The next time Gigi speaks of joining the mendicant, she is dressed simply. There is no choker, the one she enjoys her lover lacing at the back of her neck every morning. "It makes me feel put together, like knotting a ribbon on a gift," Gigi used to say. Her sarong is an ordinary batik, a simple cotton. She is much shorter without her heels, as she shuffles in her slippers across the living into the porch, leaves the slippers on the steps, and walks barefoot on the grass. "Even in the small act of writing, I find myself struggling between the ethic or the aesthetic of what needs to be said, between the reality and fiction, journalism and poetry." This is a different Gigi, a Gigi I only remember back in college when club meetings turned unbearably cerebral and heady. The literary theorists and historians would be at each others' throats. The poets would ignore the philosophers. The sociologists alternated between whiskey and tequila shots, the anthropologists at the corner booth sipping tea. Gigi liked her cocktails - she was too finicky or generous to have a favorite - in the second half of the night, when the conversations had reached their height, and everyone was now leaning into their chairs, their own thoughts dimming into a softness. She liked the feeling of that softness, the sort of slow effort at realization.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of I Didn't Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, forthcoming in 2013. He has also edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters (world religions) from Harvard and fine arts masters (creative writing) from Notre Dame, he is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree Publishing Poetry Prize, among other awards. Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist, also working in clay. His commemorative pieces are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.