Whiteness is a sibylline poetics of insatiability. Think fork-tongued. Think slithering serpent, from Eden to the Jungle Book.
It urges coaxes all alterity—marked by difference—into its orbit. It devours.
It envisions & commits unthinkable acts knowingly &, with moralizing naivety, manipulates the former acts or inactions as narratives of historical &/ contemporary oppression, framing their overcoming of such personal trials & tribulations as the true site of violence.
Expect a register marked by overblown pathos or, alternatively, a solo of maximalist excess.
Cheerily, this is followed by torturous attempts to reckon with, absolve, or beg for some kind of mercy…
There are days like yesterday, when “I found”— greenhorn that am I ever—a professor sharing elaborate resources and coursework about Wallace Stevens’ (the greatest American poet of the twentieth century) later work & its relationship (intellectual and philosophical, though I’m down for a queer reading of any text) to George Santayana, a philosopher and prominent intellectual of Stevens’ generation.
Professor G. we’ll call him posted a schedule of virtual meetings/readings—it’s basically a free course offered on Medium.com by an expert. These are the days I get carried away: Medium is a singularity amongst the crowd of aging platforms. Medium is…
From the alley situated messily behind my brother’s house a dog barks & the sun sets, lighting the clouds. It’s cool, 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The absence of cicadas strikes me as an audiophonic poverty. The state’s polymorphous in a personality disorder kind of way: it shifts various shapes & identities in order to affect, or effectively, manipulate any lever to maintain growth.
(This chaotic costume-party environment may, in part, explain the phenomenon of white Coloradans proudly exclaiming, “I’m a native” when they’re—in some cases near my mama’s house—100 miles from the site of The Sand Creek Massacre ([29 November 1864].)
Note: This essay draws explicitly from Jean Baudrillard’s Simulations & Simulacra (1984) & Symbolic Exchange & Death (1979).
If you’re reading this now, you know: you & I have entered into a contract whose expiration date is between now & four minutes from now.
In the next thirty seconds, the formal & organizational logic of this piece must turn into light source & pane of glass both. With thirty or so letters strewn into sequences that will compel you to continue on reading or, understandably, will fail to do so, & you’ll vanish without much thought or effort.
Beneath sans-serif leaves thriving in various
Greens from water applicators applied
Just now for effect, a reissued ritual
Dropping off ofs into this, an empty room idiom.
Your baritone laugh magnetizes the house’s stucco.
That was then; hardly now we even speak.
The disfigured figure or landscape left only with
A gesture. We’ll meet in the junkyard maybe
Or at a release party for a book of yours that will
Win the Pulitzer Prize. Katydids. Like wood
Twisting. Cicadas & a viscous atmosphere in Iowa.
Lanky Cat, that tattoo that brings us back.
You told me how you & papa…
This, then, is life;
Here is what has come to the surface after so many throes and convulsions.
You say you were using you knowing you
Were saying you as near-naked I.
But you don’t ask the moon about scattered
Shadows bifurcating oceanic surface into tidal
Patterns as if parrot to sun be. A tiger
Seizes; sees a domesticated cat through
glass, a future imprisonment of it-
self, an extraction of its past projected
into a future in which captivity’s presence
results in the thievery of even a brief relational
Engagement with its great-great-great—
An NYU professor, Christina Beltrán, published an essay in the Washington Post’s Opinion column. The essay is insightful & cuts a new edge, theoretically & practically, when attempting to understand the people who supported Trump & who actively participated in the 6 January 2021 capitol raid, which Beltrán refers to as “a politics of aggression, exclusion & domination.”
This essay responds to Steve QJ’s piece. In his essay he conflates Beltran’s cogent examination of the insurrection & proposal for a theoretical & discursive lens — “multi-racial whiteness” — through which one may understand that which seems to evade meaning.