some Cotton Candy
sweetness, goodness, history, future, complications, complexity, possibilities associated with
Sweet Enough Ocean, Cotton
I haven’t seen the sea before
but it must be easy to love
because even without ever seeing it before
I call the blown-open cotton a sea,
I call moving through the rows
my attempt to walk on rough water.
It’s not that the cotton seems watery
or that each cotton seed hair is like
a separate one of the sparkles the sun makes
when its light bounces in moving water
—though it is like that
now that I think about it.
It’s just how big
the cotton is. This small field
seems bigger than the sky,
and is the sky for ants. It’s just
how the cotton carries you,
delivers you to a rocky shore,
even though you can’t argue
against what good it does
because you have been taken up in
the persuasion of a garment, of a cocoon.
I’ve been thinking about this,
while I’m working, I think
about this. My mind is the part of me
that gets the least rest.
It’s never quiet;
there’s always the hum
inside me, the hive free inside me
making me think about honey, dipping
all my thoughts into honey
and even the thoughts honey won’t
stick to have been in the honey,
have been next to honey so the knowledge
of honey is on them and the knowledge
all by itself can be sweet enough.
I think about that, think how thinking
can be sweet enough
for now. Thinking about so much
that is buried in the cotton.
Few months after we planted it,
I called the pink blossoms of cotton
before it ripened
of endless sunset on the ocean.
from Slave Moth
a novel in verse by Thylias Moss
On a completely different note, the novel has a definite preoccupation with deformity -- what Varl classifies as not only physical difference (because it's not always a "deformity" despite her continued use of that word) but also emotionally twisted situations. There are several characters who might be classified as "abject" (as Kristeva use the term) -- including Albino Pearl and Dwarf Sully, who have natural differences; Jessper, who inflicts her own difference with the iron (thereby making her suddenly "interesting" to Peter Perry); and Mamalee and Varl themselves, who are intellectually different in their intelligence and their level of education. But more important to the core of the novel is the emotional deformity (depravity?) that surrounds Peter Perry. Varl describes him as a "collector" of unusual slaves, which is why he continues to search for these abject figures to bring to his homestead. Then again, he also thrives off of his mother-in-law's death, charging people to see the hive that honeybees have made of her rotting corpse. And most significantly, there are his relationships with the women in his life: his scholarly relationship (which Varl sometimes speculates goes beyond exchanges of words) with Mamalee, his neglectful/disdainful relationship with Ralls Janet, and his oddly desirous yet abstinent (for the time being) relationship with Varl. In other words, throughout the novel, Peter Perry is depicted as the one who has the deformity (rather than those around him) because of his twisted approach to life. Even at the end, when he (plot spoiler!!) renames Perryville "Varlton" it becomes clear that the entire thing is a kind of experiment he's performing to observe what happens with the three main women in his life (Mamalee, Varl, and Ralls Janet). In other words, he's sick. Or, to use Varl's word, he suffers from "extreme deviancy."
The dress fits standard size American Girl dolls, the moth-dress I made is on a modified Addy, right now (as it is on the Varl doll as pictured above), though now shifts; the now of a presumed encounter with a reader may occur while the cotton dress is not on the Varl doll, while it is being laundered, while it is being displayed, as it will be, with chapters written without words by Ralls Janet, who could not in her illiteracy use words, but she was not without other means for self-expression, in her own languages, so could utter every taboo necessary within the deviancy she married.
watch the video below or at youtube:
Watch Project Genealogy: (some of) why I wrote Slave Moth