Some days we sit and contemplate what is given to us: meals, books, clothing, toys, conversations with friends. Other days, we imagine a door in the wall opening onto a puppet theater. Peter Schumann, founder of the Bread and Puppet Theater, warns of puppet insurrection. The art to which I’m drawn destabilizes the subject-object binary. Let us not deceive ourselves into being subject in relation to objects. Worlds needn’t be that way. Let us instead be as Schumann recommends: puppets in league with things. Dark matter, specters — Hoodoo holy ghosts.
What do we mean by rebellion? Government by election is illegitimate, the numbers and the games played with them suspect. Time for ontological rebellion, refusal of consent to another’s determination of reality. Time to write and perform alternate scripts. Take value-determination away from the money-form. Reject the count en masse. By that I mean the Census. That which can’t count can’t rule. Collectively, in groups, drop out of the count. Drop out of buying and drop into giving. Create an alternative narrative reality. Turn every house into a freehouse, a treehouse, an Undercommons, a tribal encampment. Those who have land, give land. Start communes. Queer language. Historicize it, romanticize it, poeticize it, improvise with it, cast spells with it. Disobey those who police it. Craft new states of being. Provide for the needs of others. Teach. Parent. Use love and generosity to coordinate local gift-exchange. And support those who take to the pipelines and the streets. Water defenders, metro fare protestors. Rise up, act out. Decolonize this place.
I wish to become a better giver of gifts. Remembering to do so and doing so. Where does one find them? Doesn’t one have to acquire in order to give? Or can one give things received in language? Special words, like those spoken in Julius Lester’s folk tale, “People Who Could Fly.”
Witness from micro and macro perspectives, spiral galaxies of charitable giving. Countless acts of gift and receipt. For these are what makes the world go ’round. Gifts appear at all scales of being, to be had and to be given. Food, flowers, books, recommendations, playlists. Words, too, as gifts exchanged among worlds, nations, persons, human and nonhuman relatives and kin. Which, however, are the ones that need saying?