letter-poem to a hungry new recruit
you know, when you overthink something in psychoanalysis
they call it the death drive.
the something you think about
is called an object
or an other
the cycle of wanting the object;
then getting close to it,
even touching it lightly with your fingertips
and in the same flashing instant
finding that object ugly, inferior;
then rejecting it, violently if possible;
and later on, catching yourself confused
and aching for it all over again;
and loving that what you want is
an other you know you can never have;
searching for relief from the "human condition"
[loneliness, confusion, symbols void of intrinsic meaning
that can never perfectly match the contents of our thoughts]
and making whatever is advertised on the skytrain that day
into the cure as well as the disease:
this is called jouissance,
the sickly sweet almost nauseating pleasure of following the drive
past the mansion
into the courtyard
waving at the guards by the fence whose kids you know by name and kiss at christmas
going to a secured location to consume
an object or an other or both
vomiting it up, but doing it quietly, don’t say a word!
you’re supposed to be having fun!
fun, goddamn it!
why aren’t you having fun?
but you paid all this money!
if you aren’t having fun, then you must be sick.
there must be something wrong with you.
once upon a time,
someone was describing how colonialism makes emotion
into something feminine, animalistic, infantilized, racialized,
and how we are so constantly and dangerously susceptible to colonizing our emotional stories
since it is colonial language that we employ now, after all, to try to tell them.
i think i agree with this person,
especially given what you and i discussed last night, alien-friend,
and what we said about masculinity
relying on misogyny to conceptualize itself and the entire gender binary.
man is man
is self-interested and rational
is accountable, identifiable like totals on a spreadsheet or a bank statement
is a colonial construct which forces the object or the other or both
into being whatever it wants to consider its opposite,
always and forever designed
to act as an outlet for abuse by the frustration of wanting.
i think you'd agree, wouldn't you, that this social binary cum colonial history is useless
except while we hunt it in order to kill it and dispose of it like toxic waste,
hoping to prevent it from contaminating our current projects
or continuing to poison the fish in the river.
when your intellect, as you put it, ruins your emotion
i translate that as a colonial lexicon attempting to address these drives we take,
which may or may not be
what psychoanalysis wants them to be
because of course psychoanalysis is subject to its own colonialist theory:
making emotions into an object it wants to know and have and control;
enjoying that it secretly knows it can never do this to its permanent satisfaction;
forcing racism and sexism to carry the burden of explanation
for this lack of cure or answer.
/a note on theory:
it is sometimes difficult, i know,
to like the taste of it in your mouth.
theory is a bitter pill
and these words i'm trying to offer here
bear an alarming resemblance, yes,
to the ones usually prescribed by doctors and lawyers and teachers and fathers -
nobody will blame you, beloved alien,
if you find them hard to swallow
because they come from the same colonial factories
that cook up the sugar in our coke and chocolates
and you are right to be suspicious of their shape and texture.
but, being a writer yourself, you know that language is deceptive
and that there are many forms of it -
the stinking factories and towers of the west were built and secured with resources of all kinds
formerly deemed useful by people scattered in every other direction:
there is no shame in carefully stealing them back for the movement./
i think what i'm trying to say
[cuz it's hard to ever be totally sure of what you want to say or do or think or feel]
is that maybe i see you trying sometimes,
when you feel a thing,
to stay speechless on purpose
and let the emotion be
a little uncontrollable (because that's fine)
a little inexplicably intuitive (nothing wrong with this either)
a lantern lighting the rolling orbit of an absurdly flimsy raft
carrying passengers who don't know where they're headed
but know they have to go.
i admire what i think see - of course i could be wrong! -
although i think that we should smoke a joint
and drink some orange juice
and talk about maybe what else you could do
with the results of your attempts to rescue emotion
from dank cells and medicine cabinets,
to let it join and even win
the games of social logic that you play within your art
because i also feel like i can i see
that you want to fill your own collection of drives and voids
with a recognition from communities, nations, political systems that
(darling, i hate to be the one to tell you but)
is very probably never going to come
and it is, i know you know, humiliating to have to ask
for this cycle to repeat itself every dog day of your life.
dear alien-friend, the whole point of this letter-poem is to tell you that
you don't have to ask.
there are other things which you could want.
and they don't have to be money or love or sex or fun or answers.
theoretical and frontline background:
this is a letter disguised as a poem written for a comrade with whom the composer of the piece shares particular narcissistic affinities. the piece was sent as a digital communicative transmission to this comrade and is presented here as an inert statue whose marble could likely have been put to better use which imagines that examples of such communications might perhaps be useful for strategizing the social production of collective political projects in the hopeful service of generally fucking shit up.