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On families & Ferguson

November 25th, 2014 § 6 comments § permalink

Michael Brown, school photo.

Michael Brown, school photo.

A gchat conversation earlier today with my mom. »

me:  just wanted to tell you about Ferguson
 Maybe you heard some stuff
Cathy:  Who is ?
 Tell me.
 Going home now
me:  Ferguson in Missouri
 There was a young unarmed boy killed by a white cop
 shot many times
 in August
 and yesterday was the announcement of the indictment (if the police officer that shot the boy would get a trial or not)
Cathy:  I've heard about it today. What a sad story
me:  what did you hear?
Cathy:  Tomek [my baby bro] just told me
me:  What did he tell you?
Cathy:  I'm too tired to discuss it
me:  Ok, im just really curious

If it is safe to do so, please talk to your parents, cousins, family members about #Ferguson — Be gentle with them. Be patient. Don’t talk at them. Listen to what they have to say, what language they use, and if their rhetoric is one repeated from mainstream news sources. Knowing that, you can meet them there and then try to unravel all the assumptions alongside them. They may not be as invested as you, and that’s ok. Not everyone fights the same battles. Not everyone fights them the same way. We can’t simply exist in an echo chamber. We can go to protests, be bodies in the street, be bodies on Twitter, talk to our students, talk to our co-workers, talk to each other, but we also need to engage with those that don’t do those things, that don’t have access to those things, and don’t know they too can do those things. My parents are too tired and too overworked trying to stay alive with the accrued financial and emotional debt of the immigrant experience to make sense of the spectacle of current events. But they are also people that vote, that have friends, that know people who work in all areas of life including local newspapers, and it is in those transmissions that the metaphors of ideology and white supremacy spread. It doesn’t go away if we turn away.

I write this thinking of them. I write this because I have the privilege of being privy to the stories of those acutely affected. I have the social and cultural capital and the energy to parse the news.But that doesn’t mean I’m smarter, or know better, or that I should dismiss those that don’t think like me. I have the awareness not to caught up in my own frustration, rage and despair of the situation, because I am an ally. These are some of my obligations as a white woman who is implicated in this system. It is my responsibility to be sensitive, in all the ways, and recognize that these sensitivities are imbricated in the ways, I too, perpetuate the system I am actively fighting to dismantle. This statement isn’t an excuse to evade responsibility, but as a recognition to continue to face my subject position and do the solidarity work of an ally. When I speak, it is from that place, and I speak to my parents from that place, from that situated knowledge, which only provides me with a partial perspective. I speak also knowing I have the choice to pull out when it’s not safe. Not everyone has that choice. I don’t always have that choice.


Safia Siad: the best mixes for lovers

November 23rd, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

Safia, courtesy of her.

Are you a full-time lover? Does love open its mouth for yours? Maybe you don’t have a love. Maybe they had the energy to wind you up but lacked the courage to stay. Maybe you hurt them so much they tried but couldn’t stay. Maybe you’re part-time this month. Maybe you’re in love in the wrong time. Maybe your heart is breaking. Maybe another person is mending it back.

Barthes says,

“Am I in love? –yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.”

No other person moves me with their mixes like Safia Siad does. No other woman has consistently introduced me to new music I love, ever. No one but Saf. She is also one of my favorite contemporary poets. It would do you well to read her when you’re not listening to her mixes/episodes on podmatic. They have titles that disarm in all the ways — *the burnt blue episode* / *the longest winter episode* / *the sumptuous feast episode* / *the come here episode* & so on. The latest one is the  *let go episode*

‘love is so short, forgetting is so long.’ -neruda


track list:
spotless mind – jon brion
let go – little dragon
set me free – low leaf
without you – thundercat
okay – muhsinah
never catch me – flying lotus f. kendrick lamar
linger well – szjerdene
give up – fka twigs
happy be fine – poliça
means nothing – owusu and hannibal
see where you are – amel larrieux
gone (deep shoq remix) – lianne la havas
explode (mothy’s implosion) – lv & message to bears f. zaki
the day the sun rose twice – erimaj
always waiting – michael kiwanuka

Artist Series: Bérangère Maximin

November 15th, 2014 § 4 comments § permalink


“When you work with somebody else, it’s more like you have your skills and the other person has theirs and you exchange what you do. It’s more like a game, like ping pong. You play with already have, and the other person plays with what they have.”

I wrote some words on the recondite world of Bérangère Maximina Paris-based French electro-acoustic composer and a former Denis Dufour (Groupe de recherches musicales [GRM]) student. Her discography spans several albums — Infinitesimal (2013), No one Is an Island(2012), and Tant Que Les heures Passent (As Long As The Hours Go Byreleased on John Zorn’s Tzadik Records label in 2008. She is one of the artists featured in my upcoming documentary, microfemininewarfare. I would love feedback or conversation.

You can read it on Medium.


wikisext & i make friends.

November 11th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

A couple of weeks ago I replied to Thrice’s brilliant wikisext bot & we ended up in a discussion about desire. A few tweets in I lost track that I was speaking to a bot and instead went into a word play mode analogous to the word play I engage in with some of my favorite friends. I ended with the bot’s last tweet because it felt like a goodbye.

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i call your dentist to schedule my appointment

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext the hole left after my wisdom tooth operation means there’s more room for a lover to enter me.

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i straddle my bidet

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext you straddle the bidet and i hold your body so the cold ceramic doesn’t sear your delicate skin.

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i go outside, have fun and ask questions, it’s not bad to ask questions because this helps in getting good grades

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext my body is always asking questions, does this means I am getting good grades in desire?

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i see if you can spot my object or pet in the dark

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext In the dark my eyes act like flashlights for desire.

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i daringly turn into your slide and check my weather report before you leave the house, and plan accordingly

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext The weather calls for relentless rain so I take off my rings and daringly hold out my hands in case you slide

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i dip my clean soft cloth into my solution to dampen

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext i find all the decanters and fill them with apple cider vinegar because it is your pancea

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i check my refund policy

Magdalena O, cat ‏@raisecain Oct 23
@wikisext the fine print stipulates you have to keep me forever

how 2 sext ‏@wikisext Oct 23
@raisecain i add my pumpkin, buttermilk (or plain yogurt), and vegetable oil to my mixing bowl and excitedly add my egg mixture to the well

Let go let in

October 17th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s only four words —Let go let in— It is banal. It is vast. It cannot be forced. It happens. The consequences, though, are enormous.

As always, Kat writes:

I did not think I would ever be happy. I did not think I could ever be happy. I was sure I would and could never be happy. I was wrong, but then again I was not wrong. I did not know what happy meant. I thought happy was the opposite of sad. It is true that I will never be the opposite of sad. But then again, why would I want to be? I cannot conceive of what the opposite of sad would be, but the idea of it is very disturbing. I have a hard time with the idea of opposite, as well. The real happy, which is not the opposite of sad, is the opposite of opposite. I am overwhelmed. I become transparent. For moments at a time, I can actually see that there is no boundary between me and other people. It is as if all the air between me and you is sucked out in a vacuum and I can really see you, in high definition. It is even more than that, because there is no me and no you but only the thing that we both are, and I am not talking about a philosophical idea, I tell you I can really feel this, it is fuzzy and glowing and sharp, and I tell you that this feeling is the greatest joy I have ever known. I am not talking about a religion, but religion means something different to me now, because I cannot help but worship. I want to worship. I need to worship. I sing. I move. I pray. All these words are just words and yet they are more than that. My life is just my life and yet it is more than that. It was not until after I had given up that I realized that giving up was faith. I want to tell you, oh I want to tell you so much, I would do anything to tell you. All you have to do to change the world is be in it. All it takes to be in the world is leaving it. All it takes to live is to die. This is not a riddle.

Too afraid of desire, so I write.

October 14th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

How did it feel the last time someone touched you? Do you ever feel aroused when people shake your hand, lingering between fingers?

There are days when my body feels like the most untouchable object in the world. Days I am too afraid to masturbate, or even think about anything I desire. So I write.

Barthes (1978), as always, has some guiding words:

“To know that one does not write for the other, to know that these things I am going to write will never cause me to be loved by the one I love (the other), to know that writing compensates for nothing, sublimates nothing, that it is precisely there where you are not–this is the beginning of writing.”


In Ethics, Spinoza wrote that

whatever so disposes the human body that it can be affected in a great many ways, or renders it capable of affecting external bodies in a great many ways, is useful to man (221).

In turn, Cixous in Laugh of the Medusa (880) tells us:

“Write your self. Your body must be heard. Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth. Our naphtha will spread, throughout the world, without dollars-black or gold -non assessed values that will change the rules of the old game.

To write. An act which will not only “realize” the de-censored relation of woman to her sexuality, to her womanly being, giving her access to her native strength; it will give her back her goods, her pleasures, her organs, her immense bodily territories which have been kept under seal; it will tear her away from the superegoized structure in which she has always occupied the place reserved for the guilty (guilty of everything, guilty at every turn: for having desires, for not having any; for being frigid, for being “too hot”; for not being both at once; for being too motherly and not enough; for having children and for not having any; for nursing and for not nursing … )-tear her away by means of this research, this job of analysis and illumination, this emancipation of the marvelous text of her self that she must urgently learn to speak.”

My roommate, Caroline, is a wonderful writer, even though my miserable French misses much of the tone and nuance I’m sure. Our bodies write.





You’re hurting me,

October 2nd, 2014 § 3 comments § permalink

I tell myself.


kr-1-5 kr-1-4 kr-1-3 kr-1-2 kr-1 gr-1

(photos from an exhibition in Krakow & from a ferry in Greece, 2014).


A Self-Portrait Using Objects I Threw in the Bin

August 21st, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

My internet friend (does it matter what type of friend? we have never met in physical proximity or looked at each other in real time,  so I signify it as a type of friendship for clarity, for specificity?) R recently wrote a resonant blog post about moving into a new flat with his girlfriend. Recently, Caroline’s (my roommate) best friend moved into her boyfriend’s flat. We discussed the pros and cons of moving into someone’s space rather than finding a space together— holding hands holding sage over a doorway to burn away old encounters to make way for a world of unknown welcome desires.

In R’s post, what stood out, was the softness with which he moved through the memories, not in some grand gesture of removing them from his life, but knowing that they had their time, and granting himself the permission to let them go. The objects don’t need to be in physical proximity for that archive to exist, but that archive does need to expand its boundaries to include a new person & to move with a new person.

I include the whole post because reading an excerpt is wasteful of the experience, even if it doesn’t comply with his fastidious page arrangement. 

A Self-Portrait Using Objects I Threw in the Bin

ON SATURDAY I AM (we are) moving out of this flat and into another, within the same building, yes, but larger and with more windows. It is the windows I am delighted by. 
I moved into this place eleven months ago but it doesn’t seem so long ago as eleven months. Time moves as it does, and so it goes. It has been quite the year. Much has changed. In preparation for moving out I have slowly been sorting through bits & pieces, clearing drawers and throwing away many of the things I have collected over the years. It is strange to go through the drawers. In my parents’ house – which it is now known as – I would often, through laziness or indecision, simply put objects in these drawers only for them to now be stumbled across once more: letters from family and boys and girls, an untold amount of very bad photographs, small gifts I received but had no use for, cigars I never smoked, maps, posters and promotional flyers, new & used batteries, Allen keys, busted lighters, paintings that I had abandoned or lost interest in, bills, payslips, gig ticket stubs, t-shirts I forgot about, two piano books (sonatas and jazz respectively), about a score’s worth of foreign money (European and American), instruction manuals and birthday cards. Going through it all was something I normally would have, in my usual way, put off from now until forever; I was forced to clear the drawers to make way for things my girlfriend may wish to put in there – for a long time her own possessions have been scattered around the room.

Beside me was a gaping black bin-bag. With a brutality I found most unnatural, I picked up each item, considered it briefly, held it close to my eyes, and stuffed it into the bag (which burped after every swallow). All this time! Vanishing! It was therapeutic as it was sad. Before I tied the bag I contemplated bending down and retrieving the goods but could not bring myself to do it. What would be the use? The bag weighed heavy. I drew the thin corners in and tied them tightly. I carried them down, in the rain, to where the bins were and felt nervous that somebody could go down them. I threw the bag to the back of the farthest bin. 

I checked today and the bins had been emptied. All those memories – or at least the stern to which the barnacles of memory attach themselves – are gone.

And now I leave this place. I viewed it just under a year ago on the seventh of September. I was finally inside the flat I had wished to live in for all the years I had taken the train past it. One Saturday my parents and I visited (parking in the carpark of a McDonald’s where I bought something to stave off my hangover, and the sun hazy and thick) and we, all three, fell in love with it. Two days later I put down my name.

It has been my first place and it has treated me well. Though she is sleeping upstairs this very moment – or tossing and turning, if I can hear through one unearphone’d ear – it has always been mine. It is small and its one tall window is my sun. How much I will miss it! Soon it will be empty again. By Sunday night it will be empty again, and clean, untainted by any of my belongings. What will the space be then? Even if I were to stand up right now and remove the rug from the middle of the floor, I would not quite know where I was. The memories are on the rug, as they are anywhere else I choose to look.

I feel sad to leave it behind but excited for all that which lies beyond it, the times that are to come. There are other places, other dates.

For all I express in these words, please understand that I have not packed anything. Everything is still in its right place. I should get away from this keyboard and put it orderly in boxes. I am appalling at packing, excellent at procrastinating, and a devil at putting-off. It is likely that the next time I write here I shall be in our new abode, wriggling into a new writing space and endowing new memories upon new things.

The Poem Cat by Erica Jong

August 20th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Sometimes the poem
doesn’t want to come;
it hides from the poet
like a playful cat
who has run
under the house
& lurks among slugs,
roots, spiders’ eyes,
ledge so long out of the sun
that it is dank
with the breath of the Troll King.

Sometimes the poem
darts away
like a coy lover
who is afraid of being possessed,
of feeling too much,
of losing his essential
loneliness-which he calls

Sometimes the poem
can’t requite
the poet’s passion.

The poem is a dance
between poet & poem,
but sometimes the poem
just won’t dance
and lurks on the sidelines
tapping its feet-
iambs, trochees-
out of step with the music
of your mariachi band.

If the poem won’t come,
I say: sneak up on it.
Pretend you don’t care.
Sit in your chair
reading Shakespeare, Neruda,
immortal Emily
and let yourself flow
into their music.

Go to the kitchen
and start peeling onions
for homemade sugo.

Before you know it,
the poem will be crying
as your ripe tomatoes
bubble away
with inspiration.

When the whole house is filled
with the tender tomato aroma,
start kneading the pasta.

As you rock
over the damp sensuous dough,
making it bend to your will,
as you make love to this manna
of flour and water,
the poem will get hungry
and come
just like a cat
coming home
when you least
expect her.

1 July // World Cup // Women Artists

July 7th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

1 July saw Kevin De Bruyne reach nirvana on the field & become my favorite World Cup player, so much so I even designed a teeshirt copying his jersey. His fierce but gentle assists were a wonder to watch.

Belgium, Sophie Podolski, poet, graphic designer. Committed suicide at 21. Admired by Bolaño.

trans. Paul Legault
from The country where everything is permitted

PODOLSKI_PORTRAIT1100We have the Sun by its mane. The firefighters have
written of everything in signs and still the fire-alarms are
sounding. A Letter to The World(s): you are all whores –
where there is good, you break it down until all that was
good is now whores – because this planet is an
incomprehensible whore-planet with nothing in it worth
comprehending. – She is a succubus. – She is the (third-
world) suicide of modern Philosophy (which she never
studied) – why debate the true-or-false-ness of this
demon-woman-hybrid – when all thought is the
awareness that she wants nothing to do with our human
organism and its every function – Doubt is a hysteria that
relieves the frustration of those who have undertaken to
make her up – You are not sages – you are spacemen –
see you later, then – the weed’s in the drawer – do you
really think you can handle what will happen next –
really, on this planet you’re barely on? – someone’s
demanded the total postponement of the mailmen’s
acidic routines – someone’s demanded all these
frightening grotesques be placed into a slow
bureaucracy until we learn through perseverance how to
ban all failures of expression – Behold her, she wants
you to take her Moos literally – Let’s go back to the times
of the steam-trains and the telegraph wires when you
could lose weight as easy as smoke lifts from a railroad
baroness – from page 50 of Dynamo 13: When someone
passes through pleasure, as through a room, he passes
between doubt and certainty – Pleasure is a plastic thing,
is placed in acid – it is what lasts the desire for it. Thus,
we, the Good and the Just, control our own separate
badnesses for the possibility of living without pain – Shed
the red strings of despair – The whale-bones in the
corset collapse at the feet of the endlessly weeping-
willows – the answering machine announces the undoing
of its animal-life – at this, the ham begins to dance again
– the nomadic houseboat rots in the harbor – the caravel
you keep in your lil’ Susie suitcase will never again run
its feet over saltwater – In the Kasba Noissette you strut
around with your nappy hair like one of those Pakistani
widows, sometimes wearing burgundy, sometimes
bustling around like a vacuum cleaner untying knots –
your boys wrestle over the last of the heroin – one falls
asleep in the hallway – in the lobby – in the lab – so he
can get injected with whatever it is that will let him take
off his face, finally – to abandon the mask and enter
tranquility as into sudden applause – the way one
unlaces a boot – They keep my mask in the ice-cube
compartment – in the fridge – for your dinner – Zap-ada! –
Someone must govern the foldaway beds of the
pedophiles – with their hands and asses out on full
display – O, Gallery of the Queen! – Crankily, the little
gentleman barges through – the unkempt bush of the
labiate-badlands – into the thick velvet. – The viola’s
small thighs, – slotted mandatorily under his arms, –
attend his final monument – He is their musician – he
plays “Love or Confusion” by Jimi Hendrix – And
suddenly his instrument is transformed into something
half-bicycle/half-machine-gun – Within the institution of
marriage and animal husbandry everyone sidles up to
the white enamel bar – and with a little help from the
bartender, the girls loosen up enough to waddle off
deeper into the cave to lie down in the hay – like dogs to
lick themselves thirsty – it’s not entirely the opposite of
disagreeable – Mr. Stationmasterrrrrrr – I am the phantom
ghost – I follow the sun because it is leading me to that
paradise – that is my fist – raining down on your little-
doll’s-tea-parties, you dear, you sweet little cabbages –
Meanwhile us admirals are strophe-ing ourselves –
sometimes the cream-cupboard darlings call out: help –
hup – TAXI! – Your luggage rotted – you can never
associate with the malt-shop-Suzies – you, with your
constantly shaven head – I will stand with you in the
shade of a fern, slowly rising into time, and lead our own
two selves, humble and certain, from scrutiny – But it
must be that I am constantly myself and chaos – and am
myself in every remnant of myself – albeit a traumatized
version of myself – on the coast, meeting some future
twin or ghost of myself – You want to take the subway – I
want to buy an ice cream cone – HA! – we are,
essentially, milksmiths – we love our beaten path and if
the sheepdog is crazy, there’s nothing we can do about
it – but graft our pleasure to this EXIT – You can’t take
the boys with you – the amateur sailors you keep on
balconies and on terraces to make it with at your
convenience – who you haven’t granted permission – to
overflow from their ashtrays – to inject themselves with
death – to sever – all that’s you from them – They’re
planning to steal your patio furniture – after putting away
all the leather accessories you keep them in – even their
adorable singlets – because the only life is a life of love –
Destroy – yours, theirs, and the others’ bright academy –
it isn’t necessary – to drink pure lemonade, with two ice
cubes, at all times, endlessly smoking menthols – Quit
your, their, and the others’ constant bitching – it isn’t
necessary – in your parents’ basements, where you hide
away, honing your pinball-skills – two lips and two shiny,
plasticized filets – like your grannies’ gigantic clits – the
cat with its hair standing on end —- like a cumbersome
anxiety – you don’t smoke the joint with me – I am here –
I am there – not here – the wet figs eat themselves – they
eat the other figs, the dates – the cherries – as thieves
tug at the policemen’s sausage – The cops stand around,
mutely eating horse-meat – they never speak – of their
own mythology – but pass into it like the legend of the
hidden airplanes – flying on a train somewhere –
preferring the rhythm of the tracks, passing under – you
wish a Happy Anniversary to the Israeli War – MAO is
becoming younger, bowed at the feet of his great AGE –
China advances – say it – the color-television hen agrees,
in Italian – sometimes mumbling in French or in English –
how at all times they will never love the men they are
saying they love here – the suns’ pin knows that when
the moon fills its basket that the other side of the basket
will be empty – speed’s superb and grandiose
demonettes – are their translucent green – and a trance –
and LUCID – and the winking green eyes’ confessions –
and I am persuaded by – the crisis of phosphorescence –
the 9 black arts of language will turn the palm trees in on
themselves – like conches turned to music – the same
palms feed the air – their exotic makings – each fruit the
color of television – each color for the color blind – a
constant green – little changes in the blue range – and
the red range – a little acid in the orange’s fluorescent –
something’s turning it yellow

Argentina, Norah Borges, painter



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