Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving TV is terrible: families gather from far-flung places; there are predictable anxieties over whether this or that family member will show up; fights break out over many unreconciled issues; tears flow; and, whether at the beginning, middle, or end of the show, families sit down to eat a meal and someone, usually the matriarch,... Continue Reading →

refuge

At first, once a week, and then twice a week, and, eventually, four times a week, I’d head for the gay club in downtown Pittsburgh. It was small, located below street level, dark, leaning toward seedy, and, had I bothered to think about it, a death trap. Middle aged white men gazed at white twinks—the... Continue Reading →

a note on grieving

Is there a difference between, “the bastard is dead” and “you are entitled to mourn, but remember he was a bastard”? I think there is. I think it has to do with one’s presumed audience and with the work both statements set out to accomplish. I have seen versions of the second floating around since... Continue Reading →

self-preservation

History is not kind to us we restitch it with living past memory      forward into desire into the panic   articulation of want      without having or even the promise of getting. --Audre Lorde, “On My Way Out I Passed Over You and the Verrazano Bridge” I have been curious about selfcare/self-care/self care as it has circulated attached to Audre... Continue Reading →

pole

I used to think I hate the word pole—perhaps I do. Pole is the sorry one offers for minor injuries and the condolence one offers for major losses. It means sorry you are feeling pain. It is a ritual word. A word that carries and means and performs. Pole. * I’m not very sure I... Continue Reading →

a joke has been told

A joke struggles to emerge. A murder of newly independent black politicians drink whiskey and debate whose dogs are more fiercely anti-black. For whom does the joke emerge? For whom does the joke struggle? * I have thought for a long time about the laugh. The laugh has often been so cruel that I cannot... Continue Reading →

Frottage: Introduction (part three)

The family tree is not the only way to envision diaspora, and I turn to theorists of “thinghood” to suggest a model for envisioning the black diaspora and for framing black diasporic queerness. Hortense Spillers’s classic “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe” offers another genealogy into the queerness of the black diaspora. Spillers theorizes the middle passage... Continue Reading →

Frottage: Introduction (part two)

In 1908, Liberian intellectual Edward Wilmot Blyden published African Life and Customs, a collection of articles that had first appeared in the Sierra Leone Weekly News. It was issued, “with the desire, if possible, of unfolding the African, who has received unmixed European culture, to himself, through a study of the customs of his fathers,... Continue Reading →

Frottage: Introduction (part one)

I first read Alex Haley’s Roots (1976) when I was eleven or twelve, in the late 1980s. I don’t know how it came to be in my parents’ Nairobi home, though I have a vague memory of the miniseries being screened on TV in the early 1980s. That initial reading left me with a haunting... Continue Reading →

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