Arisa White « Hazel Reading Series

On Sunday, April 8, Erica Eller hosted the 3rd installment of Hazel, a chain reading series featuring women writers. Readers for this show were: Anna Pulley, Leanne Milway Chabalko, Sara Marinelli, Arisa White, Alexandra Kostoulas, and Mary Samson.

I am sharing work in progress for a show called Mixed, Blended & Whole, to be performed at that Queer Arts Festival (SF) in June. The performance and my writing is exploring racial identity, relationships, and intimacy. Mostly for me, I wrestle with identifying with absence, my father’s absence, and how that affects my sense of visibility, importance, and loveability, even how I regard my own femininity. . . .The neurotic questioning that shows itself in intimate relationships: what part of me is wanted, not wanted; am i?

Here is the final vignette from the recording:

If there was dust, my eyes could not see in this night, her face inhaling the exhaust of his car, driving down East 15th to a set of lights that hold him in red, hugged by a tree-line street that will not judge him for leaving her in the road.

            Her body she lifts and drags to the curb; down and out, she looks at the sky like someone will come and take her back to the moment when this was just fear lurking in the back of her throat. Tonight she has proven herself right. And what does it mean to be right in this case?

            When I ask her if she is OK, first she has to clear the brake lights from her eyes, the grief from her face—I am a stranger who has witnessed the little girl part of herself: deprived and feeling unlovable. If I was to tell her that we are the same, would she believe this look of concern on my face? Will she take this needle and thread I carry and start stitching the wound she thought healed? Will she look for the glass buried deep in muscle and memory and hold it to my face like a note and tell me, This is what I’ve been looking for?

            Second she must find her humanity to come back to. She, in perfect puppet fashion, looks me square in the eyes like chopped-down wood and says, I’m OK.

            I’m hesitant to leave because I know this lie—this final frontier of words you say because you can’t name where you are and you need to be left alone to figure it out. And I leave her there. And the neighbors are taking trash to the curb, and the homeless woman with oversized shoes will seize the redeemables before the truck comes.

Arisa White « Hazel.m4v – YouTube.