︎featuring texts from esther perel 


commentary on esther perel’s mating in captivity, regarding maintaining space for desire in long-term relationships


mating in captivity

︎ personal commentary

Mating in Captivity, by relationship and sex therapist Esther Perel, works to differentiate and locate the issue of desire within modern day monogamy. She situates her discussion on diminishing desire within long-term relationships, stating that “eroticism requires separateness—it thrives in the space between the self and the other.”

Perel considers the issue of desire within America—specifically the religious guilt and performance anxiety often inhibiting freedom of an individual’s sexuality. She states that “we used to moralize; today we normalize, and performance anxiety is the secular version of our old religious guilt.”

Throughout the text Perel works to address the commonality of a failed sex life in relation to America’s “fix-it” mentalitly, claiming that Americans often attepmt to solve sex as a function rather than sex as an act of pleasure. This is discussed as a focus on functioning rather than on sexual feeling.



︎ I feel like I can give you everything without giving myself away.




    

solving sex as function vs sex as pleasure



        ︎featuring texts from patti smith 



pulled from patti smith’s auguries of innocence. words written for family, friends, and lovers. 


the lovecrafter

I saw you who was myself
slightly stooped whistling mouth
with leather sack and breeches down
striding the naked countryside

with summer bones long and dry
into the breadth of our glad day
mid afternoon the longer night
as you tread bareheaded bright

I saw you a wraith bemoan
stir the fires if the ancient ones
scarred with sticks pome and haw
as the nectar for their script

I saw you walk the length of the fields
far as the finger of Providence
far as the mounds we call hills
ranges cut from the heart of slate

I saw you dip into your sack
scattering seeds where they may
as the woodsman hews his way
through oak ash and vibrant pines

for writing desks that shall reflect
a sheaf of lines that speak of trees
all sober hopes required within
all drunkenness as sacred swims

I saw the book upon the shelf
I saw you who was myself
I saw the empty sack at last
I saw the branch your shadow cast



︎ I saw you who was myself.




wilderness

Do animals make a human cry
when their loved one staggers
fowled dragged down
the blue veined river

Does the female wail
miming the wolf of suffering
do lilies trumpet the pup
plucked for skin and skein

Do animals cry like humans
as I having lost you
yowled flagged
curled in a ball

This is how
we beat the icy field
shoeless and empty handed
hardly human at all

Negotiating a wilderness
we have yet to know
this is where time stops
and we have none to go


the leaves are late falling

The leaves are late falling, the plane trees
gowned as to partner air.

Star to star, they hold fast in the cold
light filtering music.

Two hands ago these fingers were yours,
folding a guitar placed by our son

closing his eyes, a mentrnome pacing
the percussion of an errant wind

as the lid fastened, marking time,
year’s mind and mind’s end.

In a circle, on a rise, currents waltz
the restive plane,

their gowns loosening, they fall
one by one shimmering,

singing as their word
that somewhere you are good.



        ︎featuring texts from maggie nelson & renee gladman 



an honest history between lovers and a commentary on the post-love experience. entries pulled from renee gladman’s calamities and maggie nelson’s bluets and the argonauts.


bluets

︎maggie nelson

18. A warm afternoon in early spring, New York City. We went to the Chelsea Hotel to fuck. Afterward, from the window of our room, I watched a blue tarp on a roof across the way flap in the wind. You slept, so it was my secret. It was a smear of the quotidian, a bright blue flake amidst all the dark providence. It was the only time I came. It was essentially our lives. It was shaking.


95. But please don’t write again to tell me how you have woken up weeping. I already know how you are in love with your weeping.


188. How often I’ve imagined the bubble of body and breath you and I made, even though by now I can hardly remember what you look like, I can hardly see your face. 


237. In any case, I am no longer counting the days.


︎ I feel like I can give you everything without giving myself away.



the argonauts

︎maggie nelson

You’ve punctured my solitude, I told you. It had been a useful solitude, constructed, as it was, aound a recent sobriety, long walks to and from the Y through the sordid, bougainvilleastrewn back streets of Hollywood, evening drives up and down Mulholland to kill the long nights, and, of course, maniacal bouts of writing, learning to address no one. But the time for its puncturing had come. I feel I can give you everything without giving myself away, I whispered in your basement bed. If one does one’s solitude right, this is the prize.

Sometimes one has to know something many times over.

But some revelations do not stand.

She needs a lover—am I that name?

I think my mother is beautiful. But her negative feelings about her body can generate a force field that repels any appreciation of it.

I don’t know why she has never seen herself as beutiful.

After the movie had finished, the screen flashed a parting dedication: “to the queerest of the queer.” The audience applauded, and I applauded too. But inside the dedication felt like a needle zigzagging off the record after a great song. Whatever happened to horizontality? Whatever happened to the differene is spreading? I tried to hold on to what I liked most about the movie, which was watching people hit each other during sex without it seeming violent, the scene of someone jerking off with a chunk of purple quartz down by the water, and the slow sewing of feathers onto a girl’s butt. Really that’s all I remember now. And that the girl having the feathers sewn onto her but was pretty in an unusual way, and that her sexuality reminded me of mine in ways I couldn’t name but that moved me.


calamities

︎renee gladman

I began the day trying to explain to Danielle what it was like to be a lesbian in the 90s and why there were so many ex-girlfriends around who were often in committed relationships with other ex-girlfriends of yours as well as one or two others in the room, these others also being ex-girlfriends of other friends there, not friends you ever slept with but friends between whom floated some strange tension, residual of something that happened fifteen years ago, which no one remembers but which everyone holds vigil. And how one of these people might suddenly grill peaches with mint, causing us all to gather around the table. And how one of these people now has a daughter and another daughter and son and two dogs named Jesse and James and how they all might gather at the table too, eating those peaches. I wanted Danielle to want to be at this table, though she didn’t know any of these people previously and had grown up with better boundaries in another part of the country. She missed this decade where we just couldn’t burn our bridges, where we built bridges on top of ruined bridges, and lived in an elaborate architecture of trying and failing to try then at the last minute trying, escorting some broken love into what looked like a better love, until that love broke and that old love became an even older love who moved on, perhaps to someone you roomed with or someone a person you roomed with once loved. We didn’t know what it looked like and wouldn’t have called it community, but now there were all these people and they liked the grilled peaches and shared the pork ribs elegantly.

It was that the peaches were basted with a balsamic reduction that a person had prepared on the stove, a person who was now in love with my best friend’s ex-lover, my best friend who was once an old love, but now is my friend Chubby who has Kristy and kids. Chubby wasn’t there but wanted to be remembered and placed fondly in the center of any photos that were taken and was happy to be a cardboard cutout in these photos: she was happy to get a smear of the peaches, even just a whiff of the ribs. Danielle didn’t eat the ribs but did eat and eat the peaches and went on for days thinking about them, wanting to recreate them later for a different gathering of people that comprised of no ex-girlfriend’s and no friends of ex-girlfriends, so was not as warm as the previous gathering and the guests were not as old. They didn’t remember the 90s in the way I did and didn’t have fourteen bridges built over one piece of water and didn’t have water.