What I am Reading Now…
Rabindranath X Bhose
Reading has been a challenge for me over the last couple of years, with the fractured concentration of living through a pandemic, and the way the texts I’m drawn to often ask me to meet myself alarmingly closely. The moments where I have felt calm enough to sit with a book have been magical. These are some of the texts that are helping me to feel through caring, integrating, surrendering, building, rooting, playing, experimenting, dreaming, emerging and loving.
Through it all, I have been listening to Ethiopiques Vol. 21 Emahoy (Piano Solo) by Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou. It’s an album of exploratory piano compositions written and performed by Guèbrou, who is a nun. I feel a spiritual searching in her playing that is playful, soulful and irreverent. I get in the bath, put this on and I dissolve. I invite you to play it as you read this, if you wish to.
I recently finished Lama Rod Owens’ Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger, after reading it steadily for a year, first thing in the morning after a meditation. This practice helped me to read from my whole body, inviting a paced digestion of the rich combination of memoir and spiritual principles as Lama Rod discusses how to work with unmetabolised anger. It is the work of building resilience as well as tenderness, and it has helped me construct a framework for engaging in enraging work with compassion and curiosity.
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Care Work (Dreaming Disability Justice) has accompanied me when I’m too tired to leave the house but I’m grounded enough to yearn for some feeling. It is a collection of essays about living as a disabled bodymind, with excellent strategies for community building as well as poetic explorations on what we gain by being unable to function in the world as expected in capitalism: “a life of dreamtime”.
Poetry anthology Homie by Danez Smith has also offered me companionship. It was a present from a friend and is a gift of a complex feeling of friendship through communing. “What makes a fag a fag. One theory rings true. It’s not the sex. The being filled. But the emptiness. Void you didn’t know was. Until someone stopped it up.” I’ve been reading this one in the sauna, like a fever dream.
Last thing at night, I read Sammy Playford’s There’s always Things Falling Out The Sky. A book-long poetic meditation on affinity to paranormal creatures, building a relationship to the monstrous within yourself and letting that guide you to a juicy and whole sense of self. I read this with my Love sleeping on my shoulder, grateful for the quiet of our home to meet the monsters inside and out and expand to know them.
“& it might be all in ur
head but how many heads is ur head a
help comes in a lot
Rabindranath X Bhose is an artist and writer born in Brussels (1993, living and working in Glasgow. He graduated from the Ruskin School of Art in 2016 with a BFA in Fine Art and completed the School of the Damned DIY MA Art Programme in 2019. He has exhibited and performed work throughout the U.K. He has also served on the Market Gallery committee and is currently part of the board of trustees.
Ethiopiques Vol. 21 Emahoy (Piano Solo), Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou (Éthiopiques, 2006)
Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation through Anger, Lama Rod Owens (North Atlantic Books, 2020)
Care Work (Dreaming Disability Justice), Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018)
Homie, Danez Smith (Graywolf Press, 2020)
There’s always Things Falling Out The Sky, Sammy Playford, Roxy Topia and Paddy Gould (Pink Sands Studio, 2021)