Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 4



A Nice Place to Visit

Fallen Matthews

About 35 miles from the heart of Inverness runs an emerald waterfall that is crested by a jagged mountain range. The coarse mountaintops make me think of a hand. They incline me to muse that money is merely a knuckle of the unseen hand that presses our pursuits. There are other forms of capital—social, body, kinship—which embody the clenched fist. Life is a ray of light whose photons, minutiae, coalesce. This is what comes to mind when I remember my visit to Gypsum Mine Lake: a point in time which will always serve as a point of reference.

I also remember how people find me cynical or too pensive, urging me to treasure the moment instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. There is a parable to this adage: hegemonic maxims become Faustian as the acquiesce and anguish of marginalized positionalities ensures their continuation. Knowledge ceases to be power when wounds are the means for which we discover. Moreover, in the absence of reinforcement, knowledge lacks meaning. Things like conscience and principle gauge inward but seldom carry to the world outside. I think this is because people are keener to consider the consequences of their actions rather than the causes. In particular, BIPOC see this when administrators continue to commission ‘studies’ to [re]identify which variables augment the adversities of particular groups, then ultimately decide against implementing recommendations—only to commission another report when their initial one ages out of focus. We also see this in our assumption of labour to educate, attempt reform or amends. We even see this amongst our own peoples as “All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk” attests to the pallid, anti-Black amata-cis-heteronormative harms they perpetuate, even to their own detriment. They are our weakest links: inhospitable to the seeds we toil to nurture, likely to sell us all out on a whim and raze our best efforts in self-loathing or in a bid to beseech our oppressors.

I also see this in my desire for vengeance, extrapolating guilt and blame—except when it comes to punishment, there is no execution. There is rage I hesitate to unleash or revisit. To acknowledge or enact this would contend that my awareness of good and bad, right and wrong, have given out. My circle taught me that revenge is itself an indictment because it calls for the same, if not worse transgressions to be wrought upon malefactors.

Which still appeals to me.

I often envision the lot of them, cowering, pleading, apologizing until their gazes become vacant like mine upon the realization that all is—and always will be—lost; until the very idea of relief vanishes as my wrath and its interminable mechanisms render them unrecognizable.

Then, I remember that life is bound to stretch on; that unlike them, I may flourish with my own sense of purpose and place, while they toil and wilt to no avail. They are piranhas starving for the lot, insatiable, bound to bite off more than they can chew. They have no legs to stand on. Their nationality is their only cudgel. They are a mess, an intangible mass that is operant on disparities. Only in belligerence and enmity are they evenly matched. I also recall the nervous wreck who reaffirmed that ‘allies’ were ‘all lies’ given his predilection to not only enable, but hasten said disparities at the behest of the model minorities whom would go on to monopolize power. I know he too will invariably wither, craven despite the affluence he is afforded and oblivious to the fact that I manned the social media and correspondence of his confidante: the timorous dolt who gnaws to draw blood from his cuticles. And, none of them will cultivate the profound friendships I have and will continue to—because they cannot fathom the sheer care, resolve, or mutuality which their ignoble values can never codify. Moreover, it is through those very friendships which I emerged from their contemptible clutches.

While a small part of me harbours rage, the greater part resembles what stones mottle the sand. Somewhat smooth, hard, resolved; inevitably chafed by the elements. The mountains are more like my elders and ancestors. If I am to someday join them, I must not destroy but distend. And humble myself, whether I find meaning or justice in this life.



Fallen Matthews: "My name is Fallen (think 'Allen' with an 'F' in front) Matthews. I'm an Afro-L'nu IDPhD student at Dalhousie University. My areas of concentration are film studies, psychoanalytic theory, and history in addition to feminist studies [namely theories and methodologies within content, discourse analysis]."




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