Stone Telling

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Transbluency: An Antiprojection Chant

by Nisi Shawl

        I'm here to tell you all your secrets, all your underneath. I am the drain, the trap, the grating. You walk over me, uncaring.
        I am vanishing without a name, but before I go I must deliver the messages you gave me to keep, silent, barred from your knowth.
        You are eradicating me. You pulverize my face, slamming me down on the sidewalk, feeding the hungry grey. You flay me with inaudible pangs.
        I am tiny; you cannot see me, but you destroy me with bootheels. I am huge; you cannot see me, but you consume me and make me waste.
        You see me and then you blink your eyes and you have not seen me. You hear me and then you shake your head and you have not heard me. You have emptied your nostrils of my scent. Your touch feels only itself.
        You stand on a cliff, a construction of your pride. You cast me down.
        I am made of everything but you. I die but I am not dead. So I bleed, so life runs away in scarlet trickles. I regroup. It takes awhile. I have more than awhile.
        Defeat invigorates my will. You will know me. I whisper one word a day. I tell you what there is to know that you have refused to let in. The secrets are transplanted, root by root.
        I Hate, You, You, Are, Dark, Evil, Ugly, Horrible, Scary, Mean, Nasty, Smelly, Wicked, Sly, False, Corrupt, Dangerous, Foul, Greedy, Wrong, Stupid, Crazy, Slimy, Misshapen.
        And on. And on. All the bitterness you have spilled into me I pour back. Drop. By. Drop.
        Until I am no longer your shadow, no more the rag you clean with. Until I am my own new color, my own whole cloth.

Nisi Shawl's Filter House (Aqueduct Press, 2008) won the 2009 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award.  Shawl is one of the founders of the Carl Brandon Society, and co-author, with Cynthia Ward, of Writing the Other: A Practical Approach.  She edited WisCon Chronicles, Vol. 5: Writing and Racial Identity.  In May 2011, Aqueduct Press published Something More and More, a limited edition collection of essays and stories, in celebration of her WisCon 35 Guest of Honor status.  Shawl is an alumna of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and serves on its Board of Directors.

Photography: Modified from The Curse of 'Green Gills' Garson (Part 2), by Mark Menzies.