The moist leaves and crystals stick to the tips of my grinding fingers. Which will smell like a hint of weed until I wash my hands later. I light the bowl of my pipe, MalcolmX, and the soft crackle of burning weed is lit up a glowing orange moon. I inhale smoke and a dirty burnt taste. Hold my breathe for three seconds, 1…2…3… and exhale. I like smoking, it forces me to breathe. With every breath I stretch out my ribs and chest and exhale deep and loud letting every worry on my mind go. My head is now floating in the space above me. Up somewhere so high and so detached from my body. I am air. But I don’t want to let myself float too far away from my body. When I begin to be out of reach is when all time and feeling escape me and I slip into the peril of disorientation and dissociation.

Erykah Badu is softly singing And pumpin the trunk with the windows rolled up, puff. And I hit every single puff. I breathe them in deep down into the pit of my stomach and let my chest collapse forcing all of the oxygen out in an exhale. I listen to WorldWide Underground all the way through without touching pause or skip, otherwise I don’t listen to the album at all. It is not meant to be listened to for one song, but all of them together tell the full story. It is phenomenal of Erykah Badu to transition every song together as if they are one. Where a song ends and begins is always gray matter. Much like my life, happy and sad, trauma and healing are forever blended together. Erykah talks about a cypher, on and on, 360 degrees, full circle. In these moments, where I sit and breathe smoke in and out of my lungs, I make connections. Syncing together moments and interactions and energy and meaning and coincidence. Reflection, realization, awakening old and new parts of my mind.

I fall backwards. I am so heavy. I can feel the center of my back, the soles of my feet, my shoulders, and my mind being pulled downward. I land into my bed. My arms and legs spread like an X. My head is heavy as it sinks deep into pillows. I am chains in water, falling into absolute. My chest is light, my pelvis is light, my face is relaxed, my body releases all tension. I am drawn further into the earth. I welcome gravity, and as it enters, I am forced into my body. I lay there with the sensation that I am drifting downward into an infinite heart space where I feel most at home. My edges are gripped softly by the pillow top bed. My eyelids are trapdoors that fall shut, their seams weave together softly as I continue to collapse into my body. My breath is slow, deep, and full. I speak telepathically to the parts of me that hurt most. Releasing pressure in my neck and back. Letting go of toxins in my heavy exhales.

By the beginning of the fourth song I am heavy in place. I feel every beat, every loop sends electricity down my spine reminding me that I am here in my body. Badu is a type of scat singing where a singer uses their own vocal sound as an instrument. It requires immense improvisation. Erykah Badu is a conductor of feelings, a stimulator of the most vibrant and intense emotion. A heartbeat begins and continues to grow with every pulse. Heavy breathing loops softly then faster and faster behind the heartbeats before the break of Erykah’s voice. Powerful, rhythmic, heart pumping, I am fully entranced. My heartbeat matches the speed of the pulse, always. Sexually I am heightened, elevated, amplified, vibrating. Energy is throbbing through every vein of my body. In the direct center of the soles of my feet I feel tingling. My spine is sharp like the near stimulation of orgasm. As you get into bed with a lover for the first time your heart pounds out all sound. Here I am with myself. The song guides my body, brain, and spirit to the same place for 10 minutes. I am in love with myself for 10 minutes.

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