Words happen like clouds
Jiajia Zhang, Marco Rigoni, and a text by Janice Lee
November 5 – December 31, 2022
Sgomento Zurigo, Zürich
The first lie you were told: You have to earn it. All of it. The first lie you remember telling: No one sees me.
Grateful reverberations. Eggs. Silos being split open at the seams. Flowering fruit trees. Lips puckering from sour. Sleep as actual rest. The sound of the bell still washing over me, still reverberating in all the cells of my body. Walk the dog. Walk yourself. Let’s go home.
Lemon was the word he remembered as he woke up that morning — lemon scent, lemon air freshener, lemon candle, lemon cookies, fresh squeezed lemonade — but it wasn’t any of those tastes or smells that lingered in his thoughts, just the word: lemon, the way it felt as he tossed it around his mind like a juggling ball, just one word thrown around acrobatically — lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon, lemon — until he realized that the other people on the bus were all staring at him and he suddenly became aware of his body as separate from the feeling of lemon, still kneeling there in the aisle, one hand raised above him, one hand palm down on the cold, grimy, and slightly damp floor, bent over as if beginning a race, but with nowhere to go; he couldn’t even remember where home was, where he had come from, where his current destination was, just the word “lemon”, this 5-letter word haunting him like an overgrown chuckling toddler, and he couldn’t lessen the grip, no not yet, not until he had completed something he had yet to complete, but he didn’t know what that was either, so he slowly got up, collected himself, brought himself over to a seat before seeing fall on the floor in front of him, an apricot.
Sometimes a fruit, like a lump of earth, stops still in its tracks while on its way home. Understand that a lump of earth might get stuck in your throat, and then all of the language you hold in your body will be blocked before it leaves the mouth. The word for that feeling rising in your belly on the tip of your — and you mouth the word, remembering how it feels to move the lips, the feeling of the word in the throat, the mouth, the release — the throat expands and the lump expands and you feel the urge to repeat certain movements over and over again that come out in varied forms of u-u-u-utterances, but not the right utterances, certain words, entire inheritances and genealogies in the form of gasps and farewells. All gestures of parting begin this way, with an open mouth and a lump in the throat, with the performance of affection and then the complete disintegration of self into another self. The quietly occurring performance isn’t a performance but a memory, isn’t a memory but a prophesy, isn’t a prophesy but has occurred already, hasn’t occurred yet but is about to be uttered. The utterance is a lie. The lie is genuine. The lie is the reverberation of hope. The lie is that you’re sitting down at home alone. Where in the body can you locate the lie?