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Erotic Things

there is no self just rapture

Essays, Poetry | Zuihitsu
April 15, 2022

This piece is part of the 随筆 | Zuihitsu notebook, which features original art by Satsuki Shibuya.

The texture of wet clay on a throwing wheel

The blue of an eastern bluebird when spring crashes on the heels of winter

Keats’s negative capability has the potential


Mistaking your lover for someone else when he turns his back

Exotic sounds like exotic. But not when people call me this


The erotic makes sense when we think of jouissance and how that means there is no self just rapture. When I say jouissance, I like the eroticism of it being in French with that final nasal and sibilant. Doesn’t this sound like how a romance novelist would write it—and to me my own auto-colonial reading is not erotic, of French that is. Of English and Spanish too—they sound like colonial coercion, and that’s not erotic. 


The pharmakon: how snake venom poisons, how the antidote distills from that very venom

The space of indeterminacy 


Dark-skinned men in short shirts and shorts, men with bubble butts and thick thighs 


“Another important way in which the erotic connection functions is the open and fearless underlining of my capacity for joy.” —Audre Lorde


Queers and not fitting in one envelope or one’s shorts

But maybe eros is exotic, and by this, I mean the very textural gesture of the word, what it points to, what we hide in clothes or words


The texture of language

The linguistic texture of Bhojpuri, Creolese, and English brush up together—living their taboos together—through the act of emergence despite repression

Secret languages that we speak to each other in


The lips when they bite strawberries, how they envelop the red

Swollen strawberry guava. The smell as they rot on the ground—like wine. I remember tramping through a sprawling forest path at Kuli‘ou‘ou Ridge where the forest floor practiced its winemaking. The entire climb was perfumed and that was erotic, the emerald of the mountain, the cloud cover like fog and the turning of sugar into liquor.