Claudia Rankine

The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (Excerpt) The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue (Excerpt)

If I sat next to you, spoke only to you, you would feel the warmth of my breath. As our shoulders touched you would shift, and I would know your movement as response. This is a world and we are in it. And still, as if this matters, I worry that you can't see me; I worry that you will go on without me in mind--even as our shoulders continue to touch, even as you carry my voice in your ear. At times I've wished for a structure to lean on, a landmark that's larger than the life around us, something that would govern us all. Maybe I want this because we almost had it. In truth, I was almost our Capital City. Did you know the longest total solar eclipse that will occur in the 21st century was experienced most fully this summer in Shanghai, in a city. China's most populated city. For six minutes and thirty-nine seconds, as the moon passed directly between the earth and the sun, for all those bodies all was darkness. I know how that feels. But daylight is the great extravagance. In the end I know this is true--even if I fall again and again into my private realities--because despite everything I am built out of lives.

Oct 14, 2009 / Books & the Arts / Claudia Rankine