

I re-read “Criticism is Not Static” by my friend, Jessica Lynne, which is making me consider revision as the location of (our) intimacy. If we take her words and replace them with another, what then are our thoughts on these haptics? “A [touch] that—like a river—carries forth the record of their grace. [Tenderness] that dares. [Contact] that seeks accountability. Where does such [intimacy] live, and how is it sustained in a moment of extreme economic precarity for those who call themselves [lovers]?”

As Kalu wrote, “Even as they ebb, the waves still touch the shore.” And even as they flow, the waves still retreat. Sa dagat. Sa dagat. Sadagat. Even when you say my name it’s as if you say You are away. When I am right here. As an island beside your island. As water swimming through your sea.

Even as rivers flow, they bend through soft soil moving with time and grounded suggestion. So now, the curves of your lips suggest what cannot be said. I adored them together. And I desire them apart.

To mourn is to re-memory/ before one remembers, one forgets


Visual Art: Myles Loftin, Chella at his apartment (2018).