Meaning plenitude is desirable. If the way you’ve let yourself in is plastic, heaven help you, stay plastic. Genocidal (Hegelian, Cartesian) thought would have you thinking that plastic entrance begets human affect, but when I was young I could tell, looking at lilies, that the impression the paint made on the canvas utterly encapsulated a vacuum which was between myself and the lily, that is, that once you’ve made it to any end it is only the process which is the subaltern which speaks, and because it has captured itself, like a circular camera, unto a mirror that nothing can see inside. And I could tell this because I looked and didn’t linger; if I had lingered, I would have been wondering, and since I didn’t linger I didn’t wonder, and since the expression of hunger always comes after the impression of eating, I can tell I didn’t wonder discreetly because I didn’t linger. But now I am soured. I often want to scream and much gnashing of testament teeth. I haven’t been this angry since high school, the last time the only implication of my voice was its perpetual immutability. So every time I have a thought I feel as if I only have it because it cannot be heard. So the way I speak is by acting, and the way you hear me is because I tell you how I’ve acted and you get to think as if you know I’ve spoken. The queerer the world gets, the more quiet out of its words and better with dance, flight and delicious scents. Heteronormativity is thus the fat sperm of lazy malaise: humanism an apologesis of the whorish, grumpy white savior industrial complex, as per Cole. Oddly enough this puts me at a strange odds. How have I navigated mental illness? Indirectly. Embrace the affect to flatten one’s body and sever the umbilical between itself and its lofty neo-classical source. Leave the arches moping and abandoned. In Weequahic park I saw them there, and knew that I could only love them abandoned, or flat as my spine pressed and skewered on rosemary between two bricks on a grill by a pond where there are bodies found, paths submerged, garbage rinsed. But even a theory of everything which disavows all theories of everything is disavowed by itself. This makes my queerness apocalyptic: if everyone acts indirectly, everything will be solved. If everyone ignores war, it will end. And so this iteration of queerness is very mysticism oriented and anti-photoshop, that by editing the world instead of its source, the world we desire will become superimposed on itself, and the lofty source we believed to be underneath us subverted, and floating above us, where it cannot be reached and from whence revelation cannot be reclaimed. In my queerness god becomes the truest subaltern… the one birthed only because he cannot speak. So let him be the only one we cannot hear. But follows my crossroads, and the odds I am at, that what we cannot hear we cannot silence. And so the queer act which removes oneself from the world, is this the construction of a new perceived privilege. That because the role does not represent an innate principle or platonic ideal, then the disavowal of the role is the creation of the role, and so why not embrace the role? If acting like a man cannot make me a man, then why conspicuously disavow manhood? Why decry heteronormative impulses if there is no true heterosexuality manifest anywhere? Queerness, here, becomes a god best iterated (and if not best, most clearly to me) in Islam: imagine two people seated on rolling platforms, their hands pressed together. They then push against each other, and roll away in opposite directions. One is god now, and the other is humankind. The space created thusly between them is perception in its totality, and both exist as a mirror image of each other, but both are created only as the potential for distance between them is actualized in a primordial separation. An apocalypse consists of their being reunited by some process of mutual disavowal of the potential space between them, or of the rolling individuals coming back together to arbitrarily repress their separation, just as amoral, indifferent and without ideology as their togetherness. And so if my queerness is hypocritical, it is attempting to be the apocalypse, or the return, when in fact it is staging a perpetual separation between the perceived god called cis-heteronormativity and itself, the perceived humankind. This iteration of queerness is circumscribed on conservative spirituality, in which the ongoing refinement and playing of roles retains a fundamental separation between subjects and objects, both impossible, without which their separation cannot be conceived of (and said separation must be conceived of, as consciousness retains category theory in its very generation of experience, and vice versa). At once it is postmodern: action and ritual, or the disavowal of ontology for Baudrillard’s hyperreality; Rumi’s anitheses; Santeria’s reciprocity, as a means of attaining direct action via indirect means, but it is also depravedly modern, in its fetish for separatism in hopes of an evangelical tug which will revise the economy, the dustbowl, and physics in its totality via continuing revelation. There’s the rub. Continuing revelation is impossible when all ideology is eschewed for nihilist phenomenology, because what is revealed has a hidden source, forever subaltern, impossible to reclaim, and only reclaimed on the condition that it is impossible to reclaim. This iteration of queerness cannot end wars because it renames war “god,” deems it a transcendental signifier, and then mimics its qualities, as Jesus did both god and humankind, in order to jump right in, argue without arguing, partake in the same damn molestation as Christianity does when it says “socioeconomic freedom is imperceivable, because value is constructed: reach for a higher value, let oppression be freedom!” So this iteration of queerness says: your body is queer because you were born dead, named to be nameless, and only speak, and it can be illuminated with physics, proofs, nihilism, because you cannot be heard. All that can be heard of you is when I wander around Weequahic park and take up space at time and record it and pretend, because simulation is reclaimed from the real, that you are pretending to think of it before I did it in order to give me the impression of hunger, which I can then superimpose on you, like a virus, like an abuser risen down from a hot hell-sun in the flat, dead sky. The only way this queer body can speak is by reinscribing the violence that converted it in the first place, when two wombs said “let’s have another” and pushed, pushed, came out crying, into the light blood and darkness, locked out of a pink, damp slab. But do I take issue with this? No. I’ve never solved what I didn’t regurgitate.
Lavender McCaffrey is a writer, musician and photographer based in New Brunswick, NJ. Their art typically concerns abrasively contemporary queer theory, unearthing and navigating peculiarly obscured traumas, the religious history of urban New Jersey, and experiences teaching children music. Their most recent interest is in confusing, poorly taken pictures of the ocean.