My posting frequency is rapidly declining (currently at about 1 a year, maybe 2) but I refuse to give up the blog- so here is a transcript of the poem, or whatever it was (pop lyrical text, I think I described it as), that I read as an intro to Shaka McGlotten’s keynote, Knitting and Knotting Love, at Transmediale 2019.
I’ll post up the video as well soon!
“Anyway, as we were invited to do something more “performative”, I decided that instead of presenting a formal intro, I would try and channel some of the themes in Shaka’s talk- particularly reciprocity, attraction, attachment and love mediated through material, digital and cosmic networks- within a form of collaborative authorship.
So, with their permission I’ve woven together their talk with a whole backlog of iPhone notes written in various states of crushing or being crushed, with the help of some rhyming code, to create a sort of pop-lyrical text on love as both a manifestation of ecstatic, erotic energy and something that gets all too messy, and all too readily packaged up into the heteronormative couple form…”
A cosmic game of hide and seek.
reaches out to brush my cheek.
We joke about the many hues of blue.
Hair dyes washed out like free fall too.
You smile with the heat of my attention
with this level of eyeball retention
You could be putting me towards your pension
Now I don’t even stop for air,
Quantifying vibes that aren’t even there
My marks are mixed in the numinous ones
we associate with falling in love.
Expanding across borders to speak in half-tongues
of whatever nonsense you can think of.
She has my finger in my throat and in my eyes,
While we work out how to both end up looking like nice guys.
“If you want to stay in control,
You have to do to something to fill the hole”
“No, no,” G-Skillz protested in vain-
giggling and blinking like sixteen again-
It may not even matter to you
but Kit was bossy as a professor too.
And they know the output, some kind of delight.
My eyes ran with tears of the endless night
It was all just white, the white of eyes rolled back in the bin.
dive in, feel the soft air and salt water slide over your skin
Heart palpitations, new notifications,
nipples getting hard, the winning scratch card-
I don’t want to come I don’t want to give way
When freezing an angry fake smile on my chin
like one of those cheap Lidl face masks claims to be clay
As it scours off the top layer of your skin
Sure, they’re always ready to get naked together,
But he just dropped the compass altogether
of your seemingly quiescent smartphone screen,
an act made touchy by our attachments in between
Asphalt hits my cheek as I lie in the dust
how I got here is anyone’s guess
but I can get myself a little high,
in the spot where the land meets the crisp blue sky.
Where my poles ran wild in every direction
magnets deranged by rumination
Cars drive by regardless as I am much smaller than before
Sleep comes as a sweet friend who never asks for more
Where I wander now makes no sense without you
Searching for something, anything to plug into
The realm of Hungry Ghosts grows ever near
reflecting black mirrors of your own gut fear,
Nobody has even asked how I got to this cliff face.
Maybe my mind is the channel thru which they access this space?
Far from him again, far from anything I call love
All I ever wanted was to feel unashamed of
your feelings, and that fine ass, and
all of it is made of the same old stuff,
and most of it’s just recycled guff
What’s love but a second hand emotion?
What’s desire but over-designed gamification?
Let’s see you with your pants off then, see what you’re all about
I don’t even follow through what I’m attempting to carry out
Just cos you’re a ‘feminist’ doesn’t mean that you should
do what like any old regular dickhead would
My housemate says don’t put that on twitter
which is funny bc that’s also what you said
through the hangover heavy, the dawn cold bitter
logout and delete, reinstall and repeat
you’re so clueless you probably don’t even realise this post is about you
I try to look at it, say get over yourself.
Like what you do to your Self, forgets itself.
Obviously none of this makes sense
Tantra isn’t about transcendence
but about facing your own impermanence
Ying and yong, ping and pong
all the clues were red, red heart, orange smile, green face
So how was your security experience today?
black hole, black box, funny ghost, tumbleweed, not so funny ghost, cry face
Who needs a heart when a heart can be toxic?
So I am going to overstate her case against love
For the good of others with every reason I can think of.
Kathy- I feel extremely tired and sad,
thinking of what we could have had
Maybe you haven’t twigged before,
and I don’t know who I trust anymore.
How can I do this to a supposed friend?
Since this performance has no end
Sparky is animated while talking about his realization.
last time i check the app says I’ve done 740 hours of meditation
even more now I started on the anti-sleep medication
but whatever you do, you can’t escape you
that’s the bit that even Headspace can’t do
And all bonds soaked through with power plays too-
I remember that he fears me a bit, and that’s just fine-
While i’m making a mess Of lives intertwined.
Sparky casts a very broad net
into the deep feels of my regret
here on it’s ambivalence all the way round
catching traces of songs as they echo valley down
[sing greek song- τι ήσουνα για μένανε/ ti esouna yia mena]
I no longer puff up useless men.
Plant them where they’ll never sprout hope again
And that includes (the many) people I’ve only fantasised about-
Sparky waits patiently until my story’s spun out.
I remove the plastic and I know I’ll survive- I always do.
I may not be fucking HAPPY but I am better now too
You call me friend, and that’s not entirely bad.
I felt so safe and loved with kin, even if you never had
Thankfully there’s playfulness as well-
This whole damn building is their hotel
For all of it is just molecules, don’t you see?
Yeah, nobody sees through you more than me
Shaka McGlotten is a social anthropologist with a background in the fine arts. They are the author of Virtual Intimacies: Media, Affect, and Queer Sociality, and Dragging; Or, the Political Aesthetics of Drag. They have co-edited Black Genders and Sexualities with Dana-ain Davis and Zombie Sexuality with Steve Jones. They are currently working on Black Data. Their work has been supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Akademie Schloss Solitude, and the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation.
More info on their work here: