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parade for hoi polloi


welcome to the ___________________ land.

queerly signed,

plastic transcendence (white lady magic)

the great irony of sex and the city is that a show about the navigation and acquisition of male approval could be hijacked by four women, who manage to turn not only the plot but the very substance of the sitcom into a solipsistic universe of white femininity. this has been said before. what terrible humor the white woman can concoct. what deceitful tales she can tell.

sit com is loosely defined as situational comedy which stands (or, more accurately, sits) for the pleasure of the test audience. hello, are you there? i was just wondering how much they paid you to sit through this shit. maybe you found it in the garbage and thought it well enough to reuse. maybe it appeared on your floor; utility turning forget turning beginning to orphan. maybe it never appeared at all and this is all solipsism turned sour: the kind of white lady resignation carrie bradshaw and her fake friends forced for the camera in season six and movies one, two, and three. blandness, too, can have a sting, like acid battery eating into plastic. oh, maybe that's where you found it. an oozing that turns white to transparent, plastic to air and you can almost make out the coils wrapped beneath rubbery film.

when i was eight my parents enrolled me in a seventh day adventist afterschool program. it was supposed to keep me busy with homework and snacks and playground time, but it came with free bible lessons and conversion therapy which they didn't know about. which they should have known about, because it was a seventh day adventist afterschool program. i met eve and steve for the first time in the red brick church at the corner of richmond and 39th. heard, with my very own ears, in a musky pew (pregnant with a kind of baroque possibility--a rich, maudlin red) of (st)eve's treachery, how they ruined their one chance at an everlasting, pre-transcendental peace. eden is a kind of delicate transparency that garbage bags maintain as sulfur dissolves polyethylene. from the rib of the dumpster, an infelicitous union, an impossible divorce. the white god's prefect represented by plastic--what beautiful deception he can concoct! what sexual tension his bolt exudes, flat and narrow like the pumpernickel expanse of carrie bradshaw's face. maybe that's where you found it. plastic draped like foreskin over cracked shell, now that's


some white lady bullshit

suiyi tang

my life is NOT: toward an aesthetics of depression; the orientation of feminized confessionals ("diaristic"). it is

a bowed head held between one's hands... it is 'my god, my god'... (in lower case, of course, because there is no god)

what do i believe in? the private life

antagonizing culture

mediocrity and melodrama

a scatological dig: a broad city

it is interminable mourning for myself

what does it mean if--a scaffold upon which we hang the tailcoat of our desires, what does it mean if a scaffold upon which we hung the rear cut of the id? got irrationally angry when the barista delivered my lox bagel to the wrong customer. what does it mean--slow, burning anger native to bourgeois mediocrity (which is to say: repressed monotony)

she made me aware of how she eludes all [theory's] efforts to grasp her logically, to reach a knowledge of her. she revealed a fluidity, a will to elude as persistent and as shrewd as other peoples' frankness and self-revelations.

is a rimbaudian innocence a tango with the absurd? it is a method of evasion. the fluidity of partial evacuation: a pendulum between tangled positionalities, so what is natural is an interest in symbols and systems of signification. the best poetry is constant play with the ludic entanglement of partially evacuated positionalities. the best poetry is elusion and illusion, and june, who inspires the feeling of anticipation: constant readiness for the marvelous, an avant garde collage and surrealist orientation of touch--but. poetry is scaffold for a solipsistic tango, the original postmodern project; hypermediated chain of evacuated signification.

the problem with the best kind of poetry, which is to say, no poetry, is its status as a project of meaning. that is: it expresses in form that to which theory aspires in mere words--feelings uncoordinated, various levels at once. the author of best kind of poetry aspires to be the model of literary immortality--the superego's ultimate evacuation. little does she know it is resignation in the project of self; salvation; the preservation of illusion and elusion.

is it possible to exist independently of one's writing--of "self"; character; caricature; is it possible for performative text to overtake the Real (whatever that is: a teleologically scattered position in relation to the mediated "r"eal)?

she lives without pattern, without continuity. as soon as one seeks to coordinate june, she is lost.

what do i value? the coordinates of loss. the incomprehensible, inconsistent logical system. "self" preservation rooted in desire not to give (away), but to possess and "reside" in deracinated poststructural "sub"ject-ivities under a negotiated discursive freedom. isn't that the purpose of elusion, aided by topographical inconsistency, uncertainty? rimbaudian "innocence" that is also tactical brilliance. read: irigaray, on the coordinates of loss. (the home of the speculum)


i hate the phrase NO PROMISES, NO EXPECTATIONS. it is in and of itself a perverse expectation; a twisted promise. freedom in name but without any of its trappings. NO PROMISES: an idealistic longing for freedom. NO EXPECTATIONS:  delusional appeal to freedom which results in final displacement--death of postmodern womanhood. freedom in delusion, freedom in manifestation: a perverse logic.

EVIL IS AS LIFE AS WELL AS GOOD. i want to live without idealism and without ethics. but i am not free. i am incapable of destruction.

june destroys reality; her lies are not lies. they are roles she wants to live out she has made greater efforts than any of us to live out her illusions. but that is only because june is displaced from a "R"eal but bound by narrative trapping in a textual "r"eal. which, if you wish hard enough, manifests into a living, breathing void through which one rediscovers the fleshly body (mummified, floating). but what about the subconscious is there to romanticize? desire, shameful, for hedonism.

to say that freedom is Aestheticism is a gross reduction of freedom's possibilities and the infinitude of the free. "beauty for beauty's sake" is inane, naive, and the worst kind of lie (incidentally, the type of lies i most often tell): a misnomer. to hell with reason, wholesomeness, artificial unity! long live the cartographical impossibility of the haunted assemblage. i cheer for the coordinates of loss to the syncopation of the peanut gallery's chant: NO PROMISES, NO EXPECTATIONS.

if signification is fossilization, my obsession with symbolic inconsistencies and incomplete logical systems is an attempt at movement from the death drive of the lingual archive. anaïs nin reminds me: "you want to force delicate, profound, vague, obscure, mysterious, voluptuous sensations into something. you can seize and violate but will you caricature it? why do you want such clarity from me? . . . i never understood proust's need to know, to be present almost, when albertine was loving someone else" (55). you cannot possess without loving. is the linguistic drive a gesture of perverted love? i want ontological possession: if sex is essential possession. but i just AM. june just IS. a body: no longer tethered by significatory clarity. inconsistency is destruction is: freedom. there is a profound passage in sontag's diary, of early motherhood: ". . . vehemently refuse something and at the same time accept it. For the child, life is so utterly self-centered that there is no impulse to be consistent, which is already a limitation on desire" (78). freedom--destruction--end to discursive limitations on desire. this is what i do not want, i think. i spin from one subjective commitment to another. sometimes, what i just WANT is a staggered victorian in the berkeley hills and a four-year-old girl. do not listen to me: i have nothing worthwhile to say.


suiyi tang
missed ogyny

horror film concept: evacuation from the transbay tube gone wrong. a sea-plus nightmare drowning in fatalistic vapidity. horror film generator: anxiety, self-authoring tick of the Disaster. the audience claps, muted by the iron clasp of the door, which is, really, scripturalization. beyond it, the unforseeable. white light, spiked doorway, so that even the most patagonia-minded rider feels betrayed by the gruesome segregation of the peninsula. white terror, searing rays: can coffee be drunk underground? archway crumbles, crematory ensconced in new money. tintinnabulatory fin. 


the last rite: a rather reductive nihilism that would make sartre snicker. is existentialism humanism? or a solitary imagining of entropic time. solipsistic cynicism: filtered by cartesian cartography. 


i sit across from the most beautiful girl the train has ever seen. her locks guard: the whisper of an angel. her slight pucker: a cherry blossom. the faint trace of a bruise under her eyes: caviar sprinkled over gentle snow. who dares lick the powder from the floor. i swallow, hard. 

angels do not wear soft grey, but wield the blazing archway. so i was taught: sodom and gomorrah has never seen such dispossessed blossoms. new seismicity and i fin. winded. the breath knocked from my stomach. i should like to kiss her–i imagine this is what sartre thought when he heard de beauvoire speak. i should like to kiss: the feline crawl of her eyebrows. nuzzle my nose against the fine lines etched across hooded lids. fin, all quiet on the urban front. 

when she feels my caressing gaze, our eyes meet. my lips simmer and i pucker, minnow against the current. salve: the furnace begs. coal, it might be said, has always glittered against the clang.

suiyi tang

i am running on six hours of sleep and the thought of tinder makes me lurch. not my stomach, me. they say the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. by way of her asshole. you’re the asshole, i say. everyone knows it’s the cervix. 

my mother wakes me up at five in the morning. I HAVE THESE HORRIBLE CRAMPS, she whispers. WE HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. i think of the last time we went to the hospital. WHY DID YOU DO THAT. which would you prefer: a hospital with the veneer of elegance or a blunt one, to the point? CAN YOU HEAR ME. DID YOU DO THIS?

en route to the pharmacy, after the fact, our uber driver flirts with the passenger up front. you can dj if you want, he slides her a shy smile. my mother lurches. santa monica air be damned.

what johanna shatter doesn’t get is that no one wants to read her lyric poetry anymore. no one cares about her ex boyfriends and her contemplative sad white girl moments. sometimes my advisor scares me. when will i stop mattering? i think about you more than i would like. 

i tell you this, in the backseat of your car. the air chokes with anticipation. but you seem unfazed, so i try again. something is elided: i am afraid to ask. we chat about semiotics, the logical contraptions of signification. you relax. 

how do you say friends with benefits in chinese? i ask my mother. i imagine her nubile body contorted around my father’s. soft caramel: i am a golden dusk. we have been a part of the end for a long time, darling. 

i dread move. the way of an empty house, heart. we lurch up the mountainous terrain now paved with silicone, which i imagine to be slippery. i could never climb those hills without tripping. the north: winter is coming. my mother dry heaves. 

for a while i threw up daily in the toilet. so much so that my mother developed an anxious tick whenever the toilet flushed. what form that tick took. i know not. 

they say the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. i am impenetrable. that is a lie i don’t even bother telling you. 

in the waiting room a little girl peers at me. stringy brown hair, toothpick limbs: it’s always those. she turns away quickly when i look up. there are kids who look and there are kids who look. the only difference is whether they care enough not to be scared. it takes this girl half a second to realize i am impenetrable, and, repulsed, she turns away. 

how does it feel to be a monument? the sonorous tenor makes me tremble in anguish, gnash my teeth in rage. to be a monument: vibrating along sonic shackles. i want to punch the man in front of me. his sallow head, his pasty calves, his voice, which wafts fearlessly to the corner of the room. ANSWER MY QUESTION. DID YOU DO THIS?

i think a lot…about how it feels to cavort on the beach. will i grow tired of your voice? so tender, melodic. not unlike what susan used to tell her husband before his echo overtook us both. can i still be a stomach if i sink to the soles of my feet? by the way. don’t tell george lucas but i think: the intergallactic battle is devoid of a heart. richard, too, is devoid of a heart. i blame his pasty calves. 

suiyi tang

somnambulant pulses. i did not dream of you.

At first I took her as being exceedingly proper, but I soon realized that she was simply executing the language. She went word by word. Every letter had a border. I watched her wide full mouth sweep through her sentences like a figure touring a dark house, flipping on spots and banks of perfectly drawn light. The sensuality, in certain rigors.

contention contortion convention cabaret. the rapport lives on interest, borders dancing around the words. converse contort cavort ca… cadaver. sometimes my mother speaks to me from the future and i can feel the scalpel slicing me out of her womb, tongue delicious singing of praise–beauty in sharpness, sensuality in exactitude. i wonder if you read this still.

It was, she cried silently, enough to suffer as a woman, an individual, on one’s own account, without having to suffer for the race as well. It was a brutality, and undeserved. Surely, no other people so cursed as Ham’s dark children.

to miss amiss remiss miss chinatown san francisco. missed wave missed wave missed gait mist grate. she who wears the crown atop ivory skin: surely, no other people so cursed as ham’s dark children, by she. i have not eaten chips in two years. on my own account. to suffer for the race as well. we too possess scalloped cheek folded eye limber stomach and ache ache ache for upturned nose. turnip nose.

yesterday en route to yoga class i thought of a name for my dog. the dog that owns me. paid two grand to have me delivered, caesarian style, out my mother’s womb. two grand for a scalpel; dance to the death, in certain rigor. the dog that owns me named herself lourdes, but i thought: oh my. my. my. that will not do. the umbilical cord, my.

your dad is different, my mom says to me. i do not have the heart to tell her: the umbilical cord, my. the womb, your. my mother smacks her lips. i knew when i met him, that man is unhappy. how must we talk of addiction if not, unless, through pathology? the sick body, rested on the laurels of her chest. postpartum, happy. happy. happy. that will not do.

i think i am addicted: somnambulant sighs, the curve of the spine. aching ovaries. how can longing hurt so, if indeed it is happiness (my) toward which i turn. if indeed it is happiness (yours) toward which i fold. somnambulant sonatas are the only caves in which i can hide. might we dance, i ask you. teach me. my, the umbilical cord, father is different. box step, bontemp, three two one twirl and a one one one one one one one one one one. & fin, to fold body sick in motion, stick on floor. what is she doing now? the sagittarius moon taught me how to waltz, and midstep we let go of that which weighed us down. the sick body, in flight–

som som som somersault soar soon. the hiss of the air ne’er lose you, forlorn. look to the right, and look to the left–

what is left? pass, lass, you are of use to me no more.

suiyi tang
wonder, woman

all i remember: primitivity the shade of chiaroscuro. montage: groveled meeting between the fair and the swarthy. primordial multiculturalism. the world wrapped inside out.

“art is the moral dimension of our living”

after reading laurent berlant’s most recent book in the insulated chamber (wrapped under two wool blankets), i was inspired to write: a repose. feeling otherwise. reactions to the absurd (subtitular mourning). i found myself typing frantically on my phone, plexiglass a pillar of knives. i understood then how fairness could cut. oh my god, why would people light unicorns on fire?

ehat the fuvk is hoing on. so many sci fi horrors / such bullshit. hyperstimulation–i would like to fuck jared leto. that blonde one, ryan gosling. popcorn on sfreen, popping me out. i think im sitting next to a 40 year old man and his mom oh my god ehy eould people light unifocb s on fire

“To be militant without program”

odd sensation. men in war remind me of hemingway. reminder to self: read post-wwii. glorify it. damn.


here is a mechanism of transformation: the mundane meets the absurd and through the framework of PHENOMENA (or is this what forms phenomena) the world is changed and an alternative utopia is envisioned. absurditee a la the phenomenon a la rupture! feeling otherwise, into the shattered glass! a fuzzy video recording: what an anathema to the achievements of feminism. the phenomena as a mechanism through which utopia is imagined. i finally understand kant. still, there is no truth.


pardon me. is this too personal?

is this the sublime, to be returned to a home i once knew. to relive and relocate the feeling otherwise lost to approach
my dreams filled with excitement at the prospect of return, but which
particular kind of crazy: a speculum of inward folding ghosts. can a dream be a fetish, or is it a palimpsest already haunting the disappeared grave marker?



nul[ ;>;<+)’]

[all quotes from hans ulrich obrist’s instagram account. in order of appearance: gilbert and george, torbjørn rødland, john armleder, diébédo francis kéré]

suiyi tang
vertical dreams

YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK — what my advisor tells me. her voice, a thousand frizzles. THIS BLOG IS NOT FOR PUBLIC CONSUMPTION — i tell you, but give you the link anyway. a whisper: read it when i’m not here. a fragment: consume me. polis, public, pub, pubic, pelvis, a portal of portended possibilities; pfft, PFFT . . . PFFT — what i imagine my dog would say if she could talk. when she can talk. I DESERVE TO BE TREATED BETTER.

i haven’t written since my advisor told me i should write a book. A BOOK? WHO WOULD EVEN PUBLISH ME? lose your mother, sadiya hartman says. but it is she who has lost me, i’m afraid. TALENT is a word akin to GIFT akin to GRACELESS. TORTURED. YOU HAVE A TALENT reads: a curse. curse: of adjectival relation to “anathema.” these are not scare quotes.

my parents’ house reads like cardboard collage. everywhere, boxes. HOW CAN THREE PEOPLE OWN SO MANY THINGS — my father is not pleased. he forgets: it is DISPLACEMENT. not ownership. detritus collects the dislocated. nowhere do we find the dissed, lost as she is, locus of the originary orphan. deracination is not so different from dementia.

I LIKE YOU — but i think i am going crazy. WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO HARD. HARD. HARD. HaRd. harD. Duh. reads like sarcasm, but that isn’t part of your vocabulary. THE MOMENT I START WRITING FOR SOMEONE ELSE . . . i still think that the digital archive IS THE BEGINNING OF THE END. but we have been a part of “the end” for a while now. these are not scare quotes, darling

uncle sam keeps texting me: LET’S DANCE FOR REAL. a dance to the death, i think. movie theater: the last time uncle sam fucked me over. reel inequality. i only gagged. spit, don’t swallow–j. alfred prufrock knew the the bloodied hand of love better than e.e. cummings ever could. what an irony.

THIS BLOG IS NOT AN IMITATION OF VIRGINIA WOOLF — i can tell you don’t believe me. this room feels too small for both of us to share, so i let myself out. when you are 140 in dog years, all you need is peace and quiet. I DESERVE TO BE TREATED BETTER. my dog said that. she’s always been kind of a bitch, anyway. you laugh, and i wonder if DOG approximates ROB and BORE and GORE. I THINK I LIKE YOU TOO — but the room: a slate blank save the imperial sun. clench, the bloodied heart, quiver

suiyi tang

did you know. a young condoleeza rice used to live across the hall from benyamin netanyahu’s parents. ?. contempt breeds contempt. my friend The D tells me i have an encyclopedic knowledge of Facts No One Gives A Shit About. correction, i tell him: Known Facts One Gives A Shit About. for example: at the time of buddy holly’s death (plane crash, tender age of 34), his wife (of eight months) had been pregnant with their first child. she miscarried. Known Facts One Wishes To Give A Shit About: good things do not everyday happen to good people.

sometimes my mother speaks to me from the future, and i feel the scalpel cutting me out of her womb. when i move to san francisco, i will have to take care of two dogs. empty the trash. slide across wooden floors by myself. familiarize the wind. mist. crayon-marked walls anew. when she leaves, i will have to lock the door. when we leave, the carcass of the grass will shudder in relief. can a mausoleum be alive? when you leave, but no, you never really leave. it’s only a matter of when, but not how. when i leave the effigy of the monument stands, and all we have to show for it is eternal ignorance. does amnesia amount to immortality? forged in the dew of stale saliva. orgasmic light be damned.


  • she loved to talk loudly, had an abnormally large forehead, and an asymmetrical jawline. that’s all i really knew about her.
  • brilliant, but could never get a clue. you know what they say, you learn some, you miss others . . . and she was always weighed down by the absence of the others.
  • thoughtful, interesting to talk to. woman of integrity. nubile body, mostly funny. (but i’m lying. she was, most importantly, servile in the best way.)
  • i wished for her to join me. i have yet to return her voice, pay her the deposit. she was always on loan, you see.
  • she was vain, spoiled, oft depressed, and had a predilection for tantrums. but i loved her simply for the fact that she was mine. her narcissism only made her more in my likeness.
  • i wish she had lived to love me under the aurora borealis. when i see her next, i will remind her of the knife she left in my drawer. my bruise the size of a fetal kiss.

did you know, my best friend connie once told me. that the chemical compounds of ash take on the molecular structure of an X. really: i imagined a hundred thousand X’s scattered across an urn, quadriceps so fine they threatened to cohere. HERE LIES XXXXXX XXX. XXXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXX. Known Facts One Gives A Shit About: the dead don’t really haunt us. it is we who haunt them.

when two sets of lips cohere, an X is formed. she signs the letter: till death do we part. what X has joined together, let X put asunder. can a mausoleum be alive? if so, let X run her heart out, away from her own spindly limbs. let the wind blow her into the sky, until she is ash no more, but sand. cohering on nothing but bare flesh, sliced open by sweet fetal kisses.

suiyi tang

have you ever been afraid to do the math. vive la joie, right. well, i did the math, and i found myself 90 dollars poorer. who decreed that makeup salespeople be so good at their jobs. who made acquisition so sweet. consumption, incorporation, en corps, en carnal desire. vive la joie.

my parents have been emailing with my advisor. courteous gestures punctuated by misplaced commas, the fold speaking to its shores. my father signed his last email, “benoit gauche.” none of us knew what that meant. my mother said it was a typo but we all knew otherwise. the only french i know: fuck. you. oui. how gauche.

therapeutic is an adjective that should be permanently restrained from exercise. endorphin mixes well with self righteousness, so let’s not lie to ourselves. the gesture of meditation can’t substitute meditation itself. metaphors only stretch so far before they dissipate into the new age. nothings.

i wonder what my advisor thinks about the fact that i have taken up yoga. this is something that has slipped the email exchange. how do you write, “i channel my inner guru, my best teacher” in proper english? broken tongues can’t fathom the razors of the fold. they have already been sliced into oblivion. hands to your heart, namaste.

i am waiting for a text from a boy. i wonder if such gestures of peace can disappear the tittering of my chest? of my clit. who knows. too bad my name isn’t eve: sedgewick, ensler. namaste, exhale the binary. inhale, move your spine into a cobra. peace

suiyi tang
13 faces of cate & i

we sit on the narrow strip of sand, splayed blankets a colorful juxtaposition against crumbling rock. to wrap the entropic in cloth. i arch backwards, feel the breeze sigh against my glistening forehead. all is but sun and sea, and brine, slapping me on the ass.

recently my friend danny has gotten it in his head that we are to be instagram famous. sure, i tell him, why not? i have always wanted to be a model. i think everyone our age wants to be a model, he responds. a jagged slice of rock breaks through the shadow of his hair. we talk about skinny gaga, how weird has become the new cool, that queer is now the new crew. gaga has dropped the a. her glitter now gags. when everyone has on a wig, hair becomes obsolete. there is no longer anything to cover.

i used to be skinny. in fact, ask my mother. she is always slyly checking the circumference of my upper arm. gauging how much meat hangs from the needle we call bone. meat–tender, caramelized by the sun. you’ve lost some weight again, she notices on our walk. oh? i say, feigning surprise. we have had this contention for years, now, ever since i hit peak bottom of 100 pounds. at five foot eight, i stood like a slender pine. the wind whistled through my hair, threatened to escape through the crevices of my spine. my mother was once a pine, and even now she worries about the direction of the wind. she has not been 100 pounds since she became pregnant with me.

it has been almost ten years since the release of fame monster, danny and i realize. when do icons die? or is their immortalization only consummated through ossification. i feel like fun is reserved only for the famous, danny tells me. the only way to know anyone do anything is to be somebody. kylie jenner’s catch-22: the only way to live in los angeles is to be somebody. the only way to be somebody is to live.

danny tells me all this as he snaps pictures of me. i practice lounging, imagining a sun-kissed mausoleum. why do non-black people want their ashes scattered in the sea? for all her verse, even dionne brand cannot answer that question. but she knows: nothing dies of old age in the sea. under the effigy of once-crustal cliff, i arch my back in approximation of down dog. channel my inner guru, my most important teacher. namaste, forget the corpse of the ground. exhale.

suiyi tang
mm, baby, spill verbiage on me

have you ever wondered what it would be like to fuck a genius. have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a genius being fucked. i don’t, because i can tell you what it’s like.

my parents are thinking about taking a weekend trip to sacramento, but you never know with them. “now” is never “now” or always “later,” and seldom “soon.” so i am told we live on a merry-go-round of portended possibilities. my mother asks me why i am so intent on their weekend trip. i need some space, i tell her. i see her eyes calculating the number of guests i will bring over. zero. she looks away. maybe.

when you are a genius fucking another genius, foreplay is abstracted. there are jokes. no talk about nietszche, because you are the ubermensch–respectively, but that is to say, collectively. everything is pixellated; things move out of order. there is a frenetic buzz. only, you are not sure if it is the hum of anti-matter or if it is the ungraspable sexual tension or if any of it matters at all, really.

my mother closes her laptop screen and rises from the table. i can see that she is upset with me, but it is a gentle kind of rage. she is confused, but in her confusion she finds blame. i am driven crazy, stirred by chipping paint and a swirl of plastic hair. please give me some space, i say. we narrow our eyes at each other. behind me, my father grunts. the elephant in the room has awakened.

i once gave my instagram handle to an uber driver with braces. he was a manager, as they all are in tinseltown, but all i could see were the glittering chips guarding his teeth. he asks, what brings you to los angeles? i say, i’m just here for school. he says he’s managing an artist named chill zee. new album out, have i heard of it? no, i say, but i like hip hop. we riff on chance the rapper, common, the good days when rap was a colored man’s sport and i was not yet born. i say i want to go into the entertainment industry but i don’t think i’d make it. he says sure you will, you are very pretty. he says he’s always looking for models to star in chill zee’s music videos. i give him my instagram handle, sure that a few sexy pictures never did hurt anybody. we grouse about the surveillance state and how no one can own anything, anymore.

the last time i had sex, i was high, rocking back and forth in the front seat of a KIA compact. can the absurd inspire truth? i could almost see the halo of the aurora borealis, then. the thought of the absurd — a la absurditee a la the lite a la the light, the real one — swam lazily across my mind; soft, pink, aching. i will tell you what it’s like to be a genius being fucked, because i am though surely not a genius too secure in my own mediocrity to admit otherwise. i wonder if geniuses don’t engage in synaptic explosion like the rest of us. isn’t it true that a tenet of refined intelligence is a magnified appreciation for pleasure which is to say geniuses give and receive the most delightful cunnilingus… to receive without consuming. to give and receive without aspiring to beauty for beauty’s sake

my uber driver follows me on instagram and liked five of my most recent pictures, gracing one with a heart eye emoji. the offer never comes. thank goodness.

suiyi tang

i think the objects of masturbation should be made conscious of their use. conscientious masturbation. it’s the only ethically minded way to do it, short of excising sexual desire entirely.

this is what i wonder when i think about you. i have a hard time imagining you masturbating. maybe i don’t want to. i don’t know you at all, only feel parts of you: an arm, the shadow of a cheek, forehead dressed in sweat, a glimpse of dark waves in the ashy light. maybe it’s not fine. i’m in too deep; or, you’re in too deep. whatever. i threw out love letters with my ex, lost them amongst her affirmative nothings.

“we should do this again,” you murmur, and i grunt in agreement. but sated, we forget you ever said it.

all i can hear now is the rumble of my father talking and my mother’s unsteady chopping in the kitchen, so i put you away. a faint breeze rustles the shades. there is no sweat to speak of.

suiyi tang
love tweets

“what are the advantages of twitter over facebook,” my advisor texts me. where do i begin? “for starters,” i reply,

  • a 140 character-cap is surprisingly conducive to conversation. you keep sentences short, evade unnecessary details
  • twitter is ripe ground for the personal and public to comingle. corporate talk, yes, but also public scholarship #discourse
    • sub 1: academics and activists engage frequently and fruitfully. their conversations are made public & available for input of hoi polloi
    • sub 2: many artists of color turn to twitter as the next front of dem expression. vaguely imperialist metaphor, but along a shrinking horizon
      • …of digital grassroots accessibility
    • sub 3: this is further exemplified in the accts of chelsea manning, julian assange, bhanu kapil. twitter is the stronghold of the subaltern
      • …we are just waiting for assata shakur to get on the blue bird & rehabilitate the revolution from cuba
    • sub 4: cheeto dictator is an anomaly. but his performance of mania speaks only to the grassroots intimacy broached by the tweet
  • you never use facebook anyway so i doubt you’ll actually end up using twitter, though you’d be a hilarious & smart addition to the cmty
    • sub 1: most your academic friends don’t have twitters (fred moten, david eng, jared sexton). but i’m sure they’re also thinking about it.
    • sub 2: despite what you say, you are not an old lady. though i do have a hard time imagining you using social media, it’s true.
  • so anyway, just give it a try. kenny g is a crack. bhanu kapil is a genius! and contemptorary just keeps getting better.
    • sub 1: i’m on twitter. though i think we both hear me talk enough.
    • sub 2: ANTIRACIST TWITTER is pretty fire
    • sub 3: anyway. you rock and i hope you know that
suiyi tang
would you make love to a mannequin? or, an ode to my sexual history

i try to keep the private private. for instance: my instagram is private, my facebook is null. my mom knows nothing about my love life, and my friends think i’ve gone crazy. my snapchat is explicit, but that’s another story. there’s a way in which the private refuses to stay private. you know?

i’ve only ever been intimate with one boy. tristan, his name. we met at music camp, which is about the worst that you can do. but we were young. i was stuck in an extended gone with the wind phase, and when you can’t get your ashley, you go with a rhett. so fuck it.

camp was a magical experience. i remember that it was always cold. we slept outside amongst the redwoods . . . which was cool, until the morning frost hits, and you can’t feel your face anymore. for some reason, no one ever complained of paralysis except for me. but truth be told, the frost wasn’t too bad. since i was always too expressive, it calmed my facial nerves down just enough. now that facial freezes are in vogue, it occurs to me that my early morning freezes were a remarkable precedent.

this was back in the day, before tinder and bumble and class-specific dating. the only matches we were getting were micro-penises, to light the bonfire. things were exciting, then. there was the prospect of the hunt. and we were young enough to confuse mediocrity for melodrama.

i was mesmerized with tristan’s fingers. and his eyebrows, how fine its strokes were! oh, my poor heart. even now i get butterflies at the thought of those eyebrows.

i am convinced tristan is the reason i have only ever dated dark-haired boys. and i remember thinking, if tristan were an event, there would be no before or after. if tristan were the temporal epicenter of my desire, everything would fall prey to his gravity. there is only living in the aftermath of tristan, his shadow stretching longer than the redwoods.

i think about the easy fit of tristan’s eyebrows against my forehead, but i am never able to sustain its sensation for long. tristan has long disappeared. it is a shell of him that haunts me.

i still believe in the prospect of a non-white ashley, but i have joined online dating. for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be gone (with the wind), there is hope for a semi-permanent evacuation. something the shape of a leaning redwood, to warm our cheeks. to put us to sleep.

suiyi tang
a few of my favorite scenes

in no particular order:

  • the creepy kitty on the cover of cruel optimism
  • hideko’s scissoring grip during the handmaiden‘s third and most thrilling sex scene
  • the end of the first chapter in christina sharpe’s second book
  • every time frank wilderson writes the phrase “ontological impossibility”
  • joan didion’s commas
  • joan didion’s absent “and”
  • every vague montage of nicholas young’s face in crazy rich asians
  • the horizon of lack–said; utopia–muñoz ; these are moments
  • asian woman 1 screaming at audience, “songs of the dragons flying to heaven”
  • the scopophilic corridor ; me
  • the speculum ; you
suiyi tang

sometimes statements of fact come as unsolicited opinions. “i saw your blog,” my friend tells me. we are faded, ambling down an complex-studded street. typical urban l.a., minus us. the dusky haze has shielded his expression. i look over, but he sports only an expectant look.

next door to my parents’ apartment (dingy; slightly brown from age; faux-modernist interior), there lives a woman with a chihuahua. we share with her a narrow staircase, framed by cobwebs. i do not know who is home more often: the woman, me, or the dog. i do not know why the dog offers his daily rehearsal. what i do know is that at the echo of a pat (the cough of a conductor’s baton), he begins a symphony of yaps. it is vicious, incessant. perversely postmodernist. just me, i told him, and when he didn’t stop: suck my dick. i stuff the baton down his throat. enough with artistic evaluation.

sometimes i wonder what it’s all for. can the inscrutable be consumed. have i been vaccinated–against my doctor’s recommendations–by the consumptive impulse. ?. i say i didn’t remember releasing the link. i ask my friend what he thought about the blog anyway. the expectant look shifts, crowds smug incognizance: “it’s…interesting”
a symphony could have fit in the suggestion of the pause. i cough. he says, “do you want krista to read it.” tap tap. i don’t care, i say. i’m not writing for her. yap yap. a silent encore before i swallow the song. he eats the baton. that’s how the chihuahua died, on a cliff; the audience didn’t even clap.

suiyi tang
put put

the hammer is the most unimpressive museum i have ever been to. it is a gnat on the face of all other museums–scratch. it is like all other museums, so, a giant larvae pod glittering with the performance of progressive bloom. an infelicitous consummation of capital and self righteousness. like: the John V. Tunney Bridge curves into an installation piece that is simply: end White suPremacy. black print against red fluorescent base, 2015, artist, poor bloke who believes he can change the world with Art. or die trying. to subvert the wealth of the ruling class by selling his tears. you tell them, but you’re screaming into a literal tree. so guess what, boy: John V. Tunney doesn’t care about your statement piece. his bridge bends its back to slap you.

that’s the problem with white aesthetics such as that which clutters the breach of the hammer. without real stakes (in the dome of the vault gallery; roundabout of the guggenheim; the grecian facade of the getty), they comprise a self-consuming game of pretend. two women coddle a sobbing toddler at the mouth of the John V. Tunney Bridge. why do people bring babies to museums, unless to reaffirm the museum’s inherently useless quality? as a place so purposeless even babies–the most potent of us–fail to grasp any semblance of potential.

payne and tanaami have cluttered a domed crevasse with drawings of japanese monsters feeding rocket ships up their butts. something something approximation of japanese arcade game visuality. looks like obsession with anal penetration, to me. directionality, desire, consumption. of who? mass culture does not care to be abstracted into such sterile forms. missiles are penile whether they are pixellated or not. payne wishes to penetrate–tanaami, octo-limbed schoolgirl, the orient–so desperately that the marble floors of the gallery are littered with the ash of his desire. tanaami splays androgynous agents across reams of silky paper. someone should go watch some hentai already.

the hammer doesn’t know what it wants or what it is. its carcass sits like a glorified playpen in the ash of the city. the color must be right, the installation perfectly arranged, but can we cut the shit? who has time for oversized adult toys when the city is burning? you don’t have to sell ‘water is life’ to me as if a cup of beer. public sex requires only a condom and consenting parties. don’t hold it in a mausoleum. isn’t it all a game of make-believe, anyway?

suiyi tang
exit wound

the important things go unsaid, like, i went to the piercing shop to get my cartilage piercings looked at, then they took my infected jewelry out of my pus-encrusted ear. the whole time i was thinking “good riddance,” shivering horribly while my piercer cooed nonsense like, “oh, that was in your body” as if he were miming cunnilingus, very medically vague at that. i suppose the masochistic desire for fleshly puncture is not so different from the carnal desire for orificial penetration.

whenever i say the word penetration, i think about my ex-best-friend krista. we used to have a joke about penetration, but i don’t tell it anymore because it makes me too sad. basically the premise was that we understood implicitly the violence of heterosexual sex, both of us being straight-coded semi-gay girls. the premise was also that we understood the catch-22 of being a hypersexualized east asian femmes trying to, you know, rock it. reclaim it or something. i forget.

i got my infected piercings done with krista in st. marks, at a piercing shop called ‘elite’. it was more cube than shop, but it was much nicer than any of the other ones on the street, so we, with our bourgeois sensibilities, had no other choice. in retrospect i would have said to my 19 year old self, never trust cubical chic. and, do not aspire to be a member of the ruling class. but i didn’t know what i do now, which is that my friendship with krista was much like the to-be-infected piercings. a bad trip that turns progressively worse. i think, now, that the piercings were the beginning of the end.

after he took out my blood-rusted jewelry, my piercer scraped the inside of my ear with a gauze pad and applied dabs of medicinal gel. i could feel something oozing in my ear, but i was afraid of asking too many questions. those piercers know what they’re doing, and they don’t like it when you try to assert yourself. krista was always very good at asserting herself while pretending that she wasn’t, but i was always the more verbally abrasive one. it was very easy to play good cop, bad cop that way. a slap on the wrist, in goes the needle. almost painless. but now i was by myself; there was no needle going in, only dubiously rusted gold coming out. i pinched my forefinger, but it did nothing to stop the pain. krista had asserted her way out of my life, leaving only a bad exit wound behind.

i saved the jewelry, even though my piercer told me not to. i remember thinking, what a waste my 20s are.

suiyi tang
exercise in humility

i was trying to be less !. this manifested in: excising ! from my textual declarations. lowering my voice in speech. being constantly conscious of volume in speech. excising squealing from my vocabulary. adopting a white sonic aesthetic. look at me, i can use words like barthe, pinot grigio, shibboleth, zizek, etc. too bright, off-white.

do you know why i failed? damned ! in perpetuity, to the glee of men like jim lambast. a word weaver, he fancies himself. sits in the arm of sinecurism, spends time refuting charges of racism. ardent defender of neoliberal anti-identity politics. we are all the same but cannot sing kumbaya. the book of aron is dead. he never had a song.

jim lambast and his (ex-student-cum-)wife karina discovered me at a dinner with a pulitzer prize–blah, blah, blah. who had slicked back hair, form fitting suit. a trim kind of masculine, with a seamless vocabulary to match. proclaimed leftyish, though unarticulated. silent during the white man’s war of anti-identity proclamation, made me want to curl up in a closet, to escape his calculating…torso (racialized, indeed).

jim lambast discovered me in the slicked back lobby of his founder’s groin. karina had drilled stubbornly after the drops “revolution,” “teleological obscurity,” and “coloniality of power” flowed from my lips. big, fat droplets. dewey from exertion. a dewiness potato jim and sprout-wannabe karina open their mouths toward; pine for, unknowing.

i wish i’d spit on him. you still want to cackle, jim. ?. stammered away in your crumpled trench coat. does it please you to know, we will never exist as possessives to you? !. we are not: derivatives of an already dying twig. when you lie awake at night, bothered by an unscratchable itch just beyond the horizon of your scrotum, know the prickling sensation for what it is. a curse on your                  !

suiyi tang