“What the Hell is Hauntology?”: A Reading List for 2019’s Theme by M. Perle Tahat

2019’s theme for TERSE. is hauntology: nostalgia for lost futures. As our columnist Jordannah Elizabeth bluntly asked, “what the hell is ‘hauntology’?” Hauntology, as we’d like to explore it, is a way to describe a phenomenon related to resonances of traumatic events; a coming to terms with “what’s been done” in the present based on the arc of the past in order to reclaim the future; an examination of futures lost but remembered in fragments like deja vu. Afrofuturists position the concept of hauntology as discovering “countermemories” through history and situating them in full view. What if alternate futures and … Continue reading “What the Hell is Hauntology?”: A Reading List for 2019’s Theme by M. Perle Tahat

“How a Girl is Born Brutal” by Weslyn Rae Newburn

    I spent the summer pretending my legs were confined in a sheath of iridescent scales, swimming with eyes closed, nose pinched tightly shut. The burn of chlorine in my throat, greasy shine of sunscreen on my shoulders, cool juiciness of lemon yellow freezy-pops, that tasted nothing like real lemons. That summer my bitterness festered like the smashed green anoles on the back porch. Guinea wasps stirred in my Pepsi and I didn’t feel sorry for them. Your forgotten girl, I prayed for the sun to scald and blister you – make you shrivel up like watermelon seeds in … Continue reading “How a Girl is Born Brutal” by Weslyn Rae Newburn

“Pest Control” and “Dissociative Amnesia” by Kristin Ryan

Pest Control I. There are always roaches in the corners of my mind. I’m in the kitchen washing cups at the sink and time skips. Skips as in: I’m six and splinters are in my back. Skips again: roaches crawl over me. Skips again: the sink is overflowing and soap suds run down my arm. This happens more and more. When I walk down the hallway to the bedroom, in the shower, the nights where I’m brave enough to be touched. My husband’s hands are always gentle, they always will be. I know this like I know windows can be … Continue reading “Pest Control” and “Dissociative Amnesia” by Kristin Ryan

“Pine” and “Tuileries” by Kristin Garth

  Tuileries   Twilight, Tuileries, trembles, tulips, then tomfoolery. Cafe au lait, collar new beneath her trenchcoat, navy blue. Her yin, the silver links his yang, the gold. She flew to him nineteen years old. His growl “good evening,” telephone — a voice with fangs, a face unknown. She’s hotel howls with bit, licked lips, stilettos, nude — his choice; she’s wrapped in whips. She’s strung and strummed, starlet du jour. In bows and stings, this lust matures. First love a chain that buckles, chokes. Ardent affirmations rosé, azure procure. No ring such decadent desire denotes — their bond, Louis … Continue reading “Pine” and “Tuileries” by Kristin Garth

The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

I recently came across a Vietnamese film, The Floating Lives (Canh Dong Bat Tan), which was released in 2010 by Nguyen Phan Quang Binh. Although this film is a few years old, the issues that the director addresses still feel fresh and progressive from my perspective as an Indonesian woman who teaches courses on women, gender, sexuality and religion. The plot follows the life of man referred to as Mr. Vo, a severely broken-hearted man whose wife has left him for reasons the film does not reveal. Fate has left him a single parent and a duck farmer. By the … Continue reading The Price of Peace: A Review of Nguyen Phan Quang Binh’s ‘The Floating Lives’ by Tini Ngatini

Playing ‘Exquisite Corpse’ By Myself by M. Perle

    “And it kills me, the word sorry. As if something like music   should be forgiven. He nuzzles into the wood like a lover,   inhales, and at the first slow stroke, the crescendo      seeps through our skin like warm water, we   who have nothing but destinations, who dream of light    but descend into the mouths of tunnels, searching.” from Ocean Vuong’s “Song on the Subway”   “I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of a greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I’m doing.” Susan Sontag, As Consciousness … Continue reading Playing ‘Exquisite Corpse’ By Myself by M. Perle

Detours and Triple Deuces by Keysha Whitaker

I once took Route 1 from Virginia to New Jersey by using a AAA atlas. This was around 2000 – way before Google Maps or the guiding voice of Siri. In my black Dodge Neon, I pulled over periodically to check the way, using my finger to follow the road off the page and onto the next when I crossed state lines. When I finally left the main road for the highway, I felt like I was Lewis or Clark or Jacques Motherfucking Cousteau. Almost twenty years later, when I first moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, I stared at a new … Continue reading Detours and Triple Deuces by Keysha Whitaker

Flesh Inaugurate by Wes Bishop

The other day I was riding in the car with my friend and colleague Angela Potter, and we began discussing how popular views of health, genetics, and modern material reality shaped everyday thinking and belief. We had just come from giving papers on a panel together at the Indiana Association of Historians. The topic? The public sphere, both as a tool of historical analysis and popular phrase in everyday speech. Angie’s paper had been an exploration of how sex education had been represented (and often misrepresented) in school texts. My paper had been on the intellectuals of World War One … Continue reading Flesh Inaugurate by Wes Bishop