Proper Entry and Exit


After Listening to “Canvas”


One must know what it is to be in and out. How to properly enter and exit. “Properly,” not in the sense of the bourgeoisie or uppity, but in the sense in which Robert Farris Thompson wrote about. Writing as he did about the ways we be.


There are ways of being in and out.


But how to enter and where to be once inside and how to decide when to no longer remain—what makes those decisions, those moments?


Can we ever reach the inside without entering?


And can we reach the outside without exiting?

Those moments of a radical expectation, of transformation—these are the key to unlocking everything that we seek and everything that we know from our seeking. So to think about entry and exit is not only to prepare, it is the state of being prepared.


It is the inside that transforms, and the outside that transforms everything that is within.

And never are we able to fully know what guards those boundaries, what makes those points of entry and exit what they are. But we can feel them. Not simply silence nor sound. Not merely presence or absence. The boundaries are constituted by something else, a reaching for, a feeling for. Not an essence.


A unicity of inside and outside. A mise-en-scene that is only recognizable from a place where entry and exit are secured by the feeling of approaching a sort of moment of truth, a building up of courage to allow for a slow jaunt toward a place you never felt. It is a knowing that forces us to not fully know. And to accept unknowablity as the price of satisfaction. Yet it is also the pleasure of being full, content, and still open to still flowering possibilities.


And it is often a hearing that brings us to that opening, that space of contentment with that unknowability, that ground for possibility.


Hearing—really listening—is what occurs when we enter, when we breach the door. When we are prepared.


Entering is vulnerability made in a not so complete awareness of a possibility that can never be total, but only potentially so. What we do when we enter is resist the impulse to control, to be controlled and controllable. We listen for the changes.


Exiting is knowing that what we have just experienced exists in the core of our being and is representative of only that which we have not yet known. And we begin to search for the next door, the next point of entry, knowing that arrival to another possibility requires an exit for the one we had just exhausted. We listen for the rhythm.


And it all makes sense, because perfect truth is in the movement between. We listen to everything that has happened and we are prepared to hear everything that can happen now.

Entrance and exit, not beginning and end.

Josh Myers teaches Africana Studies at Howard University and is editor of A Gathering Together: Literary Journal. Connect with him on Twitter @ddehewty.
featured image by bostankorkulugu