Amanda [Ngoho] Reavey introduces not so, sea by Mg Roberts
(Durga Press, 2014)
The Art of Surrender
As immigrants from the Philippines, we know what it is to depart, “departure is the song i give to you,” and we know what it is to travel from one [non] space to another. However, what we do not know, or rather, what we underestimate, is what it takes to arrive.
not so, sea is a weaving of poetic, yet brief narratives, whitespace and questions. It is writing that pulls together fragments and traces memory through the inability to “recall details through what’s broken.” Mg Roberts traces the conflicting desires to go to the edge - to locate boundaries - to surrender - and to run - to disappear into the jungle.
What is a desire line? The line that is gazed upon, the horizon line, a parallel line, a possibility. That we can escape politics: of a nation and of an immigrant body. But in our desire to begin again, we never considered that something would always pull us back. That something or someone would always remind us. That there is an impossibility to arrival. Because in our attempts to cross the sea, our limbs scattered - fragmented - between continents. Our bodies “arrived, cut.” Our voices trailing behind in a liminal space, or left in the jungle with the birds. Split. And thus, we have forgotten where we have come from. Or perhaps, it is too difficult - painful - to speak of this time before: “Sounds retract from touch.”
Sound is vibration. Energy. As an energy worker - Reiki Master - I have noticed that this sound - this vibration - sometimes gets stuck in the energy channel at the center of the spine - the sushumna nadi - a silver cord. I am also a watercolor artist. To paint in watercolor means to be bold in the movement - the narrative - of the brushstroke - locate the boundaries of the page, letting the colors drip - run - wherever they need to. Let the energy - the colors - the vibrations - the sound - rise and release.
not so, sea works similarly. Recalling fragments of memories in brief narratives. A little bit at a time, the light streams in through the top of the crown, down the sushumna nadi and out the soles of the feet. To ground the body. And then it travels up again. To connect the fragments. Thus, the text becomes an art in finding a balance between locating the edge and running from it, because it is the release of this sound that allows us - the immigrant bodies - to continue. And ultimately, to heal. What is this sound? Is it grief? Mg writes, “I imagine history submerged in my throat.”
In truth, oscillating between surrender and running need not conflict with one another. not so, sea is a journey in the healing art of letting go.
Amanda [Ngoho] Reavey is a Reiki Master, Visual Artist, and Poet.