That even coasting can be interrupted, this time by a bureaucratic set of words spoken over the phone. “Funeral arrangements are being made.” Cremation. Lang’ata Cemetery. I ask a close friend whether, after all these years, there is still room for burial at Lang’ata. He reminds me that there is always space for the wealthy (perhaps, as Kenyans say, “money has been poured” and this money has created room in a space where there was none, almost magically). I have been reflecting on my sister’s words (“funeral arrangements are being made”) to feel around for the ease with which her bureaucratic phrase coheres with the real grief in her tonal delivery. And this for a relative who was an afterthought. But grief often precedes and supersedes mourning, which is why grief is real even when the mourning is not.
I realize, now, that I am trying to explain to my mother, who lives in Kenya, that the United States has become unlivable for me. And perhaps it has always been unlivable—that last straw goes unnoticed because the camel’s back is often useless long before it, even as useless is not the same thing as overused. If I had once felt the need to live a life that does not present itself as inevitable, now I wonder what it is to live a life in which my parents’ dreams for me are no longer urgent (I blame John for this!). As with everything, I have come to this way too late. I owe Ezra Pound my sense of timeliness versus lateness, and for the notion that this botched civilization continues to stymie my life.
When did “adventuring” become a verb? When did it become code for white bodies exploring “the outdoors” in ways that not only reproduce the frontier but also act as an alibi for ongoing colonization? When did “the outdoors” become uncontested space for putting white bodies in motion in ways that seek to secure the instability of both white subjectivity and settler sovereignty?