no text zone

J. Khadijah Abdurahman

no text zone

when i say being-in-the-world i mean he be eating all the food in the fridge, it’s not just the
talking w/ hands, but habitually— running when we laughing, I do be noticing how slavery
and shit be tracing concentric circles but that doesn’t gotta mean enclosure, at the end of
the day, let them play their watches, and slice up segments like it’s possible | en joy the
type of timing we got when we running round roaming off kajjeellaa maps, lets be late,
un-enumerated and shit. plus, isn’t here yet, doesn’t mean ain’t gon come or hasn’t ever
been. And severance is a cut made straight when circles shape kin.


one day I told them I was here or whatever, they let me in right away, didn’t ask me who’s
your people, where I stay at or none of that, just asked for an address, and for an abstract
so I sang sang, I danced danced until sweat covered, lit frankincense, roasted jimma coffee,
delivered my baby on the kitchen floor, mitmita rivers running on white tiles, senafich with
the tibs, spoke to them in my mother tongue, in tongues, on some pre-pentecostal, spit on
them sheikh hussein. Baptized in the sacred springs, made dua, arabic first, then from my
own mouth until I orgasmed, phd-ed to waaqaa, screaming:

we exist,
we are here,
we are here now ! but ahmed said you have to have a stake in it, on some visceral afferent,
autonomic negotiations is belief shit. So we make wodaajjaa, khat chewing, peanuts all in
the third quarter of my mouth, coca and bunna, drums pulsing, gut speaking, teeth
bleeding, I reach mirkaanaa, davening, speaking in books–

but then they dragged me out, something about dasein, as if heidegger was alive when my
ancestors were just being in the world,

as if they own the otherwise too, as if cargo performed algorithmic soliloquy, as if there’s
such a thing as a plantation without hands that know the earth, as if you were right about
ontology. but even strange fruit scatter seeds while hanging in the summer breeze…


before doesn’t mean un. -sexed or pre. animist is wild. Look yes the atlantic and we (*some
of us) trans ed the sahara, the red and the indian but we know other things about water too.


and we leaking through the ledger , their books all a mess, by the way, its not even
that they think the jewish book all a mess, it’s that there’s a jewish book, when
there’s just supposed to be a book (and then they spin the block saying jews sold us
the book like they aint got a jewish book)

<meanwhile funny how they say we strangers, swarms without books, i be
cracking up thinking about how we talked too much (be)for a book, we be
illiterati mouths, literal literacy campaigns loosening our lips like lava is a
risk. name us nomads bc we be moving as we talk>

they justtrying to en lighten us and look what we be doing with it, “those people are
polluting the googled body. how can we google everything if they won’t let us index the
secrets? who refuses index if they don’t have no secrets? they calculating, we have to
calculate them” (they mean eliminate them)


tribes | hides | heid
heidegger not even a moment i be turning to, fam, nah there’s no “way in which”
i ain't never been no derrida's reading, or wrong classifier
for the training data, predict this dick he yells
cracking. up when they tried to explain a d e cibel
(who measures sound?
and the space where his adam apple is missing?

recording the absence, counting up everything but that laugh so crisp it cuts calculations
they call it a edge case
unlawful trans mission


nairobi gets paid something like a dollar to clean up sewage their things guarantee , (as if
not just inevitable but inconceivable it could be otherwise)
optimization their sacred, rapidly predict and detect the unholy, so she be learning the
rituals, taking classes in malthusian hermeneutics

you say she’s lucky at least to be in the capital
left the village’s earthen houses, geographies of the damned
respectably remitting from this place where clouds be ground floor tenants. bricolage
archives in cold chambers, she let a fuck slip looking at these clouds, they got cords running
round like off brand mycelium, she be nervous

system. none of her keyword prayers laid at none of her google shrines can tell her why
Internet be only ever making things, why she be spending her nights delivering dead
babies, all eyes.



1 “No Text Zone”—Brothers Slim Jxmmi and Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd were kicked out of their momma’s house due to
their “erratic schedules,” cutting school to make music. Rendered homeless as teenagers, they couldn’t rent but
eventually found a spot to squat. “No Flex Zone” referred to this space where they welcomed their friends to make
music and chill but you couldn’t “flex,” aka, act like you was about to start a fight. “No Text Zone” is my “illiterate”
Indigenous ass riffing

2 kajjeellaa—“being in uninvited spaces.” I learned this word during a trip to Jimma from the US. My grandmother made dua
for me, saying, “Look at you seeking to return from the place our kids are dying to be. But I know why you came
back, may you never again be kajjeellaa.”

3 circles—In Sacred Knowledge Traditions of the Oromo of the Horn of Africa, Gemetchu Megerssa and Aneesa Kassam
describe how time is round within Oromo cosmology and how in 1991, the ayaantuu, or timekeepers, announced
that nine rounds of time (nine generations of people, each trained until forty years old in astrophysics, agriculture,
and Oromo sacred knowledge) have passed, and that we have reached a saglii (a catastrophe). The ayaantuu stated
that the catastrophe requires us to spend forty to seventy years reconceptualizing a system of governance for the next
nine generations—after which a saglii will reoccur. I think about this alongside Bedour Alagraa’s Interminable

4 Sheikh Hussein—Islam practiced in the genre of Sheikh Hussein might begin with bismillah arahman arahim and end with
ameen, but, arguably, everything in between are essentially Oromo ancestral practices that have absorbed musical
and spiritual elements of other regions through a process of syncretism.

5 “Mouth” is afaan in Afaan Oromo. Language is conceptualized as that which comes from your mouth. Hence, “Arabic
first, then from my own mouth.”

6 Waaqaa Guraachaa—dark-skinned black god of the Oromo

7 wodaajjaa—sacred ceremony where you set intentions and blessings for everyone present, followed by khat
chewing and baroo music

8 mirkaanaa—the transcendental high you get when you chew khat

9 Martin Heidegger did not merely theorize against the calculative reasoning and positivism produced by modernity; he
identified Jews as that calculative reasoning.

10 I am indebted to Rowland Keshena Robinson’s essay “Antisemitism, the Left, and Ethically Grounded Critique”
in developing my rejection of Heidegger.

11 on computational methods, autonomic negotiations and davening—I began thinking about this while writing a Medium
post, “FAT* Be Wilin’”:“Despite the Paul E. Meehl inspired refutations of human decision making emphasizing the
limitations of cognition in favor of stochastic methods, the foundation of human risk modeling is actually-complex
neurological processing of visceral afferent information through the senses. A crying baby is rocked, Jewish people
daven in prayer; we doth not Milly Rock just to get lit, we access higher order thought processes by attuning to the
primal needs of our mammalian vagus with vestibular input kid.”

12 Nairobi is where Facebook happens to outsource so much of its content moderation on the continent, but
Afropolitanism is fungible.

13 “sewage … as if inevitable” and “Malthusian hermeneutics”—I am again thinking about the ayyaantuus’ 1991 declaration
of saglii and Alagraa’s (in many ways very different) theorization of interminable catastrophe. From the latter:
“Early theological and empiricist debates concerning ‘calamity’ (in the tradition of George Cuvier, Charles Darwin,
and Robert Malthus) as an intellectual formation relies intensely on this biocentric genre of the human and cruel
mathematics, stemming from George Cuvier’s preoccupation with extinction as a predictive tool for the future of life
on Earth, to Darwin’s assertion that competition between life forms dictate a similar fate for life on earth, and of
course, Malthus’ calculus regarding the importance of calamity for maintaining the earth’s delicate and ‘natural’
equilibrium. This tradition crystallized in the New World where Whiteness was codified as the future of the [human]
species and Black/native/other became codified as that which gets ‘left behind’ in the earth’s ‘natural’ ecological
thrust. Cruel mathematics, again, predicated on a logic of ‘natural scarcity’ (per Darwin and Malthus) and that of
natural dysselection, means that it is simply a result of the earth’s ‘natural’ ecological formation that certain
populations will have their needs met, while others will not, and, even further, these groups represent obstruction to
the health and futurity of our planet.”

14 The images are from a development studies report by Kerilyn Schewel titled Why Ethiopian Women Go to the Middle
East: An Aspiration-Capability Analysis of Migration Decision-Making
. The report emphasizes how Oromo women
in the countryside are desperate to become domestic workers in the Middle East, despite knowing the likelihood of
sexual assault and wage theft. The earthen house is made from locally available materials, and it stays cool during
the day and warm at night. The opposite is true of the house captioned “signs of discretionary income.” My people
yearn for the chance to abandon their Indigenous technologies, to pay smugglers to take them on the old slave
routes, so they can build their mother a box to roast in; to become modern™.

Khadijah Abdurahman is the editor in chief of Logic(s).

This piece appears in Logic's upcoming issue 19, "supa dupa skies (move slow and heal things)." Subscribe today to receive the issue as part of a subscription, or preorder at our store in print or digital formats.