ronaldo v. wilson


        Virgil explains to Stream that he feels he’s 75% in his own imagination, but doesn’t know how he arrived at that figure. It’s not that he’s always floating in his own circumstance, or unaware, detached from the blacks being stabbed on sight, or the need for some writers to monger towards a prized life, or Virgil’s walking in the thick wet grass under his feet.

        But the 25% of the other time he’s doing dishes, or reading the news, or sometimes essays, or poetry, scanning for what to place in his wheelhouse, could be a figurine in the island for the misfit toys, or whatever strikes his whims as he sorts his teas for when he’ll settle into what he calls “the prosaics,” which isn’t a novel-in-verse, but a form that is connected to the act of making in myriad angles, in masks and dance, some forms of his escape.

        Originally, Virgil wanted to layer this feeling into something more dense, an actual novel that he broke apart into prose poems, the pieces unmoored into a form more succinct than he could now imagine, but as D-Second still sits a bit on his shoulder: just be guided by your music. So too, the compunction of the dance, which is another form or the self gets enacted—no, I am not a site of labor—but still, Virgil helped lift a table to position a projector to screen images in a school where he didn’t get the position. No worries—they hired a letch, someone who really needed to soil their institution. Bitter, still, is Virgil, but now he smells chlorine whenever he wants!

        Clearly, the institution is not Virgil’s world. It is his playground. Virgil learned everything that he needed to learn playing kickball, or wallball, games that gave him a sense of how he would come to know—in daycare—played so much that his head hurt, took naps at a job, plugged the kids in, made macaroni necklaces, and looked across the asphalt into his future.

        At the start of the swim, Virgil feels not in sync with the lane lines or the black thick line at the bottom of the pool. That is, if he has his own lane. Without sharing, parts of his body cut into the water, parts do not, but the water does not give way to his bod until about 40 minutes in, when Virgil’s body eases, stretches along the surface of the pool, just above, aiming across the water, his fingers uncurling underneath.

        Move into the inner music, the wait-on-hold music that echoes in the bathroom, cell on speaker, the re-steeped tea, the form and surface of work that is not on hold, but work that has to be let open and moved, independent gutting of the self into the self: a night crawler that opens its rake-claw mouth over the hook, gorging the tip down its gut, every pull in, every inch close to death—does it feel a thing?

        In the pool he thought about scale, and source, how he won’t be trapped by anyone that attempts to stop his momentum. He thinks of one argument he could present:
Look, I teach. And I ask students to come up with informed assertions of what they think about after any given reading. If the person has only one source to support that reading, then what is “credible” is simply that single argument.
Virgil is thinking of SingedheadBear when he thinks this, and Virgil is also thinking of the LI Aryan boys that he recalls from his first encounter with them, and how he sees them a second time—the one who said, I like Trump, as if this were what Virgil was asking when he posed Nuclear Fallout as our pugilistic party gone wild.

        Put up your dukes!—The problem is broader, he thinks, and because of this, Virgil escapes into his own stroke. The push of his arms through the water, extending and stretching into the future, if only the future of a single night in the late-night pool could be the equivalent of the last five minutes of his swim, where he is not pushing but elongating, and twisting his body into a shape that could propel him, svelte.

        Against Virgil’s elongation into what he sees as a mode between freestyle and collage, against the deep quiet that he searches for is “the prosaics”—these, he realizes, are various forms he holds in his art, a prescription towards forms of entertainment.

        Does Virgil really think this? Yes. Does the art need to be broken down? No. Will Virgil be stabbed? Maybe. But to be the greatest, it may mean, swimming as gliding, and gliding, as flying. Virgil thinks of APOG Conceptual, a diviner between prose and poetry, between art and philosophy, who reminds him that the space of dreams and analysis are tied in these acts.

        Is escape a place of freedom? What does it mean to embody escape as a formal mode, to get away, to move from under the weight of captivity? These are the central questions that have guided his work, which was not built upon simply expectations of brilliance. Virgil has a real PhD, not something that he takes into his quiet, something that sits outside of his work. QueenM was right to call it an “Invisible Scaffold,” but what will you do with it? It is doing me, Virgil thinks.

        Virgil, who moves through many forms, is not content with the conviction that comes with expectations of form as trap, or test. This is the aptitude that serves Virgil, the form of that project into a yet unknown, the future, a way of thinking, and perhaps this is what he wants, the dissertation as mode, not project, but meditation. Like dancers that latch onto a form—perhaps the dissertation is a fire, or a dress, or a mode through which to move into the silence of the restraint, a form, is all it is.

        He sends Butch an email that reads: Watch this, instead of reading the New York Times. The link opens to a man born with a condition that has warped his entire body so that he looks like an inverted seahorse, one seemingly bred in a box, turned inside out, reminding Virgil of the black pills, “snakes” set ablaze on the 4th of July, how the chemical sparks, flames shoot to form the black circle left behind where the animal curled and burned away into ash.

        Instead of the 24 hours of life the doctors promised him, Invert-Seahorse-Backwards-to-Burnt-Black-Sidewalk-Head has lived for 37 years, and in it, from Virgil’s perspective, he lives it as a fold, his head bent into a permanent arc. His wide eyes look backwards and he walks forward on nubs for legs with hair.

        Invert-Seahorse Backwards-To-Burnt-Black-Sidewalk-Head is unlike the 27-year-old man who has not yet hit puberty. Red-Lex-Boy-Face-Tall-and-White confesses to the documenter that he has an underdeveloped penis, and underdeveloped balls. The doctor agrees, and tells him that he must, in fact, get on hormones sometime soon, just before the 1:35 mark.

        Virgil, who has an aversion to the term “project,” decides to imagine one that asks all of his senses to retreat to the back of his untrained eyes, to coalesce around a single stance, the activity of research. This is the song of the under-theorized. This will be Virgil’s claim. It starts with the edge of something, a piece of plastic that settles into a wall, a wall that’s been enacted between two places where Virgil will always remain, art and theory.

        Virgil in his bed, alive, is watching a sequence: One, a big black boy on a skateboard is demonstrating an ollie. He sounds like a bird in his description of the trick, how to slide one foot forward, and planting the other one. The houses are large behind him. All Virgil wants is for Little Big Ollie to fall, or he knows that he will be satisfied at the fall, and, of course, he does. The board escapes down the street, and the fatty rolls in the driveway. The houses disappear, and all the recorder sees is his body writhing on the ground, and add to this: Little Big Ollie’s moaning, and his screams.

        Somewhere in China, there is a boy who has grown up into a man in a poor village. At first, there were bumps behind his ears. The bumps spread and grew, so his face now looks like he has two triple-E breasts attached, one being his nose, and somewhere there is an eye, which he uses to read.

        Are these searches what Virgil has trained so much of his life for?—Examples that point to a method? Is this Virgil’s own flying? Virgil remembers a story of a crazed neighbor who broke into the house of some elderly neighbors, and made it into their bedroom. Once he made it inside the bedroom, he began to hammer their heads.

        You see, Virgil thinks, the surprise is in how the facts of the memory are embedded in the body, waiting to unleash themselves, as if to be drawn towards violence helps to locate the logic of violence, to live in its constant refrain. This is, after all, a way out of the form and into a future, and a present.